By Cameron Riser
Founded in 1837, Oxford, Mississippi is known as a cultural destination. It’s rich in history, packed full of flavorful food, beaming with beautiful, structural design, and positioned among sizable green acres.
Whether you’re a native or a weekend visitor, there are a few things you must check off your Oxford bucket list.
Big Bad Breakfast
If you have never been a breakfast person, you might become one after you try what Big Bad Breakfast has to offer. Located on 719 North Lamar, the restaurant is a bit off the beaten path. You wouldn’t know it, though, because it’s always packed. BBB is an old-fashioned, diner-style eatery with a large counter where you can dine and watch the action in the kitchen. A few breakfast items include classic southern plates loaded with spicy bacon, fresh eggs, thick slices of toast, fluffy biscuits, original grits, southern fried chicken, and more.
The Grove comes to life for Ole Miss Rebel football home games with as many as 100,000 fans packed in the middle of campus. Fans arrive at the crack of dawn to grab their spot in The Grove. This typically serene area of campus becomes a scattering sea of red, white and blue tents on home game days. Ole Miss students generally dress in their Sunday best — men wear khakis, button-up shirts, bow ties, loafers, and coats while women wear cocktail dresses and high heel shoes.
Many tents are set up with fine kitchenware, chandeliers, and silver utensils, and food is laid out on red or blue tablecloths and silver-plated servers. Everyone pitches in and brings finger foods, dips, appetizers, and desserts. No open flame grills are allowed in the Grove, so food cannot be cooked at the tailgates. When a person yells out the phrase, “Are you ready?” this is the beginning of an Ole Miss cheer, known as “Hotty Toddy.” Game day is not one to miss, especially when the Mississippi State bulldogs or LSU Tigers come to town.
Visiting the home of our beloved, famous American writer William Faulkner is a must. Located at 916 Old Taylor Rd., you will see the home and environment that inspired many of Faulkner’s stories and sparked his imagination. His writings were inspired by local stories of Native Americans, runaway slaves, and personal memories of growing up in the South.
“People come with a mixture of interest in his work, but also have a curiosity in the historic building itself,” student worker Ryan Charlton said.
Ninety percent of the furnishings are from during his lifetime, Charlton said. The property and grounds at Rowan Oak are open year-round, from dawn to dusk.
Built in 1889 in Taylor, Mississippi, the restaurant is home of “The South’s Best Catfish.” Relax on the front porch with friends and family and enjoy the hometown feel atmosphere. Taylor Grocery is open Thursday-Sunday for dinner, but the restaurant doesn’t take reservations. However, part of the Taylor Grocery magic is tailgating while you wait.
University of Mississippi Museum
The museum features contemporary and classical art works, showcasing collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, American art, and folk art. One of their most interesting permanent collections is the Millington-Barnard Collection of Scientific Instruments.
“The museum showcases a variety of culture into what Oxford is,” graduate assistant Ben Strassman said.
You will see perfectly preserved telescopes, models of large machines, and other devices used to teach philosophy, physics and astronomy. Admission is free. The museum is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., and is closed on Sunday, Monday, and University holidays.
Double Decker Bus Tour of the Square
The Double Decker buses are icons in the city of Oxford (England and Mississippi). The hourlong ride will include a tour of the Ole Miss campus, the Historic Downtown Square, and other well-known points of interests. All tours leave from and return to the Oxford Visitor Center, located on 1013 Jackson Ave. E. To book a tour, call the Visit Oxford office at 662-232-2477.
The 98,520-acre reservoir on the Little Tallahatchie River in Lafayette, Panola, and Marshall counties serves as a recreational destination. The Sardis Lake Marina services the lake with access to fuel docks, a restaurant, and a ship store. They also offer rental boats as well as rental skies, tubes, and knee/wake boards for the water-loving folks. Any hobby that involves water is allowed, including fishing.
Phi Mu Fountain
As the heat continues to rise this summer, this bucket list item might be moved closer to the top. Students have allegedly jumped in the fountain to pose for pictures with friends as a fun tactic. Although the university doesn’t recognize or condone this as a part of the Oxford experience, students tell a different story. The fountain is located in the heart of campus, behind the Paris-Yates chapel.
The Door Knob
This is a nighttime activity many Oxford natives cherish. A peer of yours will take you to the Oxford water tower and cover your eyes. When you arrive, you will be placed against the back of the tower and told to look up. Oxonians say when you look up, you can see a visual of a “door knob” to the universe.