New Years in Memphis

New Years in Memphis

The city of Memphis was apparently named after the capital of Egypt. No one knows exactly why. The strange pyramid is less of a mystery. It started as a poorly planned sports arena and was brought back from the ashes in the form of a Bass Pro Shop. It appeared to us to be the only new or modern infrastructure in all of downtown. 

Our hotel was in walking distance of downtown and the Mississippi River. We were able to ride our bikes all over this deserted town on a holiday weekend with very little competition, except from the cold and rain.

We got to town on New Year’s Eve and made a beeline for the famous Beale street. The road was blocked off for pedestrians, which made it all the more apparent that there weren’t many. The historic buildings with inviting store fronts and background sounds of blues music allowed us a glimpse what this famous street must be like on any other New Year’s Eve. We were able to find an Irish pub with widely spaced seating and open doors for ventilation. The best part was they also had dueling pianos! We got to enjoy the sounds of live music for the first time in months. We did talk to some of the staff who lamented the poor turn out. They proudly showed us how in years past the entire outdoor patio would’ve been covered with large tents, live music, and even diving goats! It was obvious that this has been a joyous and raucous celebration in the past, and everyone was hopeful that will be again next year.

One of the highlights of Memphis was Mud Island park. There’s a fantastic 1/2 mile long scaled replica of the Mississippi river in the form of a fountain. It was dug as a trench in full relief, so that you’re able to visualize banks of the river, its twists and turns, the depths… the islands… and the cities that have been built along its shores. This seemed like an architectural and engineering feat! 

One of the most outstanding things about the city of Memphis was the friendliness of its people. Despite the downturn in the economy and the poor turn out for New Year’s Eve, everyone was quick with a smile, an open door, or a brief conversation. The vibrant nature of the city was on display despite the lack of festivities. Elvis was not the only ghost in Memphis this year. We will definitely go back to experience NYE in Memphis. 

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