Samantha Crespo


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 Samantha

read all
The group Madison Avenue performs at Music Highway Crossroads inside Casey Jones Village in Jackson, Tennessee.

Find Providence, Live Music at Casey Jones Village

When I say that there are several new things to see and do at Casey Jones Village in Jackson, don’t take me too literally. The...Read on

How could you not love these faces?

Bonnie Blue Farm Brings Divine Cheese to Tennessee

This is the story that almost didn’t happen. For as I was researching it, a goat tried to eat my notes. I don’t believe Princess...Read on

Just try to resist barreling down these slides at Shelby Farms Park's Woodland Discovery Playground. The arcs you see in the background are part of the arbor, its trees and vines still coming in,  that winds through the playground's various segments, Photo by Shelby Farms Park Conservancy.

Choose your own adventure at Memphis’ Shelby Farms Park

My husband and I have been known to turn date night on its head. No offense to candlelight and rom coms, but who needs ’em...Read on

Hear singer/songwriter Kate Campbell at this weekend's Memphis Music and Heritage Festival.

Labor Day Lowdown: The Memphis Music & Heritage Festival and More

If you fell from the sky and were lucky enough to land on the corner of South Main and Beale in downtown Memphis, your senses...Read on

My first trip to Graceland, I found this message on a gift shop marquee.

Celebrate Elvis this week…and beyond

I was born the year Elvis died. I knew him through my mom and the movie marathons that ran on TV every year around his...Read on


‘Tis the season to eat Tennessee tomatoes

This is a love story. A sweet, juicy romance between a girl and a tomato. Not just one tomato, but a mess of them. Tomatoes...Read on

Just one segment of Memphis' Broad Avenue mural by French street artist Guillaume Alby (aka REMED). What a way to make-over a warehouse, huh?

(Art) Walking in Memphis

Meet Memphis’ South Main Street and Broad Avenue. They’re not what they used to be. But locals are using that to your advantage, reviving vacant...Read on