Hello lovelies! I hope you are ready for some great pictures that will make your tummies rumble and want to hop on the first plane, train, or car heading to Oxford, MS- where the food is great, the wine is the perfect temp, and there is always something happening- be it literary or athletic, educational or musical- or a million other things!
A few weeks ago, Erin- the oh so adorable owner of Deep South Magazine (an online magazine that you must subscribe to like now!) let me know that she and Cerith Mathis (mockingbird media) would be traveling through Mississippi and would love to meet up in Oxford and possibly Jackson. Since both those towns are a hop, skip and jump from my hometown- and I love me some Erin and had been eager to meet Cerith ( us Southern Lit fans have to stick together!) I signed up to meet them for dinner and drinks one night as part of their #SouthernLitRoadtrip. So, on Wednesday, Aug 13th- the car is packed and gassed up. Sunshades on. Flip-flops. Water. And hitting the road- driving along I-55, headed to my beloved Oxford. On the way there (so appropriate!) the song, Mississippi Queen by Mountain comes on the radio and I turn it up and let the Camry hit cruise control.
— Tamara Welch (@rockstar1023) August 13, 2014
Arrive in Oxford. After a brief hotel problem (NOTE: There are 2 Hampton Inns in Oxford), I arrive at the correct one- and quickly change into my dressy clothes for dinner at City Grocery. Before dinner, though, we (Cerith, Erin and I) meet for a drink with Trey McCain and his wife, Amelia- a fellow that Cerith knew through the power of Twitter and Wales! Spending an hour with them talking and realizing that social media, in one way or another, had brought us all together- was kind of neat!
Dinner time! Ok, I have a foodie confession: The first time I had Shrimp and Grits at City Grocery, I did not love them. Maybe it was the mushrooms. Maybe it was the fact that it was a 100 degrees outside. Maybe, maybe, maybe… But, in all fairness, since this is THEIR signature dish (seriously, people fondly remember the Shrimp and Grits at City Grocery in such detail- it’s like it’s forever imprinted in their minds!) and since I am all about second chances- I ordered the Shrimp and Grits. And happily- this time they were sublime. Prepared with just enough heat- the dish came out and I happily chomped away (although in a slightly more elegant manner- I was in a fancy restaurant!) I did request that no mushrooms be in my Shrimp and Grits- not sure if that made a difference in my enjoyment or not- but, it sounds reasonable; yes?
After a lovely dinner- we sat and talked, finished our wine then had a scrumptious dessert of Salted Caramel and Bourbon Pecan Pie. Decided it was too early to end the night, so walked back upstairs to City Grocery (the bar area). We were standing around looking for seats- when Erin spied 3 vacant ones on the balcony. Quick, fast and in a hurry- I left money for my glass of wine (Moscato- heck yeah!) and grabbed those seats up! Where we spent an hour plus- enjoying wine, talking about books, social media and so much more. A cab ride later- and we were back at the hotel- planning our breakfast trip to Big Bad Breakfast.
Thursday morning, we headed to Big Bad Breakfast and met Mary Allyn Hedges- director of Visit Oxford. The breakfast menu at Big Bad Breakfast is extensive and some of it’s quite literary! After ordering breakfast and chatting for a bit- Mary Allyn left us- and we enjoyed some more talk before it was time for Erin, Cerith and I to split up- those ladies were headed to Clarksdale and I was headed back to my hometown.
Leaving Oxford, heading back to home, cruising down I-55 is always a bit bittersweet for me. I’m leaving a fav place, a place of good memories from “mumble-mumble” years ago in college- so as I get closer to home, I’m searching for a good song. Something upbeat and happy (looking for Roar by Katy Perry- if you must know!) and then… what do I hear? The glorious sounds of The King filling my car with some Burning Love! Instantly puts a smile on my face- because what better way to end my part in Erin and Cerith’s #SouthernLitRoadtrip than with some music of The King, Elvis Presley?
— Tamara Welch (@rockstar1023) August 14, 2014
All in all- a great night and morning in Oxford. So glad I could take part in the #SouthernLitRoadtrip!
Happy Literary & Foodie Travels,
T @ Traveling With T