We left our hotel that was just outside of Memphis to head to our number one destination – Graceland.
Yes, we were going to Elvis’ home. I loved listening to Elvis when I was younger and even more so now that I have gotten older. I cheered his comeback in the late 60’s and early 70’s and I was sad when he died while I was on my honeymoon in Ireland in 1977.
Many people have told us that they thought Graceland was overrated, it was small but others have told us how much they enjoyed it. Whether we were going to like it or not didn’t matter – we needed to go.
The night before our trip we went on the Graceland website to review the ticket choices – that’s right you have a choice of 5 different ticket options. We chose the Platinum tour that comes with an interactive iPad with the narration of the house by John Stamos as well as entry into his automobile museum and a few other locations. We did not have the airplanes as part of our tour. After we received our iPads and headsets we boarded a trolley to take us across Elvis Presley Blvd to the mansion.
We toured the first floor and the basement – the upstairs private rooms were not part of the tour. The decor in some rooms was very nice for the time period; other times it was a little garish. Walking into the dining room we saw a touching photograph of Priscilla and Lisa Marie on the wall.
The kitchen seemed out of a time capsule. Then there was was the talked about “Jungle Room” The basement looked like a bumblebee to me with the black and yellow decor. Also in the basement was a pool room.
In one of the hallways was a collection of his gold records.
We then went outside to see the back of the home, the building where his offices were, saw the pasture for his horses.
His racquet ball building which was turned into an area where some of his stage costumes were as well as several screens that played some of his concerts and television appearances.
For some reason that I certainly didn’t expect, I found that it was very moving and there were tears in my eyes. I loved listening to his voice singing some of the ballads that he was so good at and were so familiar to me. Maybe it was from sadness of seeing what drugs could do to a person. I don’t know except that it was very emotional to me. Exiting the building we walked over to the area where he was buried next to his parents and grandmother.
After touring the house, we took the trolley back across the street and went into the automobile museum. The number of cars that he had, how he customized many of the cars was amazing. Also in this museum were some videos of Elvis in clips from various movies where he is in some of these cars.
We had lunch at the Chrome Restaurant and I would not recommend it. Bring a snack, eat before or after but just don’t eat there. It wasn’t that bad but in my mind it wasn’t that good.
After doing a little shopping at the gift shops (some CD’s to play, postcards, etc) we left to continue our first day in Memphis. Overall, we were not surprised to find that it was not a huge mansion. We felt that it was more of a family home where he and his wife (later his daughter) could live with additional room for his parents. This could have been considered a “mansion” at the time it was built by Memphis standards. We were happy with our stop at Graceland.
As we drove along the river in Memphis, it was our goal to drive across the “Dolly Parton” bridge, so nicknamed because of the shape of the bridge, into Arkansas, a state I had not been to but I missed the turn. As I was driving up, I spied in front of us a tall pyramid.
This was the new Bass Pro Shop that I had heard about. We quickly found parking and walked inside. We purchased tickets ($10) to ride the 28 story freestanding elevator to the tip of the pyramid where there was a bar/restaurant and an outdoor observation deck.
This blogger is afraid of heights but I did go out, just not on the glass part. I did hand my camera over to a braver soul than me to take photographs of Mud Island, the bridge and Arkansas.
After we had our snack we went back down the elevator and was able to really look around.
The interior reminded me of a Louisiana swamp town. There were alligators, “Bait Shacks”, little shops filled with outdoor gear. I would recommend to anyone in Memphis in taking a drive over to the pyramid and looking around. It was fun.
We were going to try again to cross the Mississippi River into Arkansas and we were successful. We went one exit, turned around and drove back into Tennessee. Isn’t that what you do on Road Trips?
Tomorrow we are planning on going to The Peabody to see the famed ducks as well as the Civil Rights Museum and to find good barbeque!