A hub for arts and culture, Oxford, Mississippi, located off Interstate 55 about an hour from Memphis, Tennessee, finds roots in literary titans and cultural experiences.
Named after Oxford, England, Oxford, Mississippi, is home to Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner. Travel the Bailey’s Woods Trail, a National Recreation Trail, from from the University of Mississippi Museum to Rowan Oak, the writer’s home built in 1844. Be sure to peek at the outline of his award winning novel, “A Fable,” handwritten on the wall of his study.
Later, pay homage to the literary great with a visit to his grave site located in nearby St. Peter’s Cemetery.
Tip: Plan to visit during the The University of Mississippi Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference, July 23-27. In addition to five keynote lectures, the conference program will include panel presentations, guided daylong tours of North Mississippi and the Delta and sessions on “Teaching Faulkner” led by James B. Carothers, University of Kansas, Terrell L. Tebbetts, Lyon College, Brian McDonald, Lancaster, Pennsylvania School District, Charles Peek, University of Nebraska at Kearney, and Theresa M. Towner, University of Texas at Dallas.
Inspiring other literary greats, author John Grisham left his mark in Oxford, attending the University of Mississippi Law School. On the campus, find the University of Mississippi and its Museum and Historic Houses, which celebrated 75 years in 2015 and showcases the finest collection of Greek and Roman antiquities in the South. The Museum also houses the permanent Theora Hamblett folk art collection. Good to know: Admission to the University of Mississippi Museum is free; hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Tues.-Sat.
Another page turner, don’t miss Square Books, voted “Best Bookstore in the Nation” by Publishers Weekly. Stop by on Thursday nights for the Thacker Mountain Radio show hosted live from their sister store, Off Square Books.
Rounding out a cultural tour of this Southern city, catch a performance at the Ford Center for Performing Arts, featuring a 1,250-seat auditorium used for a range of acts, from Broadway tours to classical ensembles. Or, explore the Powerhouse, built in 1928 as the home of the Oxford Electric Department, which features eight rotating art exhibits throughout the year which are free to the public. Art exhibits feature Mississippi artists, as well as artists inspired by the South. Check the schedule at The Lyric, situated just off the square, which originally opened in 1913 as a silent movie theatre and was renovated to provide premier live music and event space in Oxford and the Southeast.