Think Outside the State

American Tale: My 50-state Adventure

Category: Ole Miss

Oxford, How I Miss(issippi) You

It has been entirely too long since this trip, but I’ve been putting off writing this post in particular. One of the biggest loves in my life is my home town, and this is the only place that I’ve ever been that has made me question where I want to live long term.

 

Oxford Mississippi is a gem in the south that few people seem to appreciate. Of course, it’s well-known for being home to Ole Miss herself, but beyond that, it is SO much more.

 

When we first started planning our trip, I told mom we had to stop in this town for at least the night, and by the end of the trip, she agreed that it was completely necessary. When we first arrived though, she wasn’t so sure.

 

I had read online about the various hotels in the area, but I wanted to stay somewhere cost efficient and rooted in Oxford. There was no better place to fulfill these request than: The Ole Miss Motel

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This beauty may not look like much, but for a comfy and inexpensive night, it was (slightly) outdated, but very clean. It was also walking distance to the little downtown square area, and where else could you want to be! When we first pulled up, mom wasn’t so sure. But after I pushed her to live on the edge (and told her the price…) she was game to give it a shot. After we paid for our room, we went into the square for lunch. We found something that had been suggested online, and was also mentioned to us by locals, Ajax Diner. My pimento cheese burger was DELICIOUS, and it takes a lot to impress me on pimento cheese.  Mom had “The Big Easy” a divine example of comfort food on a bun.

The atmosphere was very relaxed and calm, definitely a place you could meet with friends, get a bite of food, and socialize.

 

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Next, we walked around the square, and went to one of my favorite book stores I’ve ever been in, Square Books.

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dsc_0699My souvenir from this state turned out to be a Faulkner collections book.  Being his home-town, I felt that it was fitting. As was our next stop:

 

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We had to stop and pay our respects to this great word-crafter, and we had to search for a minute before we found it, but look for the large plaques telling the history of the spot, and walk to the right of it, into the graveyard.

It was strange to stop first at his final resting place, a little backwards maybe, but we continued on to Rowan Oaks, and never in my life have I felt more at home anywhere besides home.

 

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It was gorgeous, inside and out, and has a very mysterious past. It’s currently under the management of the college’s southern history program, and we met a lovely guide who was in the program herself. She talked to us a while about their preservation/restoration projects that they were constantly working on.

The amount of artifacts and the set up of the home was excellent, making you feel as though you were walking through the home in its hayday. The outside grounds were gorgeous as well, and we spent hours exploring.

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dsc_0101After experiencing the house, I felt it was appropriate to drive around Ole Miss’s dsc_0430campus, and walk around their campus. We found the Southern History department (my academic love) and I accidentally interrupted a class…but besides that, we enjoyed looking around the various collections they had on display in the lobby at the time.

 

After a great nights sleep, photo-ops, and checking out, we went to the Bottletree Bakery!

This place is a beloved choice of many, including Oprah (no, I didn’t make that up!). It’s of the side of the town square, and attracts quite a crowd.  The coffee was a hit with both of us, and their treats were HUGE.  I personally loved the cinnamon bun, and we enjoyed a danish to split.  We had left overs, which made for a treat on the drive to Alabama.

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After breakfast, we drove around a bit more, and headed on our way.

Oxford will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I have my sights on visiting again, for a longer period, as soon as I can find the time. It’s a lovely little place, with a big personality. So, go, drink the coffee, eat the food, and breath in the beauty of the gem of Mississippi (in my humble opinion).

This (finally) wraps up my blogs on Mom-Daughter Spring Break 2015.  I just recently returned from Texas, but I have definitely held off on blogging many of my adventures, so who knows which one will come next!

 

Happy trails.

 

(P.s. If you’re planning your own Oxford outing, I highly suggest stopping in at the welcome center to load up on brochures and advice from the lovely locals who work there. They made great suggestions regarding our short trip and the “must-sees”. You can find them, and more information on things to do and places to stay in oxford at Visit Oxford MS.

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Getting Road Trip Ready!

Let the Packing begin!
The repeat offenders (my mother and I) are hitting the bricks this Friday (April 4th), leaving our sleepy little town for a 4-state road cruise.  Places we will be adventure hunting:

Memphis, TN
I’ve always had a place in my heart for Elvis, and mom suggested we add this stop in, when our plans were just AL and MS.  Only spending one night here might not be what some people think of as getting a good feel for the state, but we’ve visited TN on more than one occasion.

Helena-West Helena, AR
How did I pick this place?  Beats me, but being the only downtown on the Mississippi River for quite a stretch definitely has an appeal to it.  It has a lot of Civil War history, and that small town feel that I’m always chasing.  I’m going to have to have a local explain to me the Helena vs. Helena-West Helena title because there seems to be some debate.

Oxford, MS
First stop for Ole Miss is….Ole Miss itself.  Oxford holds a lot of history (especially for you literary fiends, since it’s the home of William Faulkner) and we couldn’t pass up a chance to stop in an see Square Books.  We’re only staying one night here, but we’re going to make it count!

Tupelo, MS
Another one night stop, but if you actually read above, you would know why we are stopping here.  Two words: Elvis’s Birthplace!  It seems to be a hip little town, and we thought there might be some adventure we could snoop out there!  Also, the Natchez Trace Parkway runs through it, and I have a thing for Parkways.

Birmingham, AL
A two-nighter for this capital city.  The history, the food, the sites…Was it even a question that I would need more than 24-hours to explore and soak in the Birmingham scene?  Mom’s excited about the Botanical gardens, and I’m excited about…everything.

Anniston, AL
Last night, but certainly not the least.  This tiny town will be our last shot at adventure before making our way back home.  We’re splurging the last night, and staying at an iconic inn (all the other nights will be at the Days Inn/Baymont/Best Western).  We’re both excited to see a close friend who inhabits that neck of the woods, and check out some of the small town charm!

So there you have it, a state-by-state itinerary.  Being the planner I am, I have a highlighted, bulletin’ed, sub-sectioned itinerary (that I think wow’d my mother), but you never know when adventure will strike, so it’s more of a “guideline”.  I’ll give each state its own post, filled with pictures, good eats, and (hopefully) great views.  If you have any suggestions on where to go, what to pack, or want to say hi, comment below!
Fingers crossed I can get through 3 more days of school without the travel bug getting too anxious.
-Meg

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