Does the turn of season make you yearn for a road trip as much as it does me? I got to scratch that travel itch last weekend, when Chris and I ventured down some beautiful southern roads (while listening to our new Autumn in the Shop playlist) to the quintessential college town of Oxford, Mississippi.
Why Oxford, you ask? It all comes down to: art and friendship.
Chris and I first visited Oxford over four years ago when we traveled to meet with a fabric printer about my Toile of FSU fabric design.
We arrived in Oxford on a Sunday – and, like most small towns, the shops on the quaint square were closed. However, window shopping was delightful, and we vowed that we would be back one day.
And, as you likely know, we carry Blessing Bowls, which are made by artist Carrie Cox in -- you guessed it -- Oxford. I’d recently placed an order, and I thought, why pay for shipping when you can make a road trip out of it?
But what tipped the scale in favor of Oxford was that a customer-turned-dear-friend recently graduated from FSU and is now in law school at the University of Mississippi.
Emma has the SWEETEST job while studying at Ole Miss – she is an innkeeper at The Z House, which is an easy walk from William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak. Emma was the most welcoming host in the most charming B&B, introducing us to the delights of her new town.
Some fun eating places that she told us about (and we tried) are: Uno Más for tacos, Opa for Greek food, Bouré for drinks and apps on the balcony overlooking the square, and Heartbreak Coffee for the BEST vegan chocolate chip and sea salt cookies… oh, and coffee. (Did you notice my Oxford comma in that sentence?)
Of course, we explored the shops on and around Oxford’s square.
The highlight was the iconic Square Books, where we perused three of the four (yes, FOUR) locations on the square: the main store, Off Square, and Square Junior.
Our booksellers in the main store (where we exited carrying a mighty stack of new reads) were delightful – and both had Georgia or Thomasville connections. One was from Sheffield, England, but her husband originates from Thomasville, and (happy surprise) she had been in our shop before! Haven’t you found that the world becomes much smaller when you stop to chat with people?
A lovely detour on our journey up to Oxford was Cedar Grove Farms. The owner, Melanie, and I met three years ago in a creative shop owners business coaching group. Yes, we “zoomed” our way through the perils of 2020 and 2021, and the bonds made online are real. I’d met most of our group in person back in May, but not Melanie.
It was only natural to go out of our way a teensy bit to see this place I’d been following and rooting for. As I walked up to Melanie’s shop, she hugged my neck hard and said, “It’s so wonderful to meet a friend I’ve never met!”
If you’re ever in gorgeous northern Alabama, you must visit Cedar Grove Farms. You’ll walk away with great décor (our porch thanks you, Melanie!), a bunch of new friends, and a photo next to a mint-condition 1928 Ford truck.
How absolutely lovely it was to meet up with dear, dear people whom I’ve befriended through The Hare & The Hart! We treasure all the relationships we’ve made through the years in, and because of, the shop. We are so glad to know YOU and I hope to see you soon!