Never Too Old To Graduate
Feeling a little guilty as I write this. But why? Seems to me a person ought to be able to stay in any hotel she likes - the best rate, the coolest amenities - without feeling disloyal.
And yet, here I am in the Graduate, Oxford, MS, feeling like I really should be across town at the gracious Inn at Ole Miss where I used to stay whenever I came to town on non-football weekends.
This happens to be a baby shower weekend. My daughter - who went to Ole Miss - my granddaughter - who was born in Oxford - also flew in for the party. A great excuse to spend a couple of days in the prettiest college town in America. Don’t argue with me.
Football, commencement and festival weekends are ALWAYS spent at Oak Hill Stables about five miles out of town, where the hosts make you feel like family and the atmosphere is elegant but homey. Strangers become friends around that lovely breakfast table where the food is as delicious as the company.
But ever since the Graduate opened a few years ago, right downtown, just off The Square, this is where I hang my hat, so to speak, when I find myself in Oxford on slow weekends.
Graduate hotels are a new chain of boutique inns that operate exclusively in college towns. They aren’t interchangeable cookie-cutter places. Instead, each is tailored to the nearby institution of higher learning.
My room key, for instance, is an Eli Manning student ID (with a pic of him as a 5-year-old.) Wonder if they’ll notice if I “forget” to turn it in when I check out?
The navy and white tiles in the entrance are arranged in a pattern of Hs and Ts. Hotty Toddy, you know.
The walls are covered with black and white photos of Ole Miss sports legends and tiara-wearing beauty queens, proving that there’s some truth to the saying that, “At Ole Miss they redshirt Miss Americas.”
Best of all, the lobby is part bar/part study hall. Students are encouraged to drop in and work in the quiet, comfy atmosphere. In fact, I’m sharing the long table in the lobby with two college girls as I write this. Other kids are sprawled around the room on sofas and velvet chairs, books open, computers out.
I feel like a student.
As best I can tell, there are either nine or 10 Graduates so far. From Ann Arbor to Berkeley. Two are in Virginia: One in Charlottesville. The other in Richmond.
I can’t vouch for those places. This is the only one I’ve visited. Nope, this isn’t a promoted post. I’m just telling you about a quirky hotel with super-reasonable rates. (Hey, I warned you that if I was going to post here daily you’d have to come with me on trips.)
Question: This Graduate has a rooftop bar with terrific Moscow Mules. Would it be child neglect to wait for the 3-year-old to fall asleep in her port-a-crib, turn on the baby monitor and slip up into the moonlight for a cocktail?
I’m kidding. Sort of.