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Key to the City

The Guide That’ll Make You Seriously Consider Moving to Mississippi

Key to the City BY tess falotico 08/02/2017

Oxford, Mississippi, has long been on the map for its rep as a cooler-than-cool college town, food destination, and literary haven (William Faulkner famously lived there). But according to Nicole Rottler Harlow, the soldering maven behind Niett Metals, you’re realllly missing out if you don’t experience the surrounding small towns, too. She and her husband recently renovated a hundred-year-old house in Taylor, which has fewer than 400 people, one restaurant, and a thriving local arts scene. Below, everything she, her husband, and their very cool friends suggest out-of-towners hit that’s Oxford-adjacent.

 

Eat 

THE CRAWDAD HOLE

 

“It’s busy in Oxford—because people are coming for the weekend—so go 20 miles south to Water Valley first and grab a barbecue shrimp po’ boy from the Crawdad Hole.”

 

YALOBUSHA BREWERY

 

“Our friend Andy owns Yalobusha Brewery, which is in a 19th century foundry building also in Water Valley. Every Friday, they play blues, and you can tour the brewery.”

  

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CITY GROCERY

“In Oxford, most out-of-towners wait in line at Big Bad Breakfast for an hour, but the same owner is behind this fine-dining spot down the street where you can eat the same food as what you’d get at Big Bad Breakfast without the wait—with a raw bar and great drinks.”

 

SAINT LEO’S

 

“Get a drink at Saint Leo’s in Oxford, which is especially fun around midday!”




AJAX DINER

 

“Oxford has great fine dining, but if you’re only in town for a little while, you should really try down-home food. Go to Ajax Diner for dinner. They have the best catfish.”



TAYLOR GROCERY

 

“If you go to Taylor, put your name in at Taylor Grocery and hang out on the porch while you wait to eat what is truly the best catfish. It’s BYOB, so bourbon or wine is a requirement.”

 

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Do Things 

THE END OF ALL MUSIC

 

“Check out the The End of All Music, which sells an awesome selection of records. There’s a whole section that’s focused on music from Oxford and Mississippi.”



YALORUN TEXTILES

 

“Yalorun Textiles in Water Valley sells really beautiful pieces, and you’ll probably see someone sewing right in the shop. Then, walk on down the main road where there are lots of other stores.”

 

AMELIA’S

 

“Stop at my friend Erin Abbott’s store, Amelia’s—Erin just redid a home in Water Valley and moved her store there, and it’s a really well-curated little space.”

 

CICADA

“A women’s clothing store where you can shop for Niett Metals! The owner has been a mentor and friend throughout the process of starting my business.”

 

SQUARE BOOKS

 

“Square Books in Oxford is one of the best bookstores in the country, and it’s run by one of our neighbors in Taylor.”



ROWAN OAK 

 

“If you have time, stop at Rowan Oak, William Faulkner’s estate. We got married there during a thunderstorm. It’s worth walking through even if you’re not into the history. It’s an awesome spot.”

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