Whether you find yourself in Starkville, Mississippi for the Magnolia Film Festival held every February or you’re visiting your favorite Bulldog at Mississippi State University, you’ll hear the ringing of cowbells and witness the exquisitely Southern vibes and rural delight this town has to offer. Give yourself a couple of days to see it all — you don’t want to miss a thing!
The Biscuit Shop
These scratch – made buttermilk biscuits are Southern comfort food at its finest. With a dynastic family recipe passed down by word-of-mouth from her grandmother, this biscuit shop’s sole baker is all about the buttermilk beauties that the Biscuit Shop is known for. You’ll definitely want to come early to grab a hot one, as the baker hangs up her oven mitts at 11:30am each morning with the day’s biscuits officially made. New biscuits are incorporated all the time and the lack of corporate policies keeps the atmosphere homey and the menu ever-changing. You never know what you’ll get! Stop by the Biscuit Shop first on your tour of Starkville, so you can carb up for some energy before seeing the rest of the sights.
Restaurant Tyler and The Guest Room
In the heart of Downtown Starkville you’ll find a high-end restaurant with a focus on farm-to-table food and a secret lounge in the back. Feeling adventurous? Experience what the 1920’s were like by using your navigational skills to enter an establishment through a dark alley lit by a street lamp that reveals a single door that leads to The Guest Room. Unlike the 1920’s, nothing illegal is happening here. It’s a speakeasy with a tiny eco footprint — what more could you want? No TV screens pollute the dark, enchanting ambience or distract you from your servers, bartenders and friends. It’s a place to eat incredible Southern food, savor delectable, unique drinks (some from fresh squeezed juices), and sink into the cool vibes for which Starkville is so well known. Be sure to come on a night when there’s no Mississippi State game to watch. You don’t need a code word to get in, but you may need to wait a bit for a table as this place is popular!
The Cotton District
Every interesting city has its own district full of history and innovation, and Starkville is no different. Head to the Cotton District to check out museums, local eateries like the Bulldog Burger company, and the Mississippi State University Art Galleries. A predecessor to the “New Urbanism” movement from the 1980s, it is an example of traditional neighborhood development practices of the 1960’s. Lucky residents, including current Bulldogs, populate the unique apartment units and mosey the streets of this walkable, bustling part of Starkville. It rivals New Orleans in classical and Victorian reminiscence, serving as a mecca for artists and creatives alike. Check out the Bagel City Cafe and Stromboli’s as you stroll along University Drive, and do be sure to visit during football season to witness the glory of Bulldogs in their natural habitat!
Aspen Bay Candles
Feel nostalgic for the days when skilled workers would house their painstakingly perfected products in their own shops by visiting Aspen Bay Candles in Starkville. Their fragrances are hand-crafted and hand-poured using methods of traditional candle makers, and put into recycled glass jars to be sold as candles, diffusers, and room sprays. The smells alone would draw you to this wonderful shop, and the unique packaging with lead-free wicks will have you reaching for your wallet to take a few home. With scents like Sueded Tobacco, Mandarin Mint, and Cashmere Pumpkin, your living room will smell better and more unique than anyone else’s you know. The Southern craftsmanship would also spruce up any shared working space and inspire creativity through the powerful olfactory senses.
A must-see on your tour of Starkville, there’s more to The Refuge than meets the eye. Established over 70 years ago from lands obtained through resettlement policies, this forest was meant to be a refuge for a myriad of wildlife in the east-central Mississippi area; it conserves, manages, and restores animal habitats. Spread across 48,000 acres, it was badly over-farmed before government administration stepped in to take control of its future, which is a testimony to how wildlife can thrive with the right management. Hundreds of thousands of people visit every year to fish, hunt, hike, photograph and observe wildlife, as well as use it for environmental education, and research — it is an outdoor classroom for Mississippi State University and other local educational institutions. Take a tour of its natural beauty and escape the world for a while in this lovingly kept eco-sanctuary.
Shop MSU Apparel
No tour of Starkville would be complete without the requisite visit to a Mississippi State University store. Make sure to stop by The Lodge and Maroon & Co. to check out some of our fabulous 2017 MSU pieces made specifically for the stylish and sophisticated female fan.
Special thanks to the Weiner family, Rachel, Daniel, and Sadie Noa, for showing our Stepforward staff how to Hail State in style.