A little day trip to Memphis

Todd over- heard our two friends Gail and Pattie talking about a trip they were taking to Memphis. He immediately invited himself. He coyly asked me if we should go. Me- knowing he already confirmed his seat in their car decided to go easy on him- this time. Even though I could mentally scroll through a long to-do list I enthusiastically answered, “YES, let’s do it!”  That is such a rare response from me, I even surprised myself a little. I think I may have pulled a muscle.  So, I just knew it would be a great day.

Our driver, Pattie Howse-Duncan and Gail Strack pulled into the drive around 7 am with our seats prepped with fresh muffins and drinks. True to character the muffins were perfect and delicious! Miss Pattie has recently published her long-awaited southern tale, Letters on the Table (available on Amazon – shameless plug). I could have talked all the way to Memphis and back about this accomplishment, but she is so humble she skillfully steered the car and the conversation to other topics as only a grandmother and former teacher can do. With all the discussion the trip whooshed by.

As soon as we crossed the Mississippi river bridge, we headed to our first antique store. I just love musty smells first thing in the morning!  I purchased some vintage flower arranging holders and a vintage McCoy pot and saucer. Our next stop was Palladio Antiques on Central Avenue. They are masters of mixing old and new into sophisticated home décor. I was so entranced I forgot to take any photographs. The new houseplant shop just down the street from their architectural salvage and garden center was a burst of refreshing greenery on this damp, gray day. I am always impressed and amazed by this group of stores. You must see it for yourself!

Just as we were about to leave, a beautiful book, Florists to the Fieldsitting on a shelf near the Palladio counter caught our eyes – we immediately purchased it. The ladies told us it was from the creators of Garden District, also located in Memphis. That was now our next stop. Garden District co-owners Greg Campbell and Erick New have grown a business endeavor combining an abundance of flowers with their obvious talents. Both their book and shop are simply beautiful and a must-see when visiting Memphis.

We then headed to Collierville, Tennessee. This downtown area was so quaint it almost seemed as if it were a movie studio set. After seeing a December issue of Country Sampler Farmhouse featuring a store named, Southern Farmhouse, we had to visit this main street. Owner Tori Davis greeted us warmly and then seemed to recognize us with, “aren’t you those Park Hill guys?”.  The Southern Farmhouse was refreshing with their bright white painted pine walls accented with soft blue botanicals and denim accent pillows. Tori was gracious to pose for a photo with us. After looking at the resulting picture I thought to myself, there must be a special training class for Southern girls to teach them how to always take a beautiful picture and I, having obviously missed this class, looked like I got up much too early that morning and ate far too  many muffins!

We shopped a few more antique malls before our final stop at Millstone Market and Nursery. My heart always beats a little faster as I open a greenhouse door. The opaque exterior only added to the intrigue of what beauty they hold inside. Fresh Ferns, blooming stephanotis plants and a group of Asian pitcher plants, Nepenthes Ventricosa, hanging in mass tempting me to buy and I did. I could live in a greenhouse and especially the one at Millstone.  Gail purchased a beautiful hummingbird feeder from their lovely shop. Content with our day we were heading home until the normally calm and collected Pattie made a dramatic right hand turn, from the center lane to redirect us to a Trader Joe’s she had spied. It was a good one and crowded as it was the Friday before the Super Bowl. I must say these Memphis women were very serious about their grocery shopping. I was almost tackled in the produce section when I grabbed the last bag of endive! I sidelined myself over in the wine corner to regroup before checking out.

We arrived home just after dark, sorted out our bags and said our good friend good-byes. Todd said, “We need to invite ourselves more often”. Indeed, we do!