Taylor is south of Oxford on Old Taylor Road. It is the location of the planned neighborhood, Plein Air (French for fresh air) and the 2008 Southern Living home (currently leased -- appears that it was a bit too pricey to sell). Plein Air is a small, planned community of homes with close neighbors, a couple of art studios, an antique store, and a “soda shop”. The entire area makes you want to dust off the bike and go for a ride.
Next door to the Alley is Emilieigh's -- a wonderful place for lunch (open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner) -- loved it... .
On to Oxford -- one of the prettiest towns in Mississippi. The University perennially is named in the top 10 party schools in the nation and Oxford is recognized as one of the top 10 retirement places in the nation. Who says old people can’t remember anything? Anyway, back to our trip -- Any place you drive in the residential areas of Oxford close to the square, you will find refurbished homes that are beautiful…. The colors, the landscapes, everything…
We stopped by the Bottletree Bakery (just west of the square) for a sample of the cinnamon rolls -- a delicacy touted by Southern Living. Sold out…not one in sight. All in all, it was a neat little coffee house -- almost reminded me of the 80s.
On the square, we found the "Made in Mississippi" store -- what a beautiful selection of items from local artists! Pottery, paintings, carvings, hand-made crafts, whimsical items, and items for the serious collector. This isn’t a place to rush through -- there is something there for every collector.
Oxford has a wonderful antique shop on University Avenue called the Mustard Seed. (We later found out that this shop and the one at Plein Air are “siblings”.) It is a collection of 50 or so vendors and it's packed -- with antiques, old stuff, monogrammable items, reproductions...and customers.
One of my favorite “finds” was a circa 1965 Ole Miss jacket. Back when I was in junior high and high school, this jacket was a must for all Ole Miss fans. It was very pricey back then -- although much less than its current $25 tag! I had just tried to describe this little number to my son and his girlfriend (both Ole Miss students) and had to take a picture of this to show them. (I detected a bit of an eye-roll from each of them -- obviously they aren’t majoring in fashion.)
We left Oxford going toward New Albany on Highway 30. Just outside the city limits a bit, we spotted 3 alpacas -- 2 black ones and one brown one -- on a beautiful farm/ranch/home on the north side of the highway. Yep, alpacas...beautiful, shiny, stately -- wow. They walked with their heads held majestically and shimmered in the sunlight -- especially the black ones. I’ve got to go back to get a picture of these beautiful animals -- some of my family have driven this route to try to find them and believe that Susan and I have traveled together so much that our hallucinations coincide.
We tried to make it to Woodall Mountain before sunset, but, alas…we failed. This is the highest point in Mississippi -- 806 feet above sea level. After circling the area for a while, we finally found a little sign -- not far from the Bingo Hall -- that directed us toward the apex of Mississippi. The drive up the mountain isn’t steep, but, the area does have drop offs beside the gravel road that remind you of a mountain area. After a quick “tour” of Woodall Mountain, we returned to the Bingo Hall for a “break” and a pre-packaged snack. Since so many towns now have smoking bans, it’s a blast from the past when you walk into a place that doesn‘t. And, the memory lasts a long, long, long time (or until your next shower).