Books |  March 2015

From sparkling city sights to beaten country roads, our region is loaded with beautiful scenery and unique experiences, making it effortless to plan the perfect weekend getaway right in your own backyard.  If the bright lights of our beloved city pique your interest, Memphis holds countless distinctive attractions, many of which are little known even to the most seasoned locals. Those with a longing for the pure air of bucolic countryside will find that Mississippi is a veritable treasure chest of possibilities. 

 

If exploring the region is on your agenda this spring, our March reading picks are the perfect place to start for fresh takes and creative ideas for enjoying all that the MidSouth has to offer.

 

100 Things to Do in Memphis Before You Die by Samantha Crespo

Whether you have lived in Memphis your entire life or are visiting for the first time this year, the suggestions in 100 Things to Do in Memphis Before You Die are sure to be invaluable for finding the ideal activities for getting to know this many layered city. An expert on travel in the area, author Samantha Crespo digs deep to provide readers with the best Memphis-centered activities. From the best barbeque spots and craft beers around to festivals, museums, Italian ice and more, this book leaves no stone unturned in terms of Memphis fun for the whole family. Bringing the kiddos on your trip? Crespo has you covered with suggestions for children’s museums and guided tours sure to familiarize your family with the city’s history. State parks and botanic gardens also make the list and, fittingly, live music is woven into the Memphis bucket list, as well.

 

“What makes this book unique is that it is as much for visitors as it is for locals,” says Crespo. “The attractions that drive visitors to Memphis are all here — Graceland, Beale Street, and the Mississippi River — but with lesser-known experiences sprinkled in. So whether you’re the out-of-towner I meet at Sun Studio who asks me what to do next, or my neighbor who confesses what she’s always wanted to do in town but never gotten around to, these are my recommendations, plus insider interviews and my personal tips for best experiencing them.”

 

Country Stores of Mississippi by June Davis Davidson

If it is a trip back in time that you are craving this spring, look no further than Country Stores of Mississippi, where author June Davis Davidson uncovers the area’s remaining gems of yesteryear. Much more than a lighthearted tour of Mississippi’s forgotten general stores, this book uncovers the state’s rich history in great detail while also incorporating the fun of front porches and roasting peanuts, which are two of the hallmarks of these old stores’ legacies.  The relics remaining on the shelves of many of these forgotten stores tell the tales of communities that once thrived with activity in a time long gone. While some of the country stores explored here are long-since abandoned, others have been preserved in special ways. For instance, some have been turned into music halls, museums, shops and more to serve their modern-day communities. Each store has its own unique history and place in Mississippi’s past. Some remain vital, while Davidson finds others dilapidated. She also recounts the captivating story of the state’s oldest store, Wagner’s General Store at Church Hill, which was built in 1834.

 

She shares the ways in which these stores were the foundations of their small towns. “In rural communities, other than church and Sunday dinners, the general store was the meeting place to socialize,” she writes. One such rural store is Becton’s General Store located in the Carmichael community. It has been serving this area for over one hundred years, she notes. The book includes many black and white photographs and detailed information on the location of each country store for those looking to make their own journey to these important and antiquated historical landmarks. 

 

The Beaten Path

 

Regional exploration and adventures abound in this pair of Southern travel guides

 

Story by  Shana Raley-Lusk

 

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