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My daughter is a junior in high school so we are beginning to look at colleges. Two weekends ago my husband and I took her and a friend back to our alma mater: Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. We had not gone to a ball game in over twenty years and we were so excited to show off Ole Miss and to see friends and family.
Driving to Mississippi
Our 10-hour drive from Charleston (really more like 14 hours when you include bathroom stops and meals) began on Thursday after school. We stopped outside of Atlanta for the night and got back on the road early Friday morning in order to make our 12 noon appointment for a campus tour.
The Lyceum, Ole Miss (Photo by M. K. Smith)
Several weeks ago one of my friends asked me if I really wanted my daughter to go to Ole Miss to college because if not, I should definitely not take her on a game day weekend.
I should probably have listened to her.
I’m not sure we could have arranged a better visit if we had been recruiters.
We arrived on campus just in time to make the academic fair where the girls had an opportunity to talk with representatives from various schools and programs. Next we took a tour of the campus and housing options. After a quick walk along Sorority Row and a brief tour of my sorority house, we found ourselves in the Grove, the heart of Ole Miss and its Game Day activities and one of the country’s top tailgating venues.
The Circle at Ole Miss Before Game Day (Photo by M. K. Smith)
Afterwards we left campus and gave the girls a quick overview of Oxford before heading over to Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner.
Rowan Oak, Home of William Faulkner, Oxford, Mississippi (Photo by M. K. Smith)
The house and woods surrounding the site were favorites of ours while in school.
Front Parlor, Rowan Oak (Photo by M. K. Smith)
Draft of “The Fable” by William Faulkner on the wall of back bedroom (Photo by M. K. Smith)
View from Rowan Oak second floor (Photo by M.K. Smith)
After our behind-the-scenes-tour of Rowan Oak, we headed south to the tiny town of Taylor for the best catfish around at Taylor Grocery.
Taylor, Mississippi (Photo by M.K. Smith)
Taylor Grocery (Photo by Amy Watson Smith)
Taylor Grocery (Photo by M.K. Smith)
The girls agree: “Eat or we both starve.” (Photo by M.K. Smith)
We headed into town early on Saturday even though kick off wasn’t until 6 pm. Parking is limited in Oxford and we had much to do that day.
The weather was perfect for football but a bit colder than these Charlestonians were used to. We needed supplies so we headed to one of Oxford’s most venerable establishments: Neilson’s Department Store on the square.
Ole Miss Rebel banners at Neilson’s on Game day (Photo by Amy Watson Smith)
We spent the next couple of hours wandering around the square stopping at some of our old favorites and many new shops.
The double-decker bus shuttles fans from Oxford Square to the Grove on Game Days (Photo by M.K. Smith)
One of our favorite old haunts is Square Books, one of the country’s best independent bookstores.
Square Books (Photo by M.K. Smith)
After shopping and eating lunch on the square we made our way down to the Grove to participate in the time-honored tradition of tailgating with family and friends.
Ole Miss tailgating
Tailgating tent complete with chandelier (Photo by M.K. Smith)
The girls with Colonel Reb, former Ole Miss mascot (Photo by M.K. Smith)
One of the best parts of our trip to Ole Miss was seeing our Mississippi cousins,
The walk to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with the thousands of other Ole miss fans was so exciting.
Ole Miss band’s pre-game show
The game was thrilling!
Ole Miss vs. LSU, October 19, 2013
Hotty Toddy! Do you know the cheer? Are you ready?
Ole Miss Rebel fans
Amazing game! Ole Miss 27- LSU 24 (Photo by Amy Watson Smith)
Our ride back to Charleston began early the next morning. It was a long, long drive.
Driving through Alabama (Photo by M.K. Smith)
My friend was right about taking our daughter to Ole Miss on a Game Day. She was impressed. We have only started exploring her options so who knows where she will end up.
Just to be safe, maybe we should start looking into condos in Oxford…
Check out this video for more about Game Day at Ole Miss.