Friday, October 13, 2023

Arriving in Memphis, Tennessee

We arrive in Memphis and check into our hotel downtown, with a great rooftop view of the Mississippi River.  Memphis is the second largest city in Tennessee and the fifth largest in the Southeastern United States.

The first European explorers came to the Memphis area in 1541 and modern Memphis was established in 1819.  With its location on the Mississippi and the nearby cotton plantations, Memphis quickly grew to be, for a while, the largest city in the South in the mid 1800s.  Entering the 20th century, Memphis became one of the largest world markets for cotton and lumber.

We're here for a weekend and start to explore.

Hotel rooftop

Rooftop views

Leaving the hotel, we wander down Main Street, along the trolley tracks and old, updated buildings.

Main Street

Trolley station

A few blocks down Main Street, we come on Beale Street, 1.8 miles (2.9 km) of blues clubs and restaurants, a major tourist attraction in Memphis.  In the mid-1800s, Beale street housed shops of merchants who traded goods with the ships on the nearby Mississippi River.  Travelling musicians would play on the street and, by the early 1800s, clubs, restaurants, and shops emerged as recreational and cultural centers for the blues musicians.  Beale Street fell on hard times in the mid-1900s, but was redeveloped to preserve its history, cultural, and physical presence.  The result is now a major tourist destination.

Beale Street (quiet during the day)

B. B. King Blues Club

Other Beale Street stops

Leaving Beale Street, to return in the evening, we walk over to the Mississippi River and along the water a bit.

View of the Mississippi

We start to wonder where we'll dine tonight, but we do know that we're coming back to Beale Street to hear some blues!

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