Northern Mississippi turns back time

Retiring in the rolling hills of Northern Mississippi is like taking a step back in time. If you grew up in a small town in the 50s or 60s, chances are that you had a neighborhood with people who always greeted you, watched out for you and came together to celebrate important milestones in everybody’s life.

That’s the way things are in the small towns of Oxford, Southhaven, Tupelo, Booneville and Corinth.

A common comment in the North is “they’re still fighting the Civil War down there” in Mississippi. And, don’t be surprised to see Rebel Battle Flags still waving in some rural quarters in this region. Mississippi played a major role in the Civil War and there are still plenty of people who relive battles at reenactment events in the area. The area is relatively poor still, so you have to hunt a little to find the accoutrements, art and goods you would find easily in, say, Chicago.

Once you get to know the area, however, you’ll find a relaxed way of life. Time goes slower in Northern Mississippi. Come get to know people, spend some time in the region and you’ll find genuine, friendly, helpful, well-informed people who will welcome you.

Mississippi offers a homestead exemption for 65+ homeowners and does not tax retirement income. Housing prices in this region have an average range of $85,000 to $100,000. 

*Oxford (pop. 12,600) is a small town that swells to accommodate the 10,000 or so students at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) each fall. Known nationally as the home of the late authors, William Faulkner and Willie Morris, and one-time home to best-selling author John Grisham, Oxford is the region’s intellectural and creative center.

*Corinth (pop. 14,200) was the site of the major Battle of Corinth at Shiloh during the Civil War. There are still lots of signs of war memories in this town.

Nearby 41,000 acre Lake Pickwick on the Tennessee River is a wonderful recreational lake. Corinth is full of festivals, community events and friendly folks and is worth a look.

*Southhaven (pop. 29,000) is just a few miles south of Memphis, where you can enjoy big-city entertainment, healthcare and dining.  There are lakes, regional college campuses, festivals and great regional healthcare. Just 30-minutes away is Tunica, which is home to a number of casinos and has become a gaming/entertainment destination.

*Tupelo (pop. 34,000) is known as the birthplace of Elvis Pressley and the site of two major Civil War battles. Just a few miles down the road from Oxford and Ole Miss, Tupelo is a progressive town with a burgeoning arts and medical community. And, of course, there are lots of outdoor activities in the region.

Booneville (pop. 8,500) and Aberdeen (pop. 6,500) are two other towns with plenty of friendly people, regional history and outdoors recreation. Move to one of these towns and you’ll be on a first name basis with everybody before you know it.

In the Southern sector of this region are the towns of Columbus (pop. 30,000), Starkville (pop. 22,000) and West Point (12,000). Columbus (Mississippi University for Women) and Starkville (Mississippi State University) are both college towns that host many sports, cultural and recreational events.

In addition, Columbus Air Force Base hosts 6,200 personnel and family and brings people in from around the world, including military retirees.

Westpoint is a traditional small town where people know your name and speak to you whether they know you or not.

A conservative, patriotic, religious theme runs through Columbus, Starkville and West Point. People who live here generally have traditional values, appreciate small town living and enjoy outdoor activities. There are parks, great golf, festivals, lake recreation and a relaxed lifestyle in these three retirement spots.