The little town of New Albany is already well known for shopping at the many boutique stores that line Bankhead Street. This can be validated by the multitude of out-of-county cars that line the street every Saturday. We have a number of antiques stores, some in which you can purchase very nice vintage pieces and others where the goods cater more to the do-it-yourselfers. Our Sportsplex is home to ten baseball and softball fields, two soccer fields, a splash pad, and ten newly constructed tennis courts. The Sportsplex is also home base to the Cotton State Baseball League – North division, where 20-22 scheduled games are played in June and July.
Covering a Saturday morning in New Albany seemed like a pretty straight-forward assignment as there is always something readily available to do around my adopted hometown. However, I decided to take a different, less comfortable approach with the idea that New Albany had more to offer than what I was accustomed to. I’m glad I did. One Saturday morning, I decided to wake my wife and son early and trek out in search of the “new to us”.
We rolled out of bed around 6:30 a.m., with our first stop being the “Biscuits & Jam” farmers market which takes place every Saturday morning during the growing season from 7 until 10 a.m. If you arrive early enough, you’ll be treated to free biscuits and… well… jam. You can’t go wrong with that combination. Also, hit them up for some High Point Coffee, which is roasted locally. The market boasts around 20 vendors peddling their wares and is located off Bankhead Street just outside the downtown stretch along the Tallahatchie River. Aside from the fresh produce on hand, there are also booths dedicated to homemade jams, cookies, pastries, tamales, snow cones, and even plants, shrubs, and trees. Need some organic milk from a local dairy? They have that too, as milk from Brown Dairy Farm is available for purchase.
The last booth we visited at the market belonged to The Coffee Addict, a local coffee shop which is located on the main downtown stretch. Their wares consisted of coffee (of course), pastries, iced lattes, and sweet tea. Matt Nichols was running the booth and I was later informed that he and his wife are co-owners of the shop. We struck up a light conversation and he mentioned the fact their shop didn’t just serve coffee, but a full breakfast/brunch menu. I love me some breakfast, so our next stop was an easy one.
I had walked past The Coffee Addict a hundred times never realizing they served a robust breakfast. I ordered the “Undecided” which consisted of bacon, hash browns, eggs to order, gravy and biscuit and the thickest pancakes I have eaten in quite some time. The meal was delicious. I also indulged in a white chocolate mocha which was very good in its own right. So, a great meal and great drinks.
Our next stop had us visiting the past, as we toured the Union County Heritage Museum. The museum is located at 114 Cleveland Street, a hop, skip, and a jump away from the downtown area. Their hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission: Free (but I highly recommend a donation). My kids had visited the museum before on school field trips, but I had honestly never had the inclination to visit. The building that houses the museum isn’t very large (by museum standards), so I initially thought we were in for a let down. However, upon walking through the door, I realized this place was going to have some really cool stuff.
The museum has a number of displays in the main building ranging from WWII and Vietnam military gear, locally discovered ancient animal bones, William Faulkner items, and other sundries from Union County’s past. Outside, you’ll find yesteryear establishments that include a doctor’s office, general store, jail, feed store, and one room schoolhouse. The Faulkner Garden, which was established by the New Albany Garden Club, was created to increase appreciation for Faulkner’s use of local plants in his prose.
My personal favorite item at the museum is an old Brownie Scout dedication sign/plaque that once sat in front of the old Mattie Thompson Middle School. My mother was a member of that troop and her name is still legible on the plaque.
We finished the museum and headed out for lunch. I know I said we were in search of the new, but we stuck with an old faithful for our mid-day grub. If you have never been to or tried a Latham’s burger, I highly suggest you at least give it a shot. I have been eating them since I was a child and always love the treat of taking my kids there. My recommendation? Get the egg-burger as it comes (mustard, pickle, onion), and tell Mr. Wally that Mr. I sent you.
Story and photos by Ian Foster