family fun day: being a tourist for the day

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Friday afternoon, my sister made an impromptu trip down to visit my brothers and I.  We have always had an extremely close family, and I love it when we have siblings weekend – just all of us together laughing, playing, being a family.

Yesterday just so happened to be Downtown Museum Day, and as Tennessee residents we got free or discounted admission to many downtown Museums.  We decided to take advantage and be tourists for the day.  I didn’t think that I could love being Memphian more than I did before yesterday, but now I know that me and Memphis have something special. I’m in love – like the for life kind.

First, we went to Sun Studios.  In the 12 years I have lived in Memphis, Sun was one of the important landmarks that I just hadn’t gotten to yet.  It was awesome. Yes, I know I am a music nerd, but still.  To stand where legends like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash recorded their first singles, gives me chills.  The tour is pretty simple, just one room of artifacts upstairs, then into the recording studio we went.  The best part of the Sun Studios tour are the tour guides.  These folks obviously love their job and respect the importance of the music and the history that was created there.  Our guide was super awesome.  I just wish I had cash on hand for a bigger tip.  PRO TIP: Bring cash for tipping tour guides at Sun.

Next we headed to the Stax Museum.  Now, I have been to Stax several times.  I cannot get enough of this museum.  The Stax Museum isn’t huge, but I could spend hours there.  Every time I visit I remember a recording that I forgot was recorded there – Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Booker T & the MG’s, the Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Isaac Hays. Shall I go on?  I dare you not to shake your groove thing on the disco dance floor at Stax.  My favorite part of our visit? As if on cue, each of us siblings, disco danced across the small dance floor without care. I love being a Mauck.

Next, we headed down Crump to the National Ornamental Metal Museum.  The Metal Museum might have my favorite view of my Old Man River, so I always jump at the chance to visit.  At 2:30 p.m. we went to a blacksmith demonstration and watched a pro turn a square rod of iron into a beautiful hook – all with only heat and a hammer.  Then we headed over to see a bronze pouring demonstration.  So amazing to see the beautiful art that can be created with metals.  I love walking around the sculpture garden and finding the hidden treasures tucked away.

With tired feet, we headed over to South of Beale for an early dinner to end our day.  I hadn’t been there is several months, and I was excited to see their new menu (or at least new to me).  It was overcast yesterday but pleasant, so we sat on the patio for some cocktails and appetizers (cheese plate and homemade chips and avocado dip) for predinner while waiting for some other folks to arrive for dinner.

Just as my sister-in-law and her brother arrived, the sprinkling started to pick up and we decided to move our party inside for dinner.  I enjoyed a lovely asparagus and blue cheese risotto. It was nice and creamy and not to blue cheesy – just gave a hint of tang at the end of the bite.  Becky chose the duck patty melt. Yes, Duck Patty Melt. Topped with smoked gouda and stewed oranges, it was the perfect duck a l’Orange remix.  The duck burger was tender with a hint of sweetness and the stewed oranges were a perfect combination.  The brothers both had the open-face sausage sandwich with a rabbit sausage.  I didn’t get a chance to try it, but my brother Sam said it had good flavor and the rabbit didn’t have a gamey flavor at all.

All in all.  We had a long but very fun day.  We should all get out there and reconnect with our city by visiting places we’ve missed or never been.  Being a tourist for the day was a perfect way to spend a Saturday.

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