September 8, 2021 Featured

Written by:

Meredith Biesinger is a professional educator and writer in Tupelo, Mississippi. With a great love for all things Southern, she loves to feature all the many positives of the south one word at a time! Follow Meredith on Twitter

Tupelo, Mississippi?!

Never in my life did I think I’d live in the northeastern pocket of Mississippi, in the hometown of Elvis. This “microtropolis,” with its rolling hills, local culture, and large Magnolia trees, now holds an extraordinary place in my heart.

My family and I never planned on living in Tupelo. We were “Hattiesburgers” through and through. However, a few years ago, a recruiter from North Mississippi called my husband with a job opportunity, and it was just perfect for him! Suddenly, we felt a strong push towards the state’s northern region.

Since I am not originally from Mississippi, I ignorantly thought Tupelo would be like Hattiesburg, and I quickly learned that my assumption was wrong. South Mississippi and North Mississippi are different, but some things remain the same, hospitality and tradition.

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Time For Change

Change is hard—especially unplanned change. So, to be one hundred percent honest with you, it took me about a year to adjust to living in North Mississippi. I missed our family, friends, and living close to the beach, plus a million other minor details. I often wondered if we made the right decision. I often expressed my concern about making the right decision too. Bless my sweet husband for his patience during this time. Fast forward a little bit…and I’m so glad we made this decision!

Life likes to shake things up a bit sometimes, doesn’t it? Now that we’ve been here for a few years, there is no doubt in my mind that Tupelo was part of a greater plan for my family and me as an individual.

I can say out loud and confidently that I love Tupelo!

Let’s Talk About T-town

Nestled up in the northeastern part of the state, Tupelo is the only city in the southern United States to be named an “All America City.” Not once, but five times! With good reason too! With local charm and history, there’s a reason why Southern Living selected it as Mississippi’s town for “The South’s Most Storied Streets.”

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One of the things I love the most about Tupelo is the incredible local morale and support. Much of our city and the surrounding areas consist of local businesses, and not only do the people who live here support them but so do other surrounding companies. You don’t have to remind people to shop locally here; they already do.
The Tupelo area is full of rolling hills covered with oak trees, pine trees, magnolia trees, and the ever-growing, beautifully green kudzu vines. Cotton fields are in full bloom during the fall, and speaking of fall, we have a little bit of Autumn here! Translation: I can still live in the south and enjoy sweater weather too! In the deep south, a cool breeze is as common as a bagel, but here in Tupelo, the leaves change, and the air gets crispy for a little while.

Most folks know Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis Presley. On just about any given day, you can visit the small, two-room home that the King of Rock and Roll grew up in. Swing on his front porch swing, and see the neighboring museum. You can also stop by Tupelo Hardware and stand in the very spot where Gladys Presley bought her son’s first guitar. Good choice, Mrs. Presley, good choice!

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Main Street, Tupelo is a visual representation of love, loyalty, pride, hard work, and determination. The downtown area of Tupelo has become the heart of the city. It didn’t use to be that way, and so while I love to shop, eat, and walk around downtown, it’s the relentless dedication and effort that’s continuously put into buoying up this city that I love the most.

Downtown Tupelo

Our downtown is a place where everyone is welcome. Diversity, imagination, and faith in a positive present and even brighter future lives within every historic brick and stone that lines these streets. I’m genuinely proud to raise my children in the Tupelo area.

There is something to see on every square foot of Tupelo’s charming downtown. Hand-painted murals can be found on several buildings, while guitar silhouettes line the main street. You can even follow the path of Elvis’s blue suede shoes by looking for blue footprints on the sidewalks.

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Pre-Covid, Tupelo hosted several events and festivals that included live music, delicious local food, and great family fun. Its dedication towards enriching personal and family experiences at the local level is simply top-notch.
The Bancorp South Arena hosts several big-name concerts and events, providing opportunities for locals to attend while also inviting tourism and building a more robust economy. These events have slowly but surely been coming back, and it makes my heart sing to see the streets alive again!

Tupelo is genuinely a little-known cultural oasis.

Family, Food, and Fun

My family and I are total Tupelo foodies! The local restaurant scene is fabulous here! There’s something for everyone’s pallet, and you’ll surely be served with a smile. Forbes Magazine named Tupelo as one of the “next big food destinations” in 2019. It seems we’re not the only ones that enjoy the local food here!

My kids and I love to “Park Hop.” There is plenty to do at each park, with duck ponds, splash pads, and disc golf courses too! Tupelo has several beautiful parks to visit that promote beauty, history, and an active and healthy lifestyle.

The Natchez Trace is a national landmark here, and it is gorgeous! Tree tunnels for miles, and you can drive on it from Tupelo to Nashville! You can also walk, hike, or bike the beautiful Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail. Hence, those who are planning to purchase an e-bike may visit this page https://www.aventon.com/collections/step-through-electric-bike-aventon and use the bike for a leisurely ride in these scenic bike trails.

Why Tupelo?

It’s not uncommon for people to ask, “Tupelo? How did you end up there?” I could give a million long-winded explanations as to why or how we ended up in Tupelo. Instead, I much prefer the response of…

“It’s where we are supposed to be.”

Southern charm, mixed with innovation and modern repurposing, makes Tupelo the perfect blend of tradition, culture, and progress. It’s also the ideal place for me and my family to call home.

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