Jockey riding horse

The Towns of Shelby County

Memphis’ outskirts weave a patchwork of farmland and parkland; rustic rail depots and Civil War vestiges; gloriously-preserved churches and yesteryear town squares. Though the past is ever-present, original shops and restaurants, outdoor concerts, farmers’ markets – even a winery – will surprise you!

Horse Status in Germantown, TN

Balancing its urbane side and rural roots, Germantown is the place to browse the upscale Shops of Saddle Creek, see theatrical productions at the German Town Performing Arts Center and be seen at the Germantown Annual Charity Horse Show in June. Get back to basics at Bobby Lanier Farm Park. The former horse farm hosts a summer farmers’ market and programming that’ll get your hands delightfully dirty. For more outdoor fun, explore the 20-acre Riverdale Park, which offers playing fields and an ADA-accessible playground.

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A lake in Lakeland, TN

You'll find lakes – and ponds, streams and trees. The sum is a spoil of parkland, so select your speed: Stage a technical mountain bike ride through 65-acre International Harvester Managerial Park, or stroll along the walking rails over easy-rolling hills. The park also touts a five-acre fishing lake, perfect for spending a quiet morning dangling a line in its glittering waters. With kids, survey wetlands, then romp on the playground at Plantation Hills Park. Relax with a glass of wine and an evening of live music at Delta Blues Winery

A driving range in Millington, TN

Explore Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park hiking trails, lakes and campgrounds, and make sure to stop by the General Store for lunch and supplies. Enjoy the slower pace of rural life as you pack a picnic and bring a lawn chair to listen to live music at Old Millington Vineyard and Winery – or as you play a round of golf on the 19-hole championship course at Mirimichi, known as the Mid-South's best public golf course. If you'd rather live life in the fast lane, hear the engines roar and watch racers fly around the track at Memphis International Raceway. You won't want to miss the historic Old Timers Restaurant for Southern fare and a peek into the past, with old photographs lining the walls.

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Vinegar Jim's in Arlington, TN
Meander the winding pathways that cut through verdant grass at Hughes-College Hill Park, home to the aptly named Playground of Dreams. Shop in the century-old building housing S.Y. Wilson & Company, as residents have since 1893, which has been recently transformed from an antique shop into an outfitter of active and Western Apparel. Depot Square collects all things antique: Make time to peek inside the Harrell Farm Log Cabin, Burrow Museum, blacksmith shop and post office. (Today, it’s an “American Picker’s” dream of vintage pieces and contemporary artisan goods.) Refuel with a juicy burger made from exotic meats (think: venison, wild boar and elk) at Off the Hoof Burgers, and don't leave without a homemade fried pie from Vinegar Jim’s.

A park in Bartlett, TN

Take a short trip to the days of Bartlett's founding at Davies Manor Plantation (April thru mid December), a two-story log residence – built as a one room cabin around 1830 – that guards family heirlooms and Civil War stories. In town, take advantage of wide-open spaces at the 100-acre W.J. Freeman Park shop the Bartlett Farmers Market (May thru September) for farm-fresh produce, or catch a concert production at Bartlett Performing Arts Center.  

Gazebo in Collierville, TN

Explore scenic wetlands when you visit the 271-acre W.C. Johnson Park, which borders the Wolf River Corridor, or for walking tours past Civil War markers and preserved churches, inquire at the Morton Museum of Collierville History: a Gothic-Revival sanctuary circa 1873. Named best main street by Parade Magazine, Collierville's historic town square is your reward: shops and restaurants that frame a lawn for Sunset on the Square concerts in June and July and an old locomotive next to the historic train depot. For national retailers in a n al fresco setting, shop Carriage Crossing, an open air shopping district with tree-lined pathways and more than 70 stores.