West TN Writer
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
Commemorate Fort Donelson’s 152nd Anniversary with historian Kendall Gott, interpreters & memorials
Fort Donelson has many stories to tell. (My fellow blogger Vernon Summerlin recaps some nicely here, but if you only have time for the headlines,...Read on
Wicked and The Book of Mormon Coming Soon to Memphis’ Historic Orpheum Theatre
Rollick far enough west on Beale Street and you’ll meet the Orpheum Theatre. It might at first seem an unlikely neighbor to Beale’s close-packed kaleidoscope of...Read on
Plan a Farm Stay or B&B Getaway in West Tennessee
My husband and I once made a pact to stay in bed-and-breakfasts as much as possible when we traveled. Then we became parents. Bed-and-breakfasts didn’t...Read on
Start celebrating Black History Month in Memphis now with MLK Day, step Afrika! & Black Violin
Black History Month officially begins in February, but Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday this month provides a prelude. In Memphis, start with a weekend...Read on
Commemorate Civil War History at Land Between the Lakes this February
Susan “Ski” Witzofsky isn’t strictly a historian. No – she changed her major from history to health and physical education as a student at Austin...Read on
Celebrate Eagle Season at Reelfoot Lake
I never imagined Reelfoot Lake could look prettier than when I visited last fall. Then I saw photos like this one, taken inside Reelfoot Lake State...Read on
SPACE & FLIGHT MONTH LAUNCHES THIS JANUARY AT DISCOVERY PARK OF AMERICA
Remember when I took you inside Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tennessee, for the first time? There was so much to tell you,...Read on