Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Northeast Mississippi Ramblings . . .

Day two of our adventures in Northeast Mississippi found us rustling up some breakfast at Atlanta Bread Company. Oh my Gawd. That place had some reallyreally good almond croissants and some AWESOME coffee. The only thing that kept me from slurping down a second cup of said coffee was Sandi's admonition that there weren't too many clean restrooms between Tupelo and Oxford, which was where we were headed next.

Anyhoo, we left Tupelo after breakfast and arrived in Oxford by mid-morning. We clowned around in the Ole Miss campus for a while, tromping through the Grove and posing for corny pics in front of the Lyceum. After that, we browsed the stacks at Square Books, where I hadn't been in YEARS. I found two volumes worthy of buying, and we retreated up to the balcony to people-watch for a bit.

After that, Stace wanted to go to the Oxford Cemetery to take pics and soak up the atmosphere. She hoofed it all over that place while Sandi and I sat in the air-conditioned car. That is, until we located Faulkner's grave. We all agreed that was worth a trip into the oppressive heat, so off we marched.

By this time, we were coming up on lunch, and we decided to get a quick, light bite at the Bottletree Bakery. I had the granola with fresh fruit, which was delicious, and I bought bagels and ciabatta for hubs. The next time I go back, I'm having the downtown, a fresh bagel smeared with cream cheeses and topped with tomatoes, thinly-sliced red onions, and capers. In fact, I'll be making this concoction at home.

It was nearly 1:30 p.m. when we finished lunch, which meant that Rowan Oak was open. (They open from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Sundays.) I hadn't been there since college, so it was a real treat to re-visit it! We paid $5 admission, then had the run of the house and considerable grounds.

The house is a beautiful country home, and nearly all of it is open to the public. You are provided with a brochure offering a self-guided tour to the home, grounds, and outbuildings. Many of Faulkner's personal effects and furniture are still on display there, and historical photos lead one to believe the home is in much the same state it was in while the legendary author lived there with his family.

By the time we finished exploring Rowan Oak, we were hot and tired. We decided to drive to Sandi's parents' house in Coffeeville for some air conditioning and cold beverages before heading home. We enjoyed visiting with them for a while (and learning all kinds of incriminating things about Sandi), and they plied us with iced tea, free bell peppers from the garden, and homemade fig jam. After a bit, we loaded into the car and headed home.

Fun, fun, fun! We are already deciding where we'll go next. The Coast? The Delta? Birmingham? Any suggestions, folks?

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