As you make your turn onto Lamar Street you are taken back by a large, three story white building designed in traditional antebellum architecture. In the foreground a confederate officer stands on a twenty foot pedestal. Atop the building an American flag flows with a gentle breeze. Immediately beneath the flag a second flag with the bars of the confederacy in the upper left corner quietly speaks to the subconscious….”welcome to Oxford, Mississippi.”
It only takes a few minutes and you are enthralled by the “Square” surrounded by stores reminiscent of ‘days gone by.’ However, unlike many southern towns with similar town squares Oxford is vibrant and the stores flourish with people walking to-and-fro to the many classic shops. The stores present somewhat of a novel appearance with their second floor balconies.
Immediately I began the process of establishing priorities. First on the agenda was the ‘Ya Yas’ frozen yogurt shop. Second on the list was a stately three story book store that offered literally thousands of books and autographed pictures. The heroes of the store were William Faulkner, John Grisham and the Manning family. I later learned, after spending considerable time in the store surrounded by ample places to sit and read and have a cup of your favorite drink, i.e. coffee, latte, etc.. this was no ordinary book store. It was a place to meet, greet, and have a delightful time in the midst of great reading and pictorial events.
Immediately adjacent to the downtown square is the University of Mississippi, known widely as “Ole Miss.” There was an ambience at Ole Miss that was immediately detectable. Walking in the midst of the large trees and a campus that was pristine in its appearance were students who readily greeted you, making my walk very pleasurable. Common interests had me taking a brief tour of the student center, the George Peabody Psychology building and, of course, the Athletic center where I walked out to the center of the football field and stood in awe…….I could almost hear the crowd cheering.
Like many of the old southern towns where the residential area is contiguous to the downtown area, Oxford is blessed with beautiful homes that remain in outstanding condition, and a walking tour of the area is a special treat.
After visiting the home of Pulitzer Prize winning author, William Faulkner, we spent the majority of our time seeing the local area and eating great cuisine. We concluded our trip with a visit to Holly Springs.
June and I had read the Jan Karon Mitford Series and the story of Father Tim and his pilgrimage and life at Christ Episcopal Church. Initially we thought it was fictional but to our delight the church and the parsonage were a reality. One additional treat with our visit to Holly Springs was an original apothecary (drug store) dating back to 1859 complete with soda foundation and all the trimmings.
The best for last. When June and I started planning this trip we wanted something unique and out of the ordinary as the crown jewel. We found it at a farm just outside of Oxford. Located on 50 acres of farm land a couple had relocated a log cabin dating back to the 1800’s. The owner had been an antique dealer and furnished the log cabin with authentic Amish furniture. A large fire place was the center of the big room with an upstairs loft. Our hostess, who lived in the ‘home place’, provided us with a gourmet breakfast delivered to our cabin each morning, which was much to my delight. God is good!!