“Memphis, TN is your idea of a Holiday Getaway?… I imagine myself swishing down Aspen Mountain, or getting bronzy in Belize”, you may say. For something different I suggest some southern fried dixie hospitality in a city that’s as family friendly as it is good for couples looking for a little romance…ha-cha-cha. My parent’s moved down to Memphis some years ago, and this Yankee girl has been a fan ever since. Nashville may get all the indie cred, but Memphis with all it’s secret nooks is waiting to lure you in. Beale street is pretty touristy, so here is my guide to a fabulous holiday getaway, Memphis style:
There is only one place, and that is The Peabody Hotel.
For some reason the have a line of ducks that parade around the lobby at certain times a day. It’s kooky, it’s doesn’t make sense, but it’s charming none the less.
The Itinerary: The Rendezvous may get a lot of play of their ribs, but I’m honestly not a Memphis BBQ fan (please no hate mail)…I prefer a dry rub thank you very much. I prefer save my calorie count for GUS’S Famous fried chicken. It is amazing…no, really…amazing! I don’t care if you are gluten free, juice at organic avenue and are soul cycle ,brainwashed (okay, okay, I’m talking about me) a belly full of Gus’s and a side of slaw is mandatory. Go to the on front street and near the emerging warehouse district and head over to the Civil Rights Museum for one of the best curated museums I have ever been to in my life. Interactive, and chilling, the museum is connected to the The Lorraine Motel where Marten Luther King was assassinated. The rooms are staged as they were the day he passed.
You Love the Night life? Head to the sultry Mollie Fontaine Lounge in Victorian Village. Sexy bites, great music and a cool speak-easy vibe make this hidden gem a great spot to unwind. It is located in a slightly dodgy part of town, where old Victorian mansions line an otherwise vacant block. Stay “until the spirits sleep”…as the website notes their hours of operation.
Breakfast: Beauty Shop located in the cool Cooper-Young district, which is also a great late night and dinner spot or Arcade for a nostalgic feel. Tis is lighter fair. Graceland is obviously mandatory too. I mean, he designed a room with three televisions in it just because he heard Nixon did the same…. The decor in his home is outrages & the stories on the headsets are fun too. Pick up some souvenirs for that crazy aunt of yours while your at it. Head back to the hotel, rest up because you have dinner waiting for you at Restaurant Iris (rated 25 by Zagats). Located in an adorable old brick house in the historic Overton district. Slow roasted lamb shank with gnocchi, rosemary and turnips and their greens? Yes please! Then do the tourist thing & get a line-up of what’s going on on Beale Street and enjoy some Blues…you are in the land of Delta for goodness sake!
Wake up in the morning and have a light breakfast at the hotel. Then go to The Memphis Rock & Soul Museum which is a music geek’s dream. Sun Records and Stacks is where American music began..in Memphis….go home and download the Stacks Boxset from itunes…if they don’t have it, you can buy it from the museum….and itunes should be shut down. Walk around and visit the art galleries and quirky little boutiques that have opened up in the Warehouse district on Front Street. You should have worked up an appetite by now, so get a slice of something sweet at the MUST GO The Cheesecake Corner (and quiche bar). I never liked cheesecake (12 years of living in New York did not made me a convert)….until I had a slice of the Carrot Cake Cheese Cake at The Cheesecake Corner. The coffee is brewed perfectly strong to combat the sweet heavenly slice of heaven that awaits you. There are several unique and equally delicious flavors to choose from. I wish they shipped, or all my clients would get one as a closing gift! Afterwards, head back to the hotel and get a nice masssage or just relax because you will be heading out to Earnestine and Hazel’s for a strong night of music and rowdy fun (plus bite size burgers that kill it). This place used to be a brothel up until…well, not that long ago! Some of the current employees still remember those days! Upstairs heats up around midnight where there is music and merriment abound.
Then go home and get some sleep…you have an early fight tomorrow morning and hopefully some tales to tell when you get back to New York!