Several friends recommended that we check out Oxford, Mississippi with our kids, so last January we did just that! After spending a few days in Memphis, TN, we continued down to Oxford and discovered that this small southern town has a rich history in literature and civil rights which made for a playful and educational 48 hours in what is deemed “The Cultural Mecca of the South.”
Where we stayed
We stayed at the TownPlace Suites in Oxford which is a Marriott hotel on the skirts of downtown. We had a suite, a pool and free breakfast which is perfect for kids! There are several places closer to the Oxford town square for a higher price tag.
What we did
It was raining when we first arrived and so we took a drive through the Ole Miss College Campus where we spotted the University Museum and the James Meredith Civil Rights Monument, among other things. The campus is beautiful with deep history and tradition.
The highlight of our trip was definitely visiting William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak. Built in 1848, Rowan Oak became home to Faulkner and his family in 1930. Faulkner named the house “Rowan Oak” after the legend of the Rowan tree, believed by Celtic people to harbor magic powers of safety and protection.
The house is settled among several acres of towering trees, barns and trails. Inside, you can explore the rooms and some of Faulkner’s writing (even on the walls). The museum curator – a University graduate student – happened to be at the home when we visited and he shared several fun & interesting stories about Faulkner and his wife and kids.
My family especially adored the grounds outside the house where we spent hours playing and exploring. Next time, we will bring a picnic lunch and hike some of the longer trails.
The property & grounds at Rowan Oak are open year round, from dawn to dusk. While there’s no fee to visit the grounds, there is a $5 cost for house admission.
The Square is a large square block that is considered the cultural and economic hub of the city. The square contains shops, restaurants and the city’s courthouse building. It also houses one of our favorite independent bookstores, Square Books and just down the street, Square Books Jr., the children’s bookstore. We spent hours in the bookstores and left with a book of Faulkner stories, of course (Brad read the girls Faulkner’s “The Bear” thanks to a recommendation by the Rowan Oak curator!)
Also within the Square, we ate at Soulshine Pizza which was kid-friendly and delicious – perfect for filling out bellies before heading back to Nashville.
Have you visited Oxford with your kids? Please share any additional kid-friendly sights in the comments!