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
TOUR STAX WITH A MEMPHIS HORN
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How to do Memphis in May 2014: Beale Street Music Fest, World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest & more
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A CHAT WITH DIANA DEGARMO & ACE YOUNG, NOW STARRING IN “JOSEPH” AT THE ORPHEUM MEMPHIS
Y’all know I love hanging out at The Peabody, whether I’m checking in with my favorite Duckmaster or sharing a late-night dessert with my hubby...Read on
Hear The Bo-Keys, Sam Moore & others (for free!) at Stax to the Max
I’ve spent the last few months writing a book – a travel guide to Memphis. My city isn’t like any other city. It’s one you...Read on
OLD & NEW SCHOOL SOUL: 3 MEMPHIS RESTAURANTS THAT’LL FEED YOUR APPETITE & YOUR HEART
There’s a little restaurant in the shadow of FedEx Forum in downtown Memphis that my family frequents: Lunchbox Eats. My husband likes the sporting events...Read on
Memphis’ National Civil Rights Museum reopens April 5 with free events & discounted admission
I talk a lot about the National Civil Rights Museum in this blog. It is, after all, the country’s most visited civil rights museum, with...Read on
Jimmy Ogle’s free guided tours of Memphis begin this month!
We’re coming off of three snow (and ice) days in Memphis, so you can bet spring sounds better than ever to half-thawed me. One of...Read on