Chattanooga, East TN, Knoxville, Memphis, Middle TN, Nashville, Tri-Cities, 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
Road Trip Revival: Explore Tennessee’s Trails & Byways
I’m nostalgic for the road trips of my childhood: Mountainous chugs painted by fiery leaves and the Smokies of East Tennessee. Car-sickness cured by a...Read on
Keeping up with The Killer: My interview with Jerry Lee Lewis
At a stage and age where he could watch Turner Classic Movies in his pajamas all day, Jerry Lee Lewis keeps on killing it. He’ll...Read on
GET READY TO CELEBRATE THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF ROCK-AND-ROLL
July 5, 1954: Elvis Presley records his first record, “That’s All Right”/”Blue Moon of Kentucky,” at Memphis’ Sun Studio. Three days later, Dewey Phillips plays...Read on
This summer in West Tennessee state parks: canoe & pontoon tours, fireworks & more
It’s easy to enjoy Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park in spring, when dawn and dusk are cool, and days fill with the colors of everything in...Read on
Steve Cropper, Vaneese Thomas & others to perform free concerts this summer in Memphis
Last week, I discovered my feel-good moment of summer. Discover it for yourself Monday and Friday afternoons at B.B. King’s Blues Club on Beale Street, 12:30-4:30 p.m., when the...Read on
Summer vacay, West Tennessee-style
We’re two weekends into my daughter’s summer vacation, and we’re already hitting it hard. Already, we’ve: Opened the H2Oh! Splash Park at the Children’s Museum...Read on
OUTSIDE & ON STAGE IN WEST TENNESSEE
This is my favorite time of year in Memphis because it’s spring, and warming, and blooming. And because that means concerts have returned to the...Read on