Just down the road from Oxford, Mississippi is Water Valley, a quaint railroad town that takes visitors back to simpler times. Water Valley’s heyday was from the late 1800s to the 1920s, and most of the homes and buildings are from that period. When the railroad stopped running through Water Valley, the area became somewhat of a ghost town, but it has seen a revival in recent years thanks to a mix of resourceful locals and transplants. You can read a little more about that in this recent New York Times article.
In addition to two quirky art galleries, Yalo Studio and Bozart’s Gallery, downtown Water Valley offers gems such as Turnage Drug Store, which has been serving customers since 1905 and still whips up delicious sandwiches, ice cream and milkshakes from its soda fountain. Sartain’s Hardware Store is another old-timey favorite where locals can pick up tools and supplies as well as the type of genuine customer service that can be hard to find in today’s world.
A new addition that feels as though it has been there for decades is the B.T.C. Grocery, which offers “small-town food with a big-city feel.” The store carries everything from local produce to hoop cheese to quinoa (hard to find in most small Mississippi towns). It also boasts a cafe that serves some really yummy sandwiches, soups and desserts. To see their mouthwatering daily menus, like them on Facebook.
Downtown Water Valley is an inspiring place that reminds visitors of the potential in small-town America and why we should invest in our history and our heritage.
It is definitely worth a visit, perhaps during the first weekend of August for the Watermelon Carnival?