Memphis just looks better from the passenger window of a 1955 Cadillac. That’s as good a reason as any to call Tad Pierson for one of his American Dream Safari (901/527-8870, www.americandreamsafari.com) tours of Memphis.
Pierson offers tours with a difference—he does not just do sightseeing, he promises experiences and memories for his guests. His tours include juke joints of Memphis, gospel churches, a Mississippi Delta day trip, a special tour for photographers, plus much more. Pierson really gets the unique appeal of Memphis, and he wants to share it with his guests.
Music fans should sign up for one of Sherman Wilmott’s Memphis Rock ’n Roll Tours (901/359-3102, http://shangrilaprojects.com), customized musical tours of Memphis. He will pick you up at any Memphis hotel and then whisk you away to some of the city’s best- and least-known musical sites, such as the past and present locations of Memphis recording studios, radio stations, record stores, and even musicians’ homes.
He is a fountain of music lore. If you have a special interest, speak up: Chances are that Sherman can fix you up. A former curator at the Stax museum and publisher of the Kreature Comforts Low-Life Guide to Memphis, Sherman recently started a partnership with Wayne Jackson of the famed Memphis Horns, who will ride along on special tours and tell firsthand stories of Memphis’s musical history.
Music-themed tours are also the specialty at Backbeat Tours (901/272-2328, www.backbeattours.com, $25–40). You will travel on a reconditioned 1959 transit bus and be serenaded by live musicians. Tours include the Memphis Mojo Tour, which takes you to Memphis music landmarks like Sun Studio and the Stax Museum, and the Hound Dog tour, which follows in Elvis Presley’s Memphis footsteps.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition