When you hear the word Mississippi, I’m going to assume you’re envisioning the Old South; a scene painted from Gone With The Wind or an unforgettable image inside a history textbook about the integration of whites and blacks; a place so hot it makes no difference whether houses have air conditioning or not. And truthfully, that assumption isn’t all that wrong. While summers are almost unbearably hot, it’s Mississippi’s history that makes it such a fascinating state.
Located in the Yocona River delta, Taylor takes up just over four square miles of northern Mississippi. Founded in 1832, Taylor is the only place whose name William Faulkner did not change in his works. With a population of close to 300, the village is best known for its catfish and artistic community. For the best catfish in Mississippi, visit www.taylorgrocery.com. Located in the Plein Air neighborhood, Tin Pan Alley Arts & Antiques houses some of the most beautiful and unique pieces of furniture and antiques created and sold by owners Obie Clark and Alice Hammell. Whether you’re a history buff or not, Taylor is the perfect example of a well-kept secret and makes for a great day trip.
Hidden Tunnels of Oxford
Three years ago when I became an Ole Miss student, I had no idea that I would become so immersed in history. The history of Ole Miss as an educational institute, the history of the city of Oxford, the history of history really. Honestly, I never cared much about it until I learned about James Meredith and the specific impact that Ole Miss had on the progression of America during integration. No, this is not a history lesson and if you don’t know who James Meredith is then I’ll tell you. He was one of the most vital players in the process of desegregation in the South. A myth in Oxford town says there are underground tunnels, constructed by campus administration and the Federal Government, which once allowed James Meredith to safely get from point A to point B, whether it was a class or the grocery store. Well, this myth is indeed a fact and to make it even better, the tunnels showcase another hidden gem of Oxford: graffiti.
Williams Brothers General Store
In 1907, brothers Amzie and Brown Williams opened a general store in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The store has drawn attention since its creation, partly due to the fact shoppers can buy just about anything in one stop. From food to cowboy boots to saddles and hardware materials, Williams Brothers has it all. The store looks the same today as it did 105 years ago. It is still owned and operated by members of the original Williams family. If you’re searching for a true taste of southern tradition, this is the right place.
Location: 10360 County Road 375, Philadelphia, MS, 39350
Open 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Also known as The Burrus House, the plantation home was constructed in 1858 in Benoit. During the Civil War, the Burrus family housed wounded and sick soldiers as they sought shelter and food. Fortunately, the property was one of few to not be burned by the Yankees. The 1956 film “Baby Doll” was filmed on the plantation and inside the house, giving it its most common name, the “Baby Doll” house. The antebellum Mansion, just five miles from the Mississippi River, was recently restored in 2012 after serious tornado damage. Now the property is used to house weddings, rehearsal dinners and private parties. For more information, visit www.hollywoodplantation.com.
Location: 77 Burrus Road, Benoit, MS 38725
Doe’s Eat Place
It was 1941 in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Dominick and Mamie Signa had just three hundred dollars and a hot tamale recipe when Doe’s started. Originally a grocery store and a honky tonk, Doe’s was separated by segregation for thirty years. Customers today can still get a sense of the authentic family restaurant feel inside the original building located in Greenville, Mississippi. With notable recognitions and awards throughout the years, several Doe’s have sprung up across the south but this original is a personal favorite of Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. It is rumored by Doe’s regulars that Jones flies his private jet just to eat one meal here. If that doesn’t tell you how good the food is then I don’t know what will.
Location: 502 Nelson Street, Greenville, MS 38701
Open 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday.