Memphis 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

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Stax the museum turned 10 this year.

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The thoroughly-Memphis super-group that is the Bluff City Backsliders will play the city's Oktoberfest. Too, there will be beer. Photo courtesy of the Bluff City Backsliders.

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Photo courtesy of Overton Park Conservancy.

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2013 marks the 26th Annual Cooper-Young Festival. Photo by Andrea Zucker. Copyright © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Your Guide to Exploring Memphis’ Cooper-Young Neighborhood

NOW is a good time to be in Memphis. Districts like Overton Square, Crosstown and Broad Avenue are mid-resurgence. It’s hard not to see the...Read on

Standing under the gazebo, you can see straight through to the shops (to the west, north and east) and to the railroad tracks both active and inactive (to the north).


Remember when I took you to Collierville this spring? “Whispers of Collierville date to 1835, though it’s not until 1852 – when the Memphis-Charleston Railroad...Read on

Inside my quiet respite, the herb garden.

Mix gardens, wine, markets & music in West Tennessee

With worm holes and spider webs to crawl, forts to construct and engineered rain showers (complete with a thunderous soundtrack), “My Big Backyard” inside Memphis...Read on

Set in Memphis’ historic Overton Park, the Brooks Museum of Art is the region’s oldest and largest museum, featuring changing exhibits alongside a permanent collection of paintings, prints and sculptures representing the 13th through the 20th centuries. Photo by Baxter Buck. Copyright © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Celebrate the Art of Carroll Cloar in Memphis

Like the river or the music, some things become part of your fabric when you live in Memphis. Carroll Cloar is one of those things....Read on