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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Shop for Southern Style in Oxford, Mississippi

5. Oddball Day

Attend a reading, participate in a live NPR taping, or just peruse the stacks at Square Books.  

You’re in William Faulkner’s hometown, so get in touch with your literary side. Start your day at Big Bad Breakfast with the Pylon (named for Faulkner’s 1935 novel), a griddled split hot dog on a sweet waffle, topped with chili, slaw, jalapeños, and crushed crackers ($12). Then drive into the center of town to Square Books; check the schedule for visiting writers like James Meredith and Michael Pollan. Download the latest podcast of the store’s weekly Mississippi Public Radio variety show, "Thacker Mountain Radio," taped live, and free for all, on Thursdays. Stop for a book-themed sandwich at Bottletree Bakery—the best seller is smoked turkey and Oregon raspberry mustard on housemade rosemary garlic bread ($9). Head west off the square and straight onto the Ole Miss campus to the J.D. Williams Library archives. Ask the librarians to pull Oxford authors' personal effects that are available for viewing, like the papers of William Morris and Barry Hannah, letters from Kurt Vonnegut, and 1920s photos of Eudora Welty; Faulkner's first editions and his 1949 Nobel medal are, of course, also on display. Ask to be pointed toward the trailhead for the path that leads from campus to Faulkner's home, Rowan Oak (tours $5). Drive back toward the town square and eat an early dinner at Gus’s Fried Chicken, where the batter recipe with a kick of spice is a well-kept secret. Look up Broken English, a monthly showcase of MFA talent held at Proud Larry’s, a bar just off the square, but don't despair if it’s not on—just grab a seat and a glass of Weller 107 neat ($10) at the bar on the second floor of City Grocery, the favored nighttime meeting spot for local writers since the '80s.

Published on Feb 5, 2015 as a web exclusive.