Memphis, West TN Writer

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
Starting our three-mile hike along the park's Woodland Trail, we were surrounded by red buckeye and sweet-scented wild blue phlox.

Exploring Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park

Twenty-nine minutes. That’s all it took to drive from my house, RV in tow, to Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park. You don’t expect to arrive at...Read on

Dixon Gallery & Gardens, after-hours

Family Days & Date Nights at Memphis Museums

Fact: I love visiting museums. Fact: I have a four-year-old. These realities can clash. Memphis museums do a nice job of making sure they don’t....Read on

Tyrannosaurus Rex towers over you and its Triceratops prey at the Memphis Zoo.

Dig This, Mom & Dad: Prehistoric Play in Memphis

If you live in or are visiting Memphis with children, you know (or should know) that dinosaurs are all the, er, roar these days. They’re...Read on

The Cotton Museum, Memphis, Tennessee

Three Ways To Do Downtown Memphis

One of my favorite ways to spend a day in Memphis is to drive downtown, park the car and walk wherever my mood (or my...Read on


Dirt Road Drifting in West Tennessee

I’ve only been a Tennessean for two years. Before that, I was just a Floridian who wanted to be a Tennessean. I sang to Dolly...Read on