Get Your Guest Room Game-Day Ready

Erin Austen Abbott

Mississippi is known as the Hospitality State, and that maxim is tested every fall when football fans descend on Oxford to experience the Grove. With the big Alabama vs. Ole Miss matchup happening this Saturday, September 15, we asked guest blogger Erin Austen Abbott for her must-have list to help friends feel welcome. Stock up on these 11 local items to create a guest room that is warm, inviting, and offers a sampling of the best of the area.

Oxford postcards from Square Books, featuring Rowan Oak and the Lafayette County Courthouse, add a nice local touch to a guest's nightstand.

1. Stash a few Square Books sweatshirts in a drawer, in case your guests forgot a long sleeve or just need an extra layer. Grab a few Oxford post cards while you are there, so they can write to friends back home about what a great trip they are having.

A crate of records from The End of All Music can be an invitation for guests to DJ.

2. Have a crate of records from The End of All Music ready for guests to flip through and play throughout their stay. Owner David Swider curated a selection of records specifically for Splinter Creek.

Chicory Market is a great place to stock up on local coffee and other snacks.

3. Stock staples from Chicory Market or The BTC Grocery in the kitchen, with snacks and ingredients handy that serve meals while your guests are visiting or some as parting gifts, such as Heartbreak Coffee, Delta Grind Grits, Mardis Honey, and Home Place Pastures meats.

4. Head to Jackson Beer Co. to pick up the latest in Mississippi-brewed beers from Natchez Brewing Company, Lazy Magnolia, Lucky Town, Mighty Miss, Wiseacre, Slowboat, 1817, or Ghost River Brewery.

A map from the University Museum highlights the path through Bailey's Woods Trail, which connects to Rowan Oak.

5. Stop by the University Museum for fliers from their latest shows, with a map that connects the museum to Rowan Oak by way of the woods.

Highlight Oxford's literary strength for guests with a stack of books by local authors on the nightstand.

6. Leave a few books by Oxford writers on the bedside table to give guests a visual of the Oxford’s literary leaning.

7. Grab some back issues of Gravy, the quarterly publication by the University of Mississippi’s own Southern Foodways Alliance.

8. Small reminders serve as tiny souvenirs too, like matchbooks from Saint Leo and the City Grocery, or a small Oxford pin from the Visit Oxford office, just off the Square.

9. Pick up flowers, cheese straws, and cocktail napkins from Oxford Floral and some guest soaps from Neilson’s Department Store.

The Double Decker bus runs a free shuttle service from the Oxford Square to the Grove on Ole Miss game days.

10. Get a Double Decker Bus historic home tour schedule from the Visit Oxford office. Or hop on for a free ride to the Grove.

11. Get a few bottles of Debutante Farmer Bloody Mary Mix by Oxford-based chef Elizabeth Heiskell. One to serve and one to gift to your guests.

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