Published on September 9th, 2015 | by Alex Thiel0
Welcome to The Velvet Ditch
Welcome, newcomer, to Oxford, Mississippi! You may have noticed the signs on the way into town that advertise Oxford as “a nice place to live.” This is technically a matter of opinion, but around here, everyone seems to more or less accept it as fact. We’d like to help you help us keep it that way.
Here are some things that are good to do
when you live in Oxford:
Eat, drink, and be merry. The Oxford area is rightly renowned for its inordinate number of high-quality eateries and watering holes, and this is something of which to take advantage during your stay. And good news—chefs Kelly English (of The Second Line, coming soon to South Lamar) and John Currence (of City Grocery and its newly-renovated upstairs bar) have been making improvements in anticipation of your arrival! And if your wallet’s thin these days, might we recommend Handy Andy’s burgers or sampling one of our newer food trucks around town.
Listen to good music. You’re smack-dab in the middle of the American Music Triangle (Nashville to Memphis to New Orleans), and you’ll notice prominent influences of blues, country, soul, etc. right here in your own backyard. Proud Larry’s always has a diverse and high-quality music calendar, Rooster’s is always good for high-energy blues-style acts, and if indie rock is more your speed, slip downstairs at the Blind Pig and see any number of talented bands that operate under the radar. And of course, you can always count on The Lyric for bringing quality national tours to Oxford, especially at this time of year.
Crack open a book. If you’re reading this, congratulations! You have the one skill necessary to play the part of bibliophile during your stay. The legacy and influence of William Faulkner is well-documented, but he’s just the tip of Oxford’s literary iceberg. Some supremely talented writers have called Oxford home, including Barry Hannah, Larry Brown, Tom Franklin, Jack Pendarvis, and numerous others. Oh, and that John Grisham guy apparently has a house around here, too. The Square Books empire has turned Oxford into a can’t-miss stop on book tours for the best working writers today, so go meet them and fall in love with the written word. Remember, you can stream the new season of Orange Is The New Black anywhere.
Cheer on the Rebs. Ole Miss athletics has rarely—if ever—experienced a period of such relevancy and success, and you owe it to yourself to go cheer on the world-class (seriously) athletes that share your hometown. And go ahead and throw out any purple or maroon you’ve got in your wardrobe; they’re objectively ugly colors, anyway.
Here are some things that are NOT so good
to do when you live in Oxford:
Drink and drive. For some reason, this tends to give people trouble when they first arrive. There are many, many police officers in Oxford, and come early weekend mornings, they set up many, many roadblocks. You will probably be caught and given a DUI, or worse—you won’t be caught before you cause some major harm to yourself and/or others.
Don’t be stupid; the cabs here are cheaper than you’ll find just about anywhere.
Drive on West Jackson Ave, sober or not. Seriously, there are enough people there already. Just hop on Hwy. 6. I have to get to work in the mornings and I was here first.
While we’re talking about cars: Don’t expect to be able to park on campus unless you get there before about 9 am. We’ve built a shiny new parking garage, so that’s nice, but it doesn’t mean that there’s now space for everybody to casually roll in at any time and grab a spot in front of the desired building. Just assume that, before 5 pm, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices (the O.U.T. bus line and the park-and-ride lots make sacrifices a little easier on us all). Same goes for the Square, actually. It’s a small town—walking is underrated and bikes are still a thing. Your legs are your friends.
Really, come to think of it, most of the bad things about Oxford are traffic-related these days, and if that’s as bad as it gets during your stay, we’d say you’ve got it pretty good.
And it’s not as if everything there is to do is within the city limits! Sadly, we can’t ship up to Graceland Too in the middle of the night anymore, but Sardis Lake is a quick drive away and offers a host of outdoor activities, should you ever come down with a case of cabin fever. Then, of course, the history and music of the delta are right here at your fingertips, too. Memphis is a stone’s throw away and offers museums, concerts, sporting events, movies we don’t get (this is a big deal) and a completely different vibe year-round. Oxford may still be a small town, but if you ever get bored—especially in these fall months—you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself.
Just remember: respect those around you, be neighborly, enjoy yourself, etc. and you’ll find yourself carving yourself a comfy little niche deeper and deeper in the Velvet Ditch.