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

read all
Do you have what it takes to be a Gibson tester? Photo by Andrea Zucker Copyright © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Rock On: Inside Memphis Guitar Factories

Over the life of my blog, we’ve ventured into Memphis music studios, shrines and stages. Today, let’s add another dimension to the Memphis music experience:...Read on

Caption goes here

Walk Memphis with Jimmy Ogle

Any stroll with Jimmy Ogle is brisk. At 60 years old, he sets a quick pace for his walking tours – I even saw him...Read on

Grab a bag (or cup) of J. Brooks Coffee Roasters' Spirit of Memphis at the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market. (And if they have it, pick up some of their Bootleg beans. The stuff powers my most productive days.) Photo by Hannah Sayle.

Warm up with West Tennessee’s Best in Coffee & Dessert

Rhythm with blues; bluffs with views – some things just go together, don’t they? Like coffee and dessert. There’s no questioning West Tennessee’s loyalty to...Read on

Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum

Meet the Memphis Railroad & Trolley Museum

In 1899, seven rail stations chugged passengers in and out of Memphis. Time has whittled that number to one. But it’s an active one: Seven...Read on

You won't leave Stillwaters Farm without making new friends.

Shop, play & stay at Stillwaters Farm

Lest the goats get a bad reputation, let me tell you about the first time an animal tried eating my notes during a research trip...Read on

Bald cypress trees in fall at Reelfoot Lake State Park.

Rare hikes & paddles at Reelfoot Lake state park this fall

When we planned our late-September camping trip to Reelfoot Lake State Park (near Tiptonville in northwest Tennessee), our timing seemed off. It wasn’t fall enough...Read on

Just try to resist barreling down these slides at Shelby Farms Park's Woodland Discovery Playground. The arcs you see in the background are part of the arbor, its trees and vines still coming in,  that winds through the playground's various segments, Photo by Shelby Farms Park Conservancy.

Choose your own adventure at Memphis’ Shelby Farms Park

My husband and I have been known to turn date night on its head. No offense to candlelight and rom coms, but who needs ’em...Read on