Neither Alex nor I attended Ole Miss, but we have both heard raving reviews of weekends down in Oxford from our dear friends. Though I spent a sweet Saturday day trip in the Square with some gals a couple years back, we sought a close-enough new summer destination for the two of us. So at around 3 p.m. after a full usual Saturday morning of exercise, the farmers market, brunch and errands, Alex and I packed a bag, dropped off the pup at my parents', and headed down to Mississippi for a date night at The Graduate Oxford.
We pulled into the hotel right off the Square and were greeted in the bold and whimsical lobby by a smiling staff behind a novel-lined desk. The lobby's lounge areas invited not just hotel guests but also wedding-goers and the few summer students remaining on campus.
Our hotel room was spacious, balancing eclectic colors with restored concrete ceilings and mid-century modern fixtures. Amenities, mini bar items and notebooks were cleverly packaged. Upon dropping off our bag, we hopped up to the charming rooftop bar, The Coop, for a happy hour cocktail. I tried the "Ms. Ole Miss," a Tito's based grapefruit refresher, and Alex enjoyed a take on an old fashioned.
Following our happy hour sips and U.S. Open cheers at The Coop, we trotted down the street to the Square to peruse Square Books' novel selection and window shop the adorable local boutiques. If you aren't in the mood to walk, the Graduate's cruiser bikes are available for use by hotel guests. They're absolutely darling. Our appetite had not yet kicked in for dinner, so we took advantage of the town's calmer summer scene and noted historic architecture, old-timey restaurant facades, and other Southern comfort details.
We later arrived around the corner at a new-ish standout spot, Saint Leo. Named a Best New Restaurant semifinalist in the James Beard Awards just last year, the dinner proved to be well-worth the accolades. Italian at heart yet with simplistic Southern touches, the curated menu brought me joy and a bit of anxiety, primarily because I wanted to order literally every item on its menu!
Alex and I began with blistered shishito peppers, then opted for a chopped salad with sorpressata and avocado and split a neopolitan-style burrata and pizza pie. After a couple glasses of red wine, dessert sounded too good to be true. We moved seats to the swanky and cozy bar area to split a scoop of peach ice cream with the St. Louis Cardinals game on-screen.
We conveniently took a stroll back home to the Graduate, basking in Southern comfort and summer satisfaction.
Upon leaving the lovely hotel the following morning, we stopped into Chef John Currence's Big Bad Breakfast for a bite before the road. I tried a suggested specialty of Chef's -- a rather brilliant "Breakfast Crumble" bowl of grits, crumbled biscuit and crumbled bacon with a poached egg and scallions. It was excellent.
Guess what? The Graduate is offering a special discount for Caramelized followers anytime during the month of July. You'll receive 15% off the best available rate by following this link, plus the team will include a little in-room amenity for you! Call and make your summertime reservation today.
CLICK HERE FOR SPECIAL DISCOUNT LINK
This post is brought to you by Graduate Hotels Oxford. Thank you for being supportive of my sponsors!