Sweet Sounds in Memphis

Our road trip this time was actually to Atlanta, Georgia, but I’m writing today about our awesome pit stop in Memphis, Tennessee.  We had planned ahead to visit some friends and then go check out Graceland.  We’d never been to Graceland, so we had no idea how intriguing it would be.  I’ll confess that we ended up spending 5 hours there!

Elvis Presley’s home was the most impressive feature at Graceland.  Sadly, to me, the remainder of the property has turned into a miniature theme park.  There’s a row of “mini” museum rooms for each theme of movie that Elvis had starred in:  Hawaiian, Military, etc.  There are also tributes to his outstanding musical career, with several adjacent rooms hosting all of his costumes.  Oh, and don’t forget about the cars; he had a huge collection of cars that are also on display.  And as you should expect, at the exit of each of these venues, is a theme-oriented gift shop.  Need I say more lol.

If you’re at Graceland during mealtime, a handful of restaurants are nearby; we ate at the on-site Diner and I had the famous Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich.  After lunch, we ventured into a yard area where two of Mr. Presley’s planes are parked and accessible for tour.

The best part of Graceland was going through the mansion.  Upstairs was off limits, but we had fun seeing all of the glitzy décor in the rooms downstairs.  There are several additional buildings in the backyard, which house endless costumes, posters, awards and gold records, etc.  And last, but not least, is Mr. Presley’s burial site.  Elvis is buried on the grounds in a beautiful meditation garden next to his family members.

Aside from a multitude of gift shops, I think that Graceland is truly an amazing place!  Another fun place to visit while you’re in Memphis is Beale Street.  Beale Street Historic District consists of almost 2 miles in downtown Memphis, the birthplace of The Blues in the 1840’s.  Over time, it has grown with popularity and in 1977 Beale Street was officially declared “Home of the Blues” by Congress, and now hosts the Beale Street Music Festival (in April).  We ran across a store that was selling these one-of-a-kind toilet seats (lol)… don’t fret, there’s a souvenir for everyone!  Be sure to stop at “Handy Park”, an outdoor performance area, famous for concerts that are always free and open to the public, there might be a concert going on!  We love sports, so we had planned to see an NBA Grizzlies game in the FedEx Forum.  There’s a wealth of entertainment for everyone!

Since we love road trips, on one of our days here we decided to take a day trip and explore Tennessee.  After studying the map at the breakfast table, this adventure turned into a quest to drive through as many states as possible.  We started at our hotel, which was actually in a Memphis suburb area called Southaven, across the border in Mississippi.

From there, we set out on Interstate 55 and drove north.  With Memphis located so close to the Tennessee state border, we immediately crossed the Mississippi River and were in Arkansas.  Then in about 60 miles, near Blytheville, we crossed the Arkansas state line into Missouri.  Our highway then intersected with Interstate 57, where we turned to the east, and proceeded across the Mississippi River into Illinois.  Then we turned onto state Highway 51 and started to head back south, crossing the Ohio River, into Kentucky.  I have since forgotten how, lol, but we did wind our way back to our hotel.  We summed the day up by driving around 345 miles in this loop, covering six states in six hours!

Be Round Trip Ready:  In my opinion, Graceland and Beale Street should be on everyone’s bucket list; they both represent an important part of musical history.  Oh, and if you’re flexible like we’ve learned to be, why not shift your itinerary and take a day trip near your destination. Don’t forget…exploring is part of the fun!