I am back again to share about the rest of our LDW road trip! In case you missed it, I spent Labor Day Weekend on a road trip to Memphis and Mississippi with one of my best gals, Emma, from college. Earlier this week, I shared all about our time in Memphis—you can read that post here. We spent the first day of our trip in Memphis, then spent two days in Mississippi, and then went back to Memphis for our final day before heading home.
I get a lot of weird looks when I tell people I’m heading to Mississippi for vacation, but last year, Emma and I went to Natchez and Oxford and fell in love with the state. We knew we wanted to go back one day, I just don’t think we expected we’d get back just a year later! But, I am so glad it worked out. We decided to spend two nights at The Graduate Oxford since we so enjoyed our stay there last summer—more on that below—and use that as our home base. Oxford is home of the University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss, and is one of my favorite college towns. Centered around a historic square, there are so many great restaurants, shops, and bookstores in town, and the campus is absolutely stunning. I’d love to get back one day to experience a tailgate in The Grove! I’m normally an ACC girl through and through, but Ole Miss definitely won me over.
While we were in Mississippi this time, we also visited Greenwood—a small town about 90 minutes away from Oxford in the Mississippi Delta that is home of the Viking Cooking School. (Viking Range is headquartered in town and operates a cooking school and upscale hotel there!) It was such a fun experience, and I am so glad Emma came across it in a magazine and suggested it as an activity.
We spent a lot of our time in Oxford just relaxing and enjoying some Ms. Ole Miss cocktails on the Graduate Hotel rooftop, so this post is a little less structured than some of my other posts, but I still wanted to share in case you ever find yourself in this beautiful corner of the world.
WHERE WE STAYED IN OXFORD —
As I mentioned, we really wanted to return to The Graduate Oxford since we loved our time there last year. This time, we stayed for two nights, and they did such a great job with COVID precautions—no room service unless you requested it, masks required in all public areas, and reduced capacity throughout the hotel. Our first stop after checking in was The Coop, which is the rooftop bar at The Graduate that overlooks the Square. We opted for the Ms. Ole Miss cocktails and grabbed some loaded tots, and it was the best way to spend a lazy summer afternoon after our trip to Graceland. In fact, we loved it so much, we went back the following afternoon!
WHERE WE ATE & DRANK IN OXFORD —
While we were in town, we also went back to our favorite bar in town, The Library. They’ve really limited capacity, installed plexiglass all around the bar, and keep their large garage-style doors open. It’s the best place to catch a sporting event—we watched The Derby!—and just your classic college town bar.
We ate dinner both nights we were in town on the Square. The first night we went to Boure, which was a new-to-us place, and I absolutely loved it. One of my favorite foods is a Mexican chopped salad with fried chicken topped with chipotle ranch, and—you guessed it—Boure really delivered on this category. They had a great balcony overlooking the Square, too! The second night we were in town, we ate at City Grocery, which was one of our favorite spots from our last trip. We had a wonderful server, but to be honest, our food was a little disappointing—we ordered empanadas to start and they were still cold in the middle. I know restaurants are really struggling right now—and we had a great experience last year!—but for such a hyped place, I just expected better. If we had to do it again, I think we would have been repeat customers at St. Leo’s, which was a place we loved last year.
Before we headed out of town, we had to eat at our favorite breakfast spot in town, Big Bad Breakfast. (They’ve expanded across the South, so there are more locations now—if you’re in a city that has one, I can’t recommend it enough!) This place is so popular, and with limited capacity, it’s even harder to get a table. We joined the waitlist on Yelp and still ended up waiting close to 90 minutes—so definitely go early or get yourself on the waitlist before you go. They also do takeout! When we finally got seated on their patio, it was worth the wait, and we rewarded ourselves with breakfast cocktails and a big bad breakfast. I got the fried chicken sandwich and it was to die for!
You can get even more recommendations on where to eat, where to shop, and what to do in Oxford in my recap from our visit last year!
A DAY AT THE VIKING COOKING SCHOOL IN GREENWOOD —
Like I mentioned, a highlight of our time in Mississippi was heading to Greenwood, Mississippi to take a class at the Viking Cooking School. Greenwood was about a 90 minute drive from Oxford, and we took a Brunch Celebration class where we learned to make five classic brunch dishes. Given it was a brunch class, things kicked off at 10am, so we got on the road a little before 8am just to build in some buffer in case we met any traffic. Luckily we didn’t, but we did get stopped at a train crossing for quite a while! I honestly love road trips because you get to see so many new surroundings—we mostly took state highways, so we saw fields and fields of cotton, tobacco, corn, and other crops, as well as many small Mississippi towns. Paired with our country music playlist, it was such an enjoyable trip.
Greenwood is a small city in the Delta that has a historic downtown with lots of locally owned shops and a few restaurants. Parts of the downtown sit vacant, given it is past its heyday—it was a big part of the cotton economy—but you can tell how much pride they take it in to this day. It’s clean, beautifully manicured, and they have music piped in. Since we got to town early ahead of our class, we shopped around at The Mississippi Gift Company, which exclusively sells things made in Mississippi. If I had the budget, I could have bought it all!
Once we shopped, we headed over to the Viking Cooking School to get checked in for our class! We made five classic brunch dishes—egg nests, a sweet potato hash, French toast, turkey sausage, and a fruit tart. The class was so much fun! You work in a group of four, so Emma and I were paired with a nice couple from Jackson, Mississippi and we worked as a team to prep everything. Our station was fully equipped with Viking Ranges and the nicest cookware, and the instructor was so great at helping us with techniques and timing. Once we cooked the meal, we were able to indulge and dine—everything was so good, and I’ll definitely be recreating some of the recipes at home. I also thought it was very reasonably priced—we paid $90 for our class.
The Viking Cooking School also offers date night dinner classes which sound so fun—you cook dinner while drinking wine, and the couple from Jackson we cooked brunch with had taken one of those and really hyped it up. It’s definitely on my bucket list for the future!
If you have any questions about our trip, don’t hesitate to drop me a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotty Toddy! x