Literary Mississippi

Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
Trip End Oct 07, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Friday, September 28, 2012

It's hard to believe that we left Memphis this morning, but we had quite a nice drive through Mississippi. Again, very green countryside. It is one of the least populated places that we have driven through. Mike pointed out that there are no sizable cities in Mississippi so that helps to explain the general absence of people. 

It helped that we had two lengthy stops along our drive. The first was in the city of Oxford, MS which is where the University of Mississippi or 'Ole Miss' is located. We didn't go to check out the college, however, we were in town to see William Faulkner's house. Despite its 33 reviews on Trip Advisor, it did not seem to be a very popular tourist stop. While many of the historic buildings in town are marked with large placards, we almost drove by his house, Rowan Oaks. There is also a gravel drive which is not marked in any way. I guess it's nice to feel like you're just informally stopping by Faulkner's house, but it was a little strange. Then, we started walking up to the house. The grounds are quite large and have a few magnolia trees leading up to the front walk. I was freaking out because there was still no signage and I began to wonder if we had started to wander up to some stranger's door. Having seen the picture of Rowan Oaks already, Mike was calm. However, when we did reach the door, a very small printed piece of paper greeted us, but didn't make it clear if we should enter. When we turned to tour one side of the grounds, we saw two men talking, but neither acknowledged us. I was a little put out by this because I could tell they were 'scholars', but they were prattling on without being helpful (we were clearly lost or disoriented). I thought perhaps they were visitors and this explained their lack of assistance, but when we were forced back to the same front door, we learned that one of these people was, in fact, the curator of the museum. So, a little helpful direction would have been greatly appreciated. 

Anyway, Faulkner's house was okay. It was only $5 to get in which was cheap, but this was also reflected in the lack of a tour and the relative paucity of information. I also felt as though the grounds were in some degree of disrepair. While the outbuildings and the grass seemed intact, I found it hard to belief that Faulkner didn't have any kind of garden. So, we learned that Faulkner was fairly obsessed with riding horses and he had this great portrait made of him wearing his riding outfit. It was so British of him to have himself painted this way. Other than that, I'm not sure I learned much else. Still, we were happy to have been able to cross him off of our list. 

Our next stop was at Eudora Welty's house. She was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author mainly of short stories. She died fairly recently in 2001 so her house is in great shape in terms of holding her original furniture and books and such. Our tour guide offered an *extremely* detailed tour which took 1.5 hours. It was a little bit of a relief to be done with it. I now know an inordinate amount about Eudora Welty's life.  
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