Walking in Memphis

How can I not quote the Marc Cohn song for a blog post about a quick trip to Memphis???  Let’s face it – I’m just that type of geek (yes, I played Billy Joel’s Allentown while driving around Allentown…).  But, back to the trip.  Work has been super busy as of late and I’ve had to do a lot of traveling.  As long as I’m going I figure I might as well take some time to look around.  I’m working with an attorney from Atlanta on this case and he asked if I could meet him in Memphis if I was not adverse to travel.  We have not worked together that long so he did not understand what a funny statement that was!

I had work obligations from the time I landed on Thursday until late Friday afternoon and a plane home Saturday afternoon so I did not have much free time, although, that was probably okay but we’ll get to that later.  I landed at lunchtime and was meeting the attorney for Atlanta and our client who lived in Memphis.  My client was happy to show off the best places to eat when he found out it was my first time in Memphis so we went first to Corky’s BBQ where I ordered BBQ and was served a giant plate of meet with a few fries on the side.  First lesson about Memphis – people have very serious opinions about BBQ.   The natives I met would always ask if I had BBQ yet and when I responded, yes, Corky’s I got a variety of opinions.  Clearly, some people approved and others did not.  I do not think my taste buds are sophisticated enough to know the difference and I enjoyed my plate of meat, even if it was a very heavy lunch for me.  Also, BBQ is a tough first meal with people you are just meeting because I’m pretty sure I was covered in sauce for most of the meal, there’s no avoiding it!

On Friday we headed downtown and the building we were working at was on the edge of the Victorian Village which has many houses that were built in the late 1800’s.  The building we were in was a typical shotgun house and was really narrow and really long.  The owner had done a wonderful job of restoring it and not covering up the original design features.  When we finished up my client gave me a little tour of downtown Memphis, including a stop at the warehouse my client operates (super exciting part of the tour, NOT).  We ended up at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken for lunch so you guessed it – another plate of meat that was messy to eat for lunch!  I would note – while this trip was short it was full of food!  Finally, around 4:00 I had wrapped up all of my work obligations and was able to get out explore a bit.  Second lesson about Memphis – almost everything is a 20 minute drive.

I felt there were a couple of must see places while I was in town.  And, this is where I have to confess, I’m not really a music person.  I enjoy the radio but music is not my thing.  I’m tone deaf, this may have something to do with it.  But, I’m not really interested in sitting in clubs and listening to music so Memphis really was not shaping up to be my kind of town.  I kind of equate it with Austin and New Orleans (also not my cities).  But, first stop was a yarn store.  There happened to be one really close to my hotel.  It was Yarniverse which was very cute.  They had a wide variety of mostly commercially available yarns.  I did not see anything I had not seen at my LYS and definitely nothing I couldn’t live without so I left without making a purchase!  It was still nice to pet some yarn after a long two days of work!

My next stop was Graceland – because I had to right???  I’m definitely not an Elvis person and I have friends who have made pilgrimages down to Memphis just to visit Graceland.  I was happy to discover there was a pull off on the side of the road if you just wanted to peak over the wall and look inside the gates and then carry on with your day.  I was very underwhelmed by the actual mansion.  I’m not sure what I was expecting but I definitely was not expecting a very normal looking large, mansion-style home.  I thought the wall around the property was far more interesting than the actual house.

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I have a friend who went to school in Memphis and she recommended I go to The Local for dinner.  It was in Mid-Town which was a really fun, funky area of town.  It had some cool restaurants and some interesting looking shops.  Dinner was great and then I figured I needed to at least take a drive down Beale Street.  I’ve listened to the song…  I had a feeling I really was not going to want to spend a lot of time there but had to see what it was all about.  Unfortunately, there was an NBA game that night and traffic down in the area was crazy.  Upside to that – more time to check things out.  I finally hit the intersection of Beale and there was no driving down it so I looked both ways and sped away!  But I did see it!  I then drove straight for the river.  It was getting close to sunset time and I knew that would be the place to be.  I found a lovely little riverside park and enjoyed some fresh (very cool) air, peace and space!

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That’s one great river!

Saturday morning I met the daughter of one of my knitting friends who is living in Memphis.  She has a newborn and I was able to check out some of my knitting on the little guy!

I felt I had just enough time in Memphis – there was not much I felt I missed out on.  Things I loved about Memphis – the old antebellum houses and architecture were amazing! and it was pretty easy to get around.  Things I did not love – not really enough to do and the lines between the safe areas and the do not drive in areas were very blurry (pretty sure I saw a drug bust driving from dinner to Beale St.).  I’m sure it’s a great town if you love music and especially blues and soul music and it’s definitely a great town for eating!

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