West TN 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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‘Tis the season to eat Tennessee tomatoes

This is a love story. A sweet, juicy romance between a girl and a tomato. Not just one tomato, but a mess of them. Tomatoes...Read on

Just one segment of Memphis' Broad Avenue mural by French street artist Guillaume Alby (aka REMED). What a way to make-over a warehouse, huh?

(Art) Walking in Memphis

Meet Memphis’ South Main Street and Broad Avenue. They’re not what they used to be. But locals are using that to your advantage, reviving vacant...Read on

The Wolf River Conservancy runs regular floats, paddles and "stream strolls" on west Tennessee's scenic Wolf River. Photo by Wolf River Conservancy.


Heat can be a good thing. It makes peaches sweeter, gives good cover for an ice cream addiction and turns the touch of cool water...Read on

The Peabody Duck March: all the buzz of the red carpet, complete with paparazzi, for free.

Memphis’ Peabody Hotel, VIP-Style

I love everything about playing VIP. Except the price. Luckily for the value-minded traveler in all of us, there’s much to see and do at...Read on

Welcome to Windermere Farms, Tennessee's only certified organic farm west of Jackson.

Love Memphis blues? Try these berries!

Most times I use Memphis and blue in the same conversation, I’m talking music. Or suede shoes. But today, I’m talking berries: organic ones plump...Read on

And here, the line: Come to Jerry's with your cash, sunscreen and patience. The masses agree that the slushy sweetness is worth it. And don't forget to make it supreme.

5 frosty treats to sweeten your west Tennessee summer

I’m Floridian by birth. That makes me an expert on whippin’ some heat. I’ve been caught scream-skipping through the Memphis Zoo geyser with my four-year-old,...Read on

Too Sauced to Pork was busy prepping food and posing for a Travel Channel crew when I wandered into their tent Friday.

Get ‘Sauced’ at Memphis’s World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest

Y’all know I love it when you comment on my blog here at Tennessee TripTales. So when Neil Gallagher, Pit Master of the World Championship...Read on