When the sky is blue and an invitation arrives, a savvy girl cancels her plans and heads out of town. John fired up the Robinson R44, and we turned our heads south for 24 hours in Oxford, Mississippi. Home of Faulkner, Grisham, and Ole Miss football, Oxford has been named a Best Small Town in America - a great weekend getaway.
STAY: Just a short walk off the historic Oxford square is an oasis of elegance and comfort. The Z is a bed & breakfast run by Texas-native and Ole Miss alumni Annie Zeleskey. Founded in 2010, The Z is enchanting. We stayed in “Live,” one of three charming suites. Annie's design style is inspired by a tobacco quilt hanging in her breakfast nook. "Each little 4x6 segment used to be rolled up in tobacco tins..." This rustic touch is a graceful balance with The Z's french antique style. With freshly-pressed robes and cloud-like bedding, we were grateful for its beauty and gracious southern hospitality.
SHOP: Don’t miss the oldest department store in the South, Neilson's, celebrating its 175th anniversary. I recommend Therapy on the Square for the girl who loves prints, Village Tailor for the high-end bag of your dreams, and Cicada for a prime selection of casualwear and flirty dresses. Pop your head into Amelia Presents for adorable stationary and unique gifts. As the sun sets, don’t forget Hinton & Hinton, a southern gentleman’s boutique. John recommends their remarkable collection of bow ties.
DINNER: A day in Oxford isn’t complete without a meal at James Beard award-winning chef John Currence’s City Grocery. I recommend a glass of Trimbach and a quiet table near the bar. Start with butter-poached shrimp and rosemary-braised lamb neck. For entrees, don’t miss the grilled trout with roasted red pepper rouille or the peking duck with sweet potato risotto and asparagus. Yum! Let your kind waiter refill your coffee cup at least three times while you devour the brioche perdu with poached pears and cream cheese ice cream.
DRINK: Even if you are as full as we were, waddle across the Square for an after-dinner drink at Currence’s upscale, down-home Bouré. Find a table on the upstairs balcony and sip on signature cocktails, Hot Toddy or Planter’s Punch. Next, visit Funkys, the daiquiri spot where Katy Perry jumped off the bar. Hotty Toddy! Don’t forget to join the local college students for a beer at The Library, followed by chicken-on-a-stick at the Chevron. Don’t ask, just trust me.
BREAKFAST: Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast is not to miss, but Annie’s breakfast at The Z quickly changed our minds. Melt into her absolutely amazing homemade cinnamon rolls and maple frosting, with a side of local sausage and fresh oranges. On your way out of town, grab a loaf of freshly-baked sourdough bread from The Bottletree Bakery for loved ones in Nashville and an iced chai from High Point Coffee for the trip home.
Like many others, Annie loved Oxford so much she never left. "I have travelers from all over the world just passing through, wanting to see Oxford. I love the wonderful reputation it has...for good reason, too!" Although one day in Oxford isn't enough to experience all there is to offer, it's just a short 5-hour drive south of Nashville to music, arts, literature, dining, and sports, all packed into a charming Mississippi haven.
DRIVE: 4-5 hours by I-40W
PLANE: 30 minutes from BNA to MEM, then rent a car for final 90 minute drive.
OUT: Oxford Bus Service - Click here for fares, routes, and schedule.
TAXI: Rock Star Taxi and Limo 662-701-7019, Rebel Taxi 662-832-7433, Oxford Taxi 662-701-7310