I’m Samantha Crespo, and I am Floridian by birth, Tennessean by heart. Growing up, I vacationed in East Tennessee, so I committed forested hikes and hidden waterfalls to memory. My Southern-bred mama biased my palate toward black-eyed peas and cornbread at an early age. And, the music! I always did have an ear for Dolly.
I’m lucky enough to live in my dream state now; 2012 marks the beginning of my third year in Memphis. Some of my favorite things about my Tennessee hometown are kicking around its galleries and gardens, traveling to outlying farms (pick-your-own peaches, in particular), discovering the region’s wilds and waters on my family’s RV and boat, and listening to live music in my neighborhood. Through my blog about West Tennessee, you get to come with me. Are you ready for a West Tennessee adventure?
Describe your perfect Tennessee day.
It starts slow, over the latest Southern Living and a mocha from Otherlands Coffee Bar in Memphis’ Cooper-Young District. It’s warm (my perfect day, remember?), so I pile peaches and tomatoes into a basket at the area farmers market, then join my family at Dixon Gallery and Gardens for a stroll abloom and some family studio time. Later, we walk from our home to historic Overton Park and its Old Forest Trail, where we laugh as we turn fallen trees into balance beams. By nightfall, I’m relishing the farm-to-table goodness of Trolley Stop Market before hitting my neighborhood dive, the Hi-Tone Cafe, to rock along to my favorite Memphis band, Lucero.
Where’s the first place you’d take a friend visiting Tennessee?
Sun Studio, where the tour guides are devoted to the music (and often have the hair to prove it). I love witnessing the aha on friends’ faces when the guides tell their tales, like the one forever connecting the studio and Ike Turner to the “invention” of guitar distortion. Even better, I like watching friends react when they find themselves in Sun’s shoebox of a recording room, sagging ceiling above, knicked-up floor below, and betting who’ll be first to start jittering when the guide cues “That’s All Right.” The tour literally lays a beat down that sticks with you the rest of your time in Memphis, and long after you’ve returned home.
If you could meet one historical Tennessean, who would it be and why? (This can be someone still living.)
There’s a part of me that craves sitting on a garden bench with Rachel Jackson (Andrew Jackson’s beloved), to hear her side of that legendary love story. But, in all honesty, I’d just about explode if Dolly Parton invited me over for a tour of her wardrobe and a sing-along. Seriously, Dolly, if you’re reading this, I’ve loved you since I was a little girl. Let’s get together!
Stories By Samantharead all
Q&A With Will Tucker of B.B. King’s Blues Club on Beale Street
I first “met” Will Tucker last summer. I was writing the music feature for the state vacation guide and my editor sent me a few...Read on
12 Days of Shopping in and Around Memphis
I don’t need an occasion to shop, but I’ve heard that such people exist. Others don’t know where to look (if this is you, I’ve...Read on
Unwrap Memphis: Here’s the Scoop on West Tennessee’s Holiday Happenings
Yes, I’m already planning for the holidays. Not the shopping part – the festivity part. I’m a sucker for the tree lightings, the caroling, the...Read on
1830′s Magevney House Re-Opens for Tours in Memphis
This is the story of a house. As with most houses, its story holds more than “good bones” and cozy interiors. It’s the story of...Read on
Discovery Park of America Opens This November in West Tennessee!
Last week, I attended a sneak preview of Discovery Park of America, scheduled to open Nov. 1, 2013 in Union City, Tennessee. (From Memphis, it’s...Read on
A chat with a music legend + new exhibits at Stax
What are you doing Saturday afternoon? Want to dance with me over to Memphis’ Stax Museum of American Soul Music? (Yes, that’s the museum I...Read on
Follow this 2013 Memphis Music Hall of Fame Itinerary
The second class of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame (#MMHOF) will be inducted Nov. 7, 2013. You can attend – the induction ceremony is scheduled...Read on