Diana Lambdin Meyer a RoamRight Blog Author

Enjoying The Best Of Sultry, Sassy Memphis

Explore exciting Memphis, Tennessee, with these great trip ideas.

Photo credit: Bruce N. Meyer

Anchored on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi River in the central U.S. is Memphis, Tennessee, the land of blues and Elvis and barbecue, among other treats. A getaway to Memphis is a sultry, low-key experience, where folks try not to work up a sweat except for when their native son, Justin Timberlake, is in town or when the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies are rocking it on the hard court.

Peabody Hotel

Your getaway must include the Peabody Hotel, whether to enjoy a Four-Star, AAA Diamond getaway in a historic property, or just for the celebrity watching in the lobby. The commotion starts just before 11 a.m., as hotel guests and visitors gather around the marble fountain and the bar is busy with orders for Bloody Marys.  One of the elevators is roped off and a red carpet extends from the elevator to the fountain. The excitement is palpable as people ready their cameras and jockey for a better position.

Then right on time, the elevator doors open and out comes the celebrities everyone is waiting for – five mallard ducks who waddle their way to the fountain, up a carpeted stairway and splash down for a day of play.

And that’s it folks, the show is over until 5 p.m. when the ducks return to their rooftop palace for a nice evening out of the spotlight their celebrity brings them.

They’ve been parading ducks through the lobby of this historic hotel for more than 80 years and nearly every day is the same – a lobby filled with people speaking a dozen or more languages who have come from around the world and across the country to see these magnificent ducks.  If it’s your birthday or another special occasion, check out the opportunities to be Duck Master for a Day!

Beale Street

The Peabody is located about three blocks from the famous Beale Street, in its heyday, the hottest spot in the city to catch the rich, soulful sound of blues floating through the air. B.B. King’s and the Rum Boogie Café are today’s hot spots. There are some great restaurants serving soul food, but also make time to visit A. Schwab, a funky old mercantile store that’s reveled in the Beale Street mojo since 1876. This is the only original business left on Beale Street.

You’ll find a mish-mash of everything for sale on the two stories here and that’s part of the fun. There’s vintage clothing and old-fashioned candies, along with an old-fashioned soda fountain. The soap collection is pretty rare and apparently includes several lines that Mr. Schwab personally enjoyed.

Stax Museum

Music fans also come to Memphis for the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in the middle of a neighborhood that brought the world Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and Booker T. & the MG’s, among others. 

It is a neighborhood that defied racial barriers in a time when those barriers were as electrified as any place in the country. White and black musicians performed together creating an original sound that knew no boundaries or barriers. Color didn’t matter. See Isaac Hayes’ gold plated Cadillac, dance to episodes of Soul Train, and learn how it all came to an end when Martin Luther King was assassinated just a few blocks away.

National Civil Rights Museum

And if for no other reason, go to Memphis for the National Civil Rights Museum and the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King lost his life to hatred and bigotry.  Stand in the room that James Earl Ray rented and look across the block at room Room 306. And then follow the efforts of law enforcement officers from around the world who helped bring the assassin to justice.

The museum includes city busses from Montgomery, Alabama, and lunch counters from throughout the city. If you are too young to remember why those items are important for a museum on Civil Rights, then you are blessed to be living in a better time, in large part because of the sacrifices made by Martin Luther King and others and what happened on the streets of Memphis.

Go there and pay your respects.

What interests you most about Memphis?

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About the Author

Diana Lambdin Meyer

Diana Lambdin Meyer, a RoamRight Blog Author A Midwest farm girl at heart, Diana Lambdin Meyer caught the roaming bug early in life. Diana married well - to a photographer who also has the travel bug and whose work in still and video complements her words. Now based in the Kansas City area, Diana is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers who makes a full-time living on the road and at the keyboard. Read about Diana's adventures on her blog, Mojotraveler or follow her on Twitter or Google Plus.

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