Memphis’ outskirts weave a patchwork of farmland and parkland; rustic rail depots and yesteryear town squares. Though the past is ever-present, upscale shops and restaurants, outdoor concerts, farmers’ markets – and even a winery or two – make these towns worth the trip.
Germantown has something for every mood. Looking for an upscale evening? Head for a shopping spree at the Shops of Saddle Creek and see a theatrical production at the Germantown Performing Arts Center. Feeling outdoorsy? Explore 20-acre Riverdale Park, which offers playing fields and an ADA-accessible playground, or take the kids to an agricultural education program at the Bobby Lanier Farm Park. During the summer you can also pick up some fresh produce and enjoy cooking demonstrations at the Farm Park’s farmers’ market (now located at C.O. Franklin Park). In June, don’t miss the Charity Horse Show, a fan favorite since 1948 for good reason — skillful riders and beautiful horses delight attendees of all ages. Ready to laugh? Check out the “Running of the Weenies” dog race and costume contest in September. Hungry? Visit the Germantown Commissary and order the brisket or ribs with a deviled egg on the side (you can thank us later). If you’re looking for a fancy but fun date-night spot, head over to Southern Social for upscale Southern fare such as crawfish beignets, fried pimiento cheese sandwiches and stuffed quail.
Lakeland has more to offer than just lakes, although the five-acre fishing lake at International Harvester Managerial Park is perfect for casting a line. While you’re at the 65-acre park, stage a technical mountain bike ride or stroll along the walking trails over easy rolling hills. Hit some balls at Stonebridge Golf Course, designed by internationally known architect George Cobb. Once you’re done exploring, relax on the veranda with a glass of Sangiovese at Delta Blues Winery. Some afternoons and evenings you may even catch a live band on the music stage behind the tasting room.
Bring your binoculars when you take on Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park's 20 miles of hiking trails: The forest is replete with wildlife, including bald eagles and otters. Visit the campsites or vacation cabins if you’d like to stay overnight, and make sure to stop by the Shelby Forest General Store whether you need breakfast, lunch, snacks or supplies. This fixture just outside the park entrance is known for its disc golf selection and sizzling burgers – just ask Millington native Justin Timberlake. Enjoy the slower pace of rural life when you pack a picnic and bring a lawn chair to listen to seasonal live music on Sunday afternoons at Old Millington Vineyard and Winery – or as you play a round of golf on the 7,400-yard championship course at Mirimichi. You can also pick your own in-season fruit (or buy some from the roadside markets) of Jones Orchard. If you'd rather live life in the fast lane, watch racers fly around the track at Memphis International Raceway. In September, bring the whole family to Millington’s annual Goat Days festival, which features goat parades, tractor pulls, live music, games and rides.