Tupelo: A Love Letter
Well Ain't This Place a Real Geographical Oddity
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When I think of Tupelo, I think of the scene from O’Brother Where Art Thou in which George Clooney’s character says, “Well ain’t this place a geographical oddity.”
And they weren’t too far away when they filmed that movie.
The city’s population hovers around 35,000, but it has the amenities of a much larger city despite being located in the middle of nowhere.
The Capitol of Nowhere
If “The Middle of Nowhere” is a state, Tupelo is the state capital.
It’s where Red Bay, Alabama; West Point, Mississippi; and Selmer, Tennessee folks come to shop or attend Luke Bryan concerts.
As the capital of nowhere, it has that big-city feel at a small-town pace. Ok, so maybe that medium-city feel.
Tupelo the Muse
Traveling the country, it seems like everyone knows someone from Tupelo. And it’s got to be the most sung about city by population size. Everyone from Elton John and Conway Twitty to Taylor Swift and Jason Isbell namedrops our little town in a song.
The restaurant scene is better than in any other city with 30,000 residents. Heck, it can go toe-to-toe with cities five times its size.
The Tupelo Spirit
But the real thing that makes Tupelo special is its people. There’s something folks around the region call the Tupelo Spirit, which is a communal determination to make things better. The strength of that spirit ebbs and flows, and new generations replace old, but the city’s history is filled with examples.
When you’re here, it feels small enough that anyone can contribute and big enough that those contributions make an impact.
The best part is, it’s only a two- or a three-hour drive from just about anywhere in the Southeast, so next time you’re traveling, stop by for the nation’s best homemade blueberry donuts, some casual Elvis tourism, and the nation’s best burger.