TAILGATING IN THE GROVE. LET’S START WITH TAYLOR GROCERY




I clearly remember the first time I heard about Ole Miss and tailgating in The Grove.  My son James, a sophomore at Florida at the time,  told me he was going to an away game at Ole Miss.  “I hear they have great tailgating.”  I responded with a smile and thought,  “it can’t be much better than tailgating at Tennessee or Florida.”

Gator Chomping At Ole Miss photo by Gavin Reinke
The texting began as soon as he hit Oxford.  He loved Oxford.  He and his fraternity brothers were welcomed at the Sigma Nu house and in The Grove.  James texted all kinds of accolades about the family atmosphere of The Grove.  He wanted me to experience tailgating in The Grove.

When I began this project in earnest, I knew a trip to Oxford and Ole Miss was a must.  My good friend, Joanne, suggested a road trip together for the Alabama/Ole Miss game.   She called her brother-in-law, Hank Burdine and asked if we could come to a game and tailgate in The Grove.  He said, “Sure, I’ll coordinate the tailgate with friends and you can stay with my sister.”

The first thing we saw when we got to campus on a beautiful Friday, October morning was The Grove, 10 acres of tree filled green space.   It was roped off, empty except for large red and blue garbage cans, just waiting for the stampede at 9:00 pm.  Rushing The Grove is tradition and thousands of fans storm The Grove on Friday night to stake out their tailgating spots.

We wandered the Ole Miss campus taking lots of pictures.

The Library, with an unexpected meeting of friends of a friend.

Ole Miss alums visiting for game outside Library photo by Kathy Miller

We walked The Square in Oxford and enjoyed all the sights and sounds.

The famous Oxford Courthouse On The Square

Oxford Square Courthouse photo by Kathy Miller

Oxford City Hall

Oxford City Hall Mississippi photo by Kathy Miller


A red telephone booth sits on the Oxford Square, similar to British ones in London and Oxford, England.

Red telephone booth Oxford, Mississippi on the Oxford Square, similar to British ones photo by Kathy Miller



Red double decker buses traverse between the Ole Miss campus and Oxford Square.

Red double decker bus Ole Miss Oxford Square Mississippi photo by Kathy Miller


A red double decker bus is included in my “Tailgating In The Grove” painting.

University of Mississippi Tailgating In The Grove painting by Kathy Miller


“Tailgating In The Grove”
 prints make great gifts for the Ole Miss student or alum.

We visited an Oxford associate, Mary Margaret Andrews, to show her my Tailgating paintings.  We told her we were staying with a relative in Taylor, Mississippi and she said, “You will have to eat at Taylor Grocery.  They have the best catfish dinners.  But get there early.  You will have to wait in line.  And by the way, I will be there with my family tonight. My brother is playing in the band.”

Taylor, Mississippi is 9 miles from Oxford.  Hank’s sister, Jane Rule lives in Taylor and provided us rooms for the weekend.  We had heard something about catfish and Taylor Grocery, but didn’t think much about it.  The road dead ended, we took a left turn and there sat the Taylor Grocery looking exactly like what it used to be, an old dry goods store.

Taylor Grocery Taylor Mississippi great catfish dinners photo by Kathy Miller

Taylor Gro. & Restaurant

That Catfish Place

Taylor Grocery Taylor Mississippi photo by Kathy Miller
It was 5:30 and a line was already forming out the door.  Directly in front of Taylor Grocery, the road took a sharp dogleg right.  Two blocks later, across from the Taylor Methodist Church

Taylor Methodist Church, Mississippi photo by Kathy Miller


was our home for the weekend.

Jane Rule Burdine's house in Taylor Mississippi photo by Kathy Miller

Jane Rule Burdine was our perfect host.  She lives in a lovely old home with the best wraparound back porch, overlooking gardens and a large cotton field.  After a fun golf cart ride touring her property we settled in the back porch swing and sipped our wine.

After visiting with Jane Rule and catching up on family, she called Taylor Grocery and ordered catfish dinners to go.  She sent us out the door with our wine in a travel bag, flashlights and a 45 minute wait.  We walked.

Taylor Grocery was hopping.

Taylor Grocery hopping on a Friday night before an Ole Miss game photo by Kathy Miller

It was 9:45 and you could hear music slipping out the front door.  The hum of voices as people waited on the front porch.  A side parking lot was full of pick up trucks with their tailgates down, chairs all around with everyone sipping drinks in red solo cups, waiting for their time to be called.  And I thought the tailgating wasn’t until Saturday!

Joanne and I went inside to check on our catfish-to-go dinners.  The dining area was full and customers were standing everywhere waiting to be seated, enjoying the music.  A taxicab drove up with a couple of Alabama fans, eager to taste the Taylor experience.

Taxi bringing Alabama fans to Taylor Grocery Mississippi photo by Kathy Miller


The catfish was good.  The music was good.  Joanne and I had stumbled on a great experience.

Joanne and Kathy outside Taylor Grocery catfish dinners Mississippi photo by Kathy Miller


We went to sleep that Friday night listening to  the background buzz of people still waiting to get inside Taylor Grocery.

Taylor Grocery catfish dinners Mississippi photo by Kathy Miller


Next story GAME DAY IN THE GROVE.

Watch for upcoming stories from my tailgating travels.  I welcome your comments, recipes and any inside information on your favorite tailgating spots.

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.

4 Comments

  • Joanne Astor says:

    Great time! Love the pictures.

  • sec1fan says:

    We had such a good time!

  • Lisa Moore says:

    Kathy:
    I stumbled upon your website. I just love it !!! Believe it or not I am a Boston girl who is obsessed with tailgating down south. I went to East Carolina U. and boy do they know how to tailgate. My life-long dream is to go to the Ga-Fla game and I read about the “grove” at Ole Miss so you must update your website with the details from your experience. I would love to tailgate with you!!!

    Lisa

  • sec1fan says:

    Lisa, thank you for your comments. I have family connections in Greenville and know East Carolina well. The Grove at Ole Miss is one of the best tailgating spots in the country. My upcoming post will have lots of pictures from the Grove.
    Looking forward to the Florida Georgia game. You need to plan a trip for that one. Hope to see you one day on the tailgating trail!

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