In this post a few weeks ago, I mentioned that one item on my Memphis bucket list was to go on a Memphis riverboat—mainly because it reminds me of one of my favorite musicals, “Showboat” and I want to hum its showstopper song, ‘Old Man River’ while rolling along the river.
Well, it goes to show you that what you put out in the universe has a way of coming back to you because just a couple of weeks after that post I was blessed with two tickets to Memphis Riverboats on a dinner and music cruise on their boat named…wait for it…Ol’ Man River!
I decided the riverboat cruise would be the perfect event to share with my mother as she visited me from Virginia on the occasion of her recent birthday. It was a bit of a challenge actually getting her here, but she made it to the Bluff City without any issues early Thursday morning. I took her to some of my favorite places—Beauty Shop Restaurant and Lounge, Frost Bake Shop, and Cozy Corner BBQ—and did a driving tour of some of Memphis’ historic and tourist spots like Clayborn Temple, Beale Street, and Overton Park. There was only so much fun that we could get in with the limited time we had, but without a doubt the riverboat cruise topped the cake.
We ended up taking an Uber (her first time, my umpteenth time) down to beautiful Beale Street Landing on Friday evening. I hadn’t been down to BSL since me and the other Year One bloggers took our pictures down there on one hot summer day last year. This evening was hot, too, but full of life with a bluegrass-y band playing while people were dancing and lots of folks enjoying the sunset on the riverfront. We walked the spiral walkway from Beale Street Landing to the dock of the riverboats. I originally mistook the American Queen—the largest steamboat ever built and now a deluxe hotel—as our boat, but then saw Ol’ Man River a bit of the way down. (To give you an approximation, it was like seeing an 18-wheeler only to realize your ride is a Honda CRV, but it was still a beautiful boat.)
Once onboard, we went upstairs to the dining area. My only complaint is that it’s a bit tight in there, but we made our way to our assigned table and enjoyed the views on the river. It was great to see a packed boat with folks celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and family reunions. The boat pulled back from shore shortly after 7:30 pm and we enjoyed a two-hour cruise on the mighty Mississippi River between the two bridges.
Dinner was buffet style of pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, baked beans, corn, chicken breasts, and a slice of cake. While not exactly high cuisine, it was authentically southern and Memphis, and the hospitality of the riverboat team made the experience that much more enjoyable. After dinner, we went to the rooftop to enjoy the cooler weather and views of the Memphis skyline. It really is something to see the city from the middle of the river and it flows quickly by. We returned inside after a bit to enjoy the cover band and watch the gyration of the celebrating folks on the dance floor.
Before we knew it, it was time to dock and get off the boat in the darkness of night. We called another Uber and went back to my house to enjoy the rest of our evening, her last one before she returned home. As my mother left the next day wearing her “My Baby Lives in Memphis, TN” t-shirt gifted to her by a friend, the whole experience reminded me of just how far I’ve come in the past year I’ve been here in Memphis. Moving to a brand new city after being a longtime resident of Washington, DC, not knowing a single soul here and being comfortable giving tours and pointing out landmarks and knowing the places to go, all while getting to know some great folks along the way.
As the weeks wind down before a new set of folks become the Year One bloggers, I want to say thank you. Thanks to all who have shared with me and shown me all the great parts of Memphis. The recommendations and suggestions, the invitations and opportunities afforded to me during the past year has me proud to call this city home.
My mother, by the way, is already planning her next visit to Memphis…