Good Neighbors

Sonia Thompson

Who are Splinter Creek's neighbors? Take this little tour to find out (photo by Erin Austen Abbott).

Splinter Creek is nestled into the rolling landscape of the north Mississippi hill country. But where exactly is that? If you're not familiar with the area or you haven't visited in a while, we wanted to introduce you to some of our neighbors. Take an easy country drive to Taylor, Water Valley, Oxford, or Batesville, Mississippi, and get to know our friendly location.

Taylor, Mississippi, is home to Wonderbird Spirits distillery. Their artisanal gin was the 2021 overall winner of Garden & Gun's Made in the South Awards.

1. Taylor, Mississippi
About five miles east of Splinter Creek, via Peddler's Field Road, is the small town of Taylor, Mississippi. It encompasses a little more than four square miles and is about halfway between Oxford and Water Valley in the Yocona River delta. Fun fact, Taylor is the only town name that William Faulkner did not change in his novels. Today Taylor is home to Taylor Grocery, known for its catfish; Grit, which offers a sophisticated Southern cuisine; Lost Dog Coffee; and Wonderbird Spirits gin distillery. It is also home many writers and artists, including the studio of custom jewelry designer Nicole Rottler Harlow, owner of Niett Metals.

Local produce and prepared meals from the BTC Grocery are a Water Valley favorite.

2. Water Valley, Mississippi
About 13 miles due south of Splinter Creek is Water Valley, Mississippi, located in Yalobusha County. This former railroad town has about 3,700 residents today and a vibrant and historic Main Street. One of Main Street's biggest draws is the BTC Grocery, where you can stock up on fresh produce, locally made baked goods, and frozen casseroles. Explore the historic Turnage Drug Store, which boasts an old-fashioned soda fountain; Bozarts fine art gallery; and Violet Valley Bookstore, which specializes in feminist and LGBTQ+ literature. Stop for a bite at the Trusty Diner, an American-style restaurant that emphasizes a proper respect for quality ingredients. And don't miss the annual Watermelon Carnival held the first weekend of every August.

3. Oxford, Mississippi
Thirteen miles north and east from Splinter Creek is Oxford, Mississippi, located in Lafayette County, with about 27,000 residents. It's the quintessential Southern town best known as the home of the University of Mississippi. Ole Miss boasts a beautiful college campus and the Grove, a 10-acre, oak-studded retreat in the center of campus, famous for hosting elaborate college football tailgating events. Oxford’s graceful antebellum, Victorian architecture and charming town square offer a lively mix of boutiques, restaurants, galleries, museums, and cultural happenings. The town’s rich literary heritage began with William Faulkner (whose home Rowan Oak is now a museum), and continues with the vibrant independent bookstore Square Books.

Visit the Magnolia Grove Monastery, a mindfulness and meditation practice center located just outside of Batesville, Mississippi.

4. Batesville, Mississippi
Often overlooked for the shopping and dining of the Oxford Square, Batesville, Mississippi, in Panola County has its own treasures to explore. About 20 miles north and west of Splinter Creek, Batesville has about 7,000 residents and is home to Magnolia Grove Monastery. The Monastery was established by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh to share the practice of mindful living. This 120-acre residential monastery and mindfulness practice center offers retreats throughout the year and has a newly built meditation center. Batesville is also a designated Mississippi Landmark and a destination on the Mississippi Mound Trail. The Batesville Mounds were believed to be inhabited by the Early to Middle Woodland Indians between 500 BCE and 100 CE.

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