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America's Coolest College Towns

Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi

Brian T. Murphy

Oxford, MS (University of Mississippi)

On autumn Saturdays when Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is packed with 65,000 whooping fans, it may be tough to associate Oxford with anything but football. But in a place named for a scholarly English city and that is home to William Faulkner’s columned retreat, Rowan Oak, paperbacks take precedence over quarterbacks, especially at Square Books. Its tens of thousands of volumes include autographed copies of works by southern authors like Eudora Welty. When not reading, residents pedal the city’s fast-growing network of bike trails. “I was surprised to learn Mississippi could be so progressive,” says Kevin Stuart of Oxford Bicycle Company.

Local Taste: Act the southern gentleman on the upstairs porch at City Grocery by ordering a “Just North of South” bourbon mojito.

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