Column: Take a road trip to these five underrated places in Oxford and Lafayette County

The Ravine in Oxford. The photo shows the exterior of the restaurant, which is a rustic building. Photo by Whitney Rigdon.
The Ravine in Oxford. Photo by Whitney Rigdon.

Whitney Rigdon
Oxford Stories

Every town has its most popular places, but there are always a few underrated and lesser known attractions you should visit. Whether you’re an Oxford native, a University of Mississippi student, or a tourist passing through, Oxford and Lafayette County have much to offer if you’re willing to explore.

Located three miles from the Square at 53 County Road 321, Ravine Restaurant is a high-end eatery that serves contemporary Southern cooking. Ravine’s building is a beautiful log chalet in a quiet part of town surrounded by trees, vines and nature. Inside, you’ll find a sophisticated, homey atmosphere – the perfect place for a romantic date or special celebration.

Chef Joel Miller changes the menu seasonally. From rosemary and red wine braised pork shank to duck breast on white rice pancakes, the restaurant offers exquisite meals, drawing inspiration from “locally grown, fresh and seasonal foods, including some from the gardens overlooked by the restaurant’s outdoor terrace.”

If you’re a coffee-lover or someone who just needs a quick caffeine boost, stop by Oxford’s mobile espresso bar, Caffecitos. This coffee truck by the Old Armory Pavilion, serves any type of coffee drink you can think of, even smoothies.

The shop features three non-dairy options and more than 15 tasty syrup add-ons. It opened a few months ago. Learn more here. This small-business will make your day brighter with its iconic, sunshine yellow truck.

Caffecito's Espresso Coffee Truck is a bright yellow truck with a coffee cup on it and the words Caffecitos espresso. Photo by Whitney Rigdon.
Caffecito’s Espresso Coffee Truck. Photo by Whitney Rigdon.

While you finish your Caffecitos coffee, walk next door to Oxford Community Market. Every Tuesday, the OXCM holds a farmer’s market featuring vendors selling anything from cinnamon sugar pecans to pre-packaged, vegan Caesar salad.

When you walk into the market, you will most likely be greeted by friendly farmer Stark Aldridge. You do not want to leave behind his homemade jams and jellies. You may also visit the Alali Farm booth, which sells 100% natural facial serum and cleanser, as well as fresh kale and salads.

The farmer’s market is a wonderful place to stop by for food and to meet the amazing vendors of all backgrounds, races, and cultures. It is hosted in the Old Armory Pavilion and open during the spring from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and from noon to 3 p.m. in the winter. 

Stark Aldridge displaying his fresh brown eggs at the Oxford Community Market. Photo by Whitney Rigdon.
Stark Aldridge displaying his fresh eggs at Oxford Community Market. Photo by Whitney Rigdon.

If you drive about 20 minutes outside of Oxford, you’ll find Taylor, one of the most pleasant and welcoming small communities in the state. Although the town is only about three square miles with a population of less than 300, it is full of great experiences.

First up is Taylor Grocery. This restaurant has been a staple in the town since the 1970s thanks to its mouthwatering catfish. With a mix of Southern hospitality, sweet tea, great music, and catfish, you will experience authentic Southern life in Mississippi.

A few miles down the road is Lost Dog Coffee. With vintage posters on the wall and the customer’s dogs wandering around the store, this coffee shop provides the most comforting, homey experience imaginable. It is a great place to study or relax, plus you can enjoy a delicious treat.

Next door to Lost Dog Coffee is Grit, a high-end restaurant that serves sophisticated, Southern cuisine. It is also a gallery displaying the work of local artists. They serve an amazing brunch menu, and an experimental, yet traditional dinner menu.

If you don’t mind a quick drive out of town, these businesses are the perfect places to go when you want something a little different. Although the people of Oxford adore the famous and iconic businesses on the Square, it is fun to try something different every once in a while.

Whether it’s just down the road, or a 15 minute drive outside of town, these are a few underrated places in the Oxford area you may not have heard about. Go on a road trip, and you may find a new favorite spot. You’ll also be supporting local businesses.

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