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Steve Mullen: A to-do list for the Not From Here


Steve Mullen



People who are new to this corner of the earth quickly realize there are two types of people: Those who are From Here and those who aren''t. 


Those who aren''t from here bring different backgrounds, knowledge and experiences. They may be from larger cities or milder climates. Yet they quickly realize those who are From Here have the upper hand. 


We have servicemen and women from all over the nation and world living here while training or serving at Columbus Air Force Base. Same with the workers at Severstal, Stark Aerospace or one of our other industries. We have professors and scientists of myriad backgrounds at Mississippi State and Mississippi University for Women. And, we have people who have ended up here for the countless other reasons. 


This column is for the people not From Here, who may be experiencing Deep South-induced confusion or culture shock. To these people, I bring this message: It''ll be OK, I promise. And, you can even have fun here, if you make the most of it. 


First, let''s get some sushi in you -- I know you were worried there would be no decent sushi. Go to Umi in Starkville or Little Tokyo in Columbus. Feel better now? OK, let''s get down to it. 


Here are a few things to do. Later this summer, we''ll publish a special magazine called FYI, which will have a lot more, in a feature cleverly and tentatively called 101 Things To Do. We''re asking those who are From Here, and those who aren''t who have discovered the hidden gems within driving distance, to send in their own. 


Here are a few ideas: 






This is big here, bigger than in other parts of the state. Folks gravitate to their favorite places. I''m a fan of the Little Dooey (the original''s in Starkville; Columbus has two more) but there''s no such thing as bad barbecue, especially in this area. 




SEC football 


Mississippi State and the University of Alabama are the two SEC schools closest to each other. And, Ole Miss is two hours away. Don''t leave the Triangle without catching a home game at all three stadiums. The Grove at Ole Miss is legendary for its tailgating. Alabama is legendary for its winning. (While in Tuscaloosa, stop at Dreamland for some more barbecue; its ribs are considered some of the best in the South.) 






A little more driving here, but here''s how to get your lifetime fill of Elvis Presley in a couple days. Drive up to Tupelo and see Elvis Presley''s birthplace, and drive around the town he grew up in (Tupelo Hardware, the store where Elvis'' momma bought his first guitar, is still open). Then, head up Highway 78 toward Memphis.  


Stop off in Holly Springs to see Graceland Too, a shrine to the King created by Elvis'' greatest fan, Paul McLeod. For lunch, eat one of the best burgers you ever ate at Phillips Grocery in Holly Springs. Then, keep going to Memphis to tour the actual Graceland.  


After all this Elvis you''ll want to spend the night; stay at the Peabody -- in my book the South''s best hotel. Down the alley across the street is the Rendezvous, a legendary rib place (you knew by now there would be more barbecue). 






I mentioned going to an Ole Miss game, but Oxford itself is worth another day trip. Go on a weekend that isn''t a football weekend. Go to the Square; among the shops and restaurants, one of the nation''s great independent bookstores, Square Books, is there. Browse the Faulkner section; buy a Coke in a glass bottle and sip it on the balcony. If you have kids, also visit the kids'' bookstore over by Neilson''s.  


Skip the barbecue. Eat pizza at Proud Larry''s for lunch and for dinner, go to City Grocery, a James Beard Award-winning restaurant with a great bar upstairs. 






Our capital city gets a bad rap. But the truth is, it''s roughly two hours away and there''s lots to do there. The Mississippi Museum of Art, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum are all worth a visit. I know, a museum on agriculture and forestry sounds dull, but it includes an actual turn-of-the-century town, complete with general store, on its grounds. The Old Capitol Museum is newly restored and is also world class. 


In Ridgeland, just north of Jackson, there''s a new outdoor shopping center called Renaissance at Colony Park. In this shopping center is an Apple Store, an Anthropologie, a Williams-Sonoma, a Fresh Market and some other things that people who are From Here aren''t used to. When you''re done shopping, eat the best steak of your life at Tico''s. 


There''s so much more I could include, both near and far, but I''ll leave that to you to discover, and share with us. What are some of your 101 Things to Do locally, and within driving distance? Share them by e-mailing them to [email protected] 


Maybe you''ll discover a few things you didn''t know were there, even if you''re From Here.


Steve Mullen is Managing Editor of The Dispatch.


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Reader Comments

Article Comment tommy commented at 6/16/2010 3:08:00 PM:

Kind of short on things to do in the Golden Triangle.

I am not from here. I like the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge.


Article Comment doj commented at 6/16/2010 4:02:00 PM:

How long have you been here? You forgot to mention cow tipping out in the Prairie, people watching at Walmart, and watching the world famous nightly submarine races on the river.


Article Comment remy commented at 6/16/2010 8:34:00 PM:

As I expected, the article had things to do away from Columbus rather than in Columbus. Besides the people watching at Walmart, you could strap on a bullet proof vest and test your survival skills by trying to make it on foot from east Columbus back to a certain point on 45N.


Article Comment doj commented at 6/16/2010 9:14:00 PM:

Yep! Folks From Away From Here would prefer to go to exotic places like Tupelo and Starkpatch than explore the wildlife around here. They never knew about the hotspots like the Dew Drop In, Hi-hat, the Club and Snow White.


Article Comment duh commented at 6/16/2010 10:59:00 PM:

So Steve, you're not really FROM HERE are you?


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 6/17/2010 8:44:00 AM:

And I noticed he forgot to mention "bridge sitting". Well, they don't have the benches on it yet, so for now, you'll have to do "bridge leaning" on the railing.

You can also just sit straight down on the surface of the bridge, which oddly enough is also called "bridge sitting". In either case, as you sit, lean, or stagger (if you survived nap-time at Rubens) you are sure to find yourself wondering who stole the toilet from the bridge as you stare down at the river through one of the holes in the bridges surface.


Article Comment doj commented at 6/17/2010 10:48:00 AM:

Ah!! The good old summertime in Columbus -- shooting at cans with slingshots and BB guns, knocking down wasp nests with a rubbergun, flying junebugs on a string, pickup baseball games, rope swinging and innertubing on the Lux, filching apples and watermelons from the neighbors, the watermelon rind fights, and busting ripe melons on friends porches. There is always something fun to do in Columbus.


Article Comment spencecc commented at 6/17/2010 12:45:00 PM:

What about Mack Banks supper club, is that still open? The place where the performers on stage were protected by chicken wire a la The Blues Brothers?


Article Comment doj commented at 6/17/2010 1:53:00 PM:

I don't know what happened to Mack's Supper Club, but I remember it. There were some other family fun places that I remember -- The Bloody Bucket, 45-Club, Broken Spoke, Whispering Pines, LynnLou's, Palimino and Margie's (now, there was a family place). Places where they asked at the door if you had a knife or gun, and when you said no, they issued you one. Boy, we had fun growing up! What happened to all those fun places. Most of them closed after they legalized liquor.


Article Comment dooley70 commented at 6/18/2010 2:15:00 PM:

I do remember Margie's also known as the the grave yard. For extra points what was Margie's last name,what was the name of her previous JOINT and where was it located?


Article Comment doj commented at 6/18/2010 2:41:00 PM:

dooley70 -- You've got me. I used to know, but at this stage in life, I'm lucky to remember my own name. She was Marjorie Wright, but I can't recall the name of the former place. I do know that you haven't lived until you have done New Year's Eve at Margie's.


Article Comment dooley70 commented at 6/18/2010 3:16:00 PM:

DOJ: I give you partial credit on Margie's last name but I may have to deduct points on another matter. I think it was the DO DROP IN not DEW.

Hint on previous Joint. It was not to far from The Palmer Home and also close to Warren Brothers asphalt plant.


Article Comment doj commented at 6/18/2010 4:18:00 PM:

Hey dooley70, You are right, there was a Do Drop in, or as it was called the Round House on Pickensville Road. Built out of silo staves and was round. The building is still there and I think is a church now. The Dew Drop In was on old Hwy 82,about 1/2 mile west of where the channel is now. It was back in the woods and had dirt floors There is a peckerwood sawmill there now.


Article Comment dooley70 commented at 6/18/2010 5:14:00 PM:

Go to the head of the class.You are spot on.Did you know that Margie lived in back of the old Round House when it was in operation?
The Do Drop as it was known didn't have a back door which led to some tense moments when the crowd got rowdy!


Article Comment doj commented at 6/18/2010 5:25:00 PM:

Remember the old saying -- "Head for the roundhouse boys, they can't corner you there!!"


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 6/21/2010 9:31:00 AM:

Nice, a trip down memory lane of all the places you've ever pee'd behind. Good times.


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