Let's be real with each other, okay? Starkville is a town of quirky, hole in the wall shops and restaurants that can sometimes feel like a minefield of awkward social interaction if you have yet to be shown the ropes.
When you are a student, it's rare to have enough room in your budget to do much anything else than watch Netflix and go to class, but on the rare occasion there are a few shops like Deep South Pout, The Lodge, Book Mart and Cafe, Aspen Bay, and Giggleswick that let you do your own casual thing.
Often times I just go to these stores to walk around, look, and just get my "human interaction" for the day. The shop workers tend to not bother you or ask too many questions, which is nice. And on the occasion that you have to leave your dorm or apartment to go get groceries, Neighborhood Market down 12 is much better and less frequent than the "big Walmart" near 25.
The Cotton District
Bin 612- Personally, I love a good mid-day chill here. Nothing is better than hanging out with your friends on the patio sharing a few orders of cheese fries and talking about life. What I wish I had been told earlier: The truffle cheese fries or the Buffalo Chicken cheese fries are the best and the patio is the most empty around 5 pm.
The Klaas Room- This place is good to go if you're looking to have a nice time for cheap. Me and two friends go there around six or seven pm, order a large Walk of Shame Pizza (ranch and buffalo chicken) and a mimosa tower (three liters of vodka, champagne, and orange juice) and the whole thing ends up totaling around $45 before tip. You can leave full, a little drunk, and happy for less than $20. There's also a sweet dog that comes there, her name is Luna and shes the best girl. 10/10 loves to be petted.
City Bagel- City Bagel is a great and somewhat hidden gem. My favorite part about this joint is that the owner is super nice, and sometimes even works the counter on Sunday mornings. The menu-board walks you through how to order, step by step, but it is hard to get something that's bad. The coffee is spectacular and the Italian Nights are even better. Bonus points for having the WiFi written out near the register so you don't have to have that super awkward conversation.
Jilly Beams Pail of Paint- This is a super cute pottery painting place near The Lodge. The staff there is very kind and helpful, but for sure will leave you alone if you look like you are keeping to yourself and not like actively on fire. Plus, you get a fun mug and some memories out of the experience.
The Refuge- To me, The Refuge is the ultimate spot for a unplug and unwind. There are a ton of walking trails, places to fish, and places to hang your hammock to just relax. I like to drive out there, sit on the edge of one of the long piers/boardwalks, turn on some music, and just reflect on things. It's also an amazing place to study for finals or dive into God's Word.
Starkville Community Market- Now, I know that this is just because I'm hopeless when it comes to living out my dreams of being that girl who reads a lot of books, goes to farmers markets and drinks enough water (LOL), but the Starkville Community Market is actually so precious. Imagine if a crafts fair and a farmers market had a baby. Then showed off that baby on Saturday mornings and Tuesday nights (helloooooo twinkly lights). It is the perfect place to walk around, get exposed to local businesses, and buy fresh produce that isn't from the side of the road.
Cotton District Arts Festival- Usually held on Super Bulldog Weekend, The CDAF is when the entire cotton district shuts down, from the bridge to Stromboli's to host a craft fair. Local artisans, painters, and businesses come out to really give a taste of Stark. Daves Dark Horse even brings their own portable wood-fired pizza oven. Even though there are major crowds, it is worth it. (like YES pet parade) There are also amazing deals to be gotten, I got six hand pressed bath bombs with natural essential oils for like $25! And they were HUGE.
Veranda- This is my absolute favorite place to go in Starkville. The wait staff is almost invisible, but somehow your glass never goes empty. I like to go on a Monday night when I don't have to get dressed up but I can still feel like I fit in. The Cajun Tenders are to DIE FOR, and so is the gorgonzola salad, blackberry margarita, and the creme brulee.
Harvey's- This is like the quintessential date night spot. At first, I was really intimidated by the atmosphere and the fact that it was the only place in town Megan Mullen knew when her husband got the head coaching job, but on a Tuesday night, I got dragged in by my sister and her boyfriend and thank goodness I did. Somehow my shorts and t-shirt didn't feel so out of place. My personal recommendation is the Pimms Cup (21+) and the cajun chicken pasta. SO GOOD. And bonus points for having the table lights be made out of cowbells.