If you visit Collierville, everyone will assume you are a local. It doesn’t matter how tall you are, what size camera you are carrying, or whether you are sporting a “my home is in Texas” neon green t-shirt, no one will ask you. Walk around the Main Street of this town and the store owners won’t offer a second glance. You don’t look familiar so you’ve probably just moved in from Germantown. Or Memphis. There is a cool disinterest that is neither unfriendly or apathetic. It just hovers slowly, casting its shadow upon the square. Yet it was this part of Collierville, a small city herding in a population of 50,000, that surprised me and made me love it the most. One of my favourite parts of travelling is clicking my Dorothy-slippers to the life of a local and trust me, Collierville, Tennessee will let us do just that.
Where to Stay?
If we have to spend the night, we will spend it in Memphis. Collierville has a lot to offer recreationally, but hotels are few and far in between. We can slink into a bed at Marriott or pack our bags for an easy twenty minute drive. We choose the day trip.
Where to Eat?
By now, you’re hungry. I understand. We park in the Historic District and try to find a bite to eat. How about Dyer’s? It is the oldest hamburger and fries joint in the Memphis area and its thick, greasy patties are just as rich as its history. But at Dyer’s, the history, the friendly service, and the modern old-school decor are tacked onto the price of the burger. For a meal that isn’t gourmet, eight dollars per burger is a bit of a stretch. But just this once, we decide to indulge and aren’t disappointed.
All meaty menu items must be washed down with a drink, so we head over to Square Beans Coffee Company, a homey independent cafe, serving fresh pastries and hot drinks. We order a tea and sit down on a wooden chair, watching the customers drift into the seats. Some are students, armed with heavy textbooks that weigh down on the library-height tables. Some are adults, tapping away on their laptops. You smile as we wander out – the quiet ambience of local delights is always a welcome surprise.
What to See?
We wander past shops, entering each one and eyeing the hand-made and artisan crafted pieces. We make our way around the square slowly until we arrive at the best store in the historic district – Brooke’s Collection, a river-themed garden shop. The sound of running water patters in the backdrop. White and pastel pieces are mixed amongst the store. It’s a floor and a half, so we wander up the stairs into a loft-like setting. As we descend, we notice an indoor waterfall. Do you have a penny to toss in?
We finish the loop and take a good look at the Historic District. We climb aboard a non-functioning Orient Express style railroad carriage (well, maybe more Southwest Express than Orient but you get the idea). The square hosts re-creations of a time so far away yet within our reach: gas stations from a bygone era and a pioneer cabin.
The last stop is one of my favourites. It is a small, locally run, Bible Museum, free of cost. The placards and posters encompass the history of the printed Bible. We get to see hand-scripted archaic versions to the more modern King James edition. We pad along the floor to witness stands of replicated artifacts regarding Biblical history, but the main draw of this museum is the art. There are the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous pencil sketched interpretations of the twelve disciples by a Hungarian artist, hanging on each side of the wall, in the library room. We stare in awe until we notice that the few that ambled in have now shifted out. It is almost five and we have to leave before the museum closes.
As the sun dips below the horizon line, we drive to W.C. Johnson Park, a respite of wooded trails perfect for an afternoon walk. The dirt paths leading up to grassy site make this the ideal afternoon picnic spot. We settle into the ground for a while before packing up and heading back to Memphis for the night.
Have you ever been to Collierville? What is your favourite small town in Tennessee? Did you find this pocket guide to Collierville useful? Comment down below and let me know! As always, I adore hearing from you!