Your Guide to New Year’s Eve in Memphis and West Tennessee
There was a time when the approach of December 31 sent me into a tizzy planning giddy, glittery nights out.
These days, I’m content celebrating in broken-in pajamas; surrounded by my man, my five-year-old and my dog; counting down beneath a silent, starry sky.
So for every style – from laidback to luxe – I suggest my favorite New Year’s Eve possibilities throughout West Tennessee:
Laidback by the Lake
While our RV is in hibernation, how fun would it be to reminisce about our camping adventures of 2012 – and make a bucket list for 2013 – inside a Tennessee state park? In West Tennessee, Paris Landing or Pickwick Landing would be just right: Both parks invite you to hike, fish, golf or do nothing but watch the water, and each operates an inn and restaurant. At Paris Landing (in the northwest Tennessee town of Buchanan), the New Year’s Eve package includes a dinner buffet, one night at the inn – where all rooms feature balconies with a view to Kentucky Lake – and a breakfast buffet (purchase tickets for the New Year’s Eve dance with entertainment by Syndicate of Soul separately).
At Pickwick Landing (about two hours east of Memphis), the New Year’s Eve package includes dinner and two drinks followed by a cash bar, live music by Magi, a midnight toast, one night at the inn – here, with a view of Pickwick Lake – and a morning-after breakfast. Contact each park for details and ticketing information: 731-689-3129 for Pickwick; 731-641-4465 for Paris Landing.
Memphis’ Beale Street, in all of its neon glory, embraces New Year’s Eve like an old friend. Warm up for the midnight guitar drop by hopping between the street’s restaurants and clubs and catching any of the 13 bands lined up to play at the base of the guitar drop (where Rufus Thomas meets Beale). The concerts and guitar drop are free and open to the public, but plan accordingly: The Beale Street Merchants Association expects crowds of up to 50,000 people, and ID checks will begin at an unspecified time during the night, at which point entrants to Beale Street must be 21 or up. For $10, make the street’s Hard Rock Café your New Year’s Eve headquarters – you’ll get the best view of the bands and guitar drop, plus a champagne toast to accompany it. Details here.
For an upscale take on downtown Memphis, reserve one of these haute tickets:
New Year’s Eve exaggerates The Peabody’s see-and-be-seen swagger, culminating in a party with entertainment by Lord T & Eloise and a VIP Lounge option. Make a night of it by starting with a three-course dinner at The Peabody’s Capriccio Grill (901-529-4199 for reservations) or the hotel’s signature Chez Philippe, a classical French dining room where the New Year’s Eve menu includes golden champagne raspberry sorbet and a milk chocolate tower called the “Sweet Chocolate New Year” (901-529-4188 for reservations). Dinner guests are invited to the hotel’s New Year’s Eve party at a special rate. Purchase party tickets through the hotel website or call 901-529-4000 for more information.
The Madison Hotel nearby is a boutique-luxe property that’s piqued the attention of Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure. I love how the property asserts a contemporary style inside its 1905 shell, and spoils guests with goodies like Italian linens and restaurant eighty3, where global influences are interpreted via local ingredients onto artful small and large plates. The Madison’s New Year’s Eve packages includes an overnight stay (two-night minimum) and dinner at eighty3. As cosmopolitan as the menu promises to be, eighty3 hasn’t forgotten its Southern roots: New Year’s Eve guests may select butter-poached sea bass, served on a white chocolate and champagne buerre blanc, and accompanied by black-eyed pea succotash. (My mama’s going to like reading that. It wasn’t New Year’s Day growing up in our house unless we were shoveling in black-eyed peas – each bite full of promise for prosperity in the year to come.) What’s your plan for welcoming 2013 in Tennessee?