Memphis

After Graceland, we headed into Memphis to visit Sun Studios.  Opened in 1950 by Sam Philips, Sun Studios was the Birthplace of Rock N’ Roll and home to the ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ – Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

We had met a couple on the historic Nashville tour that went to Memphis a couple days before us.  During their tour of Sun Studios Johnny Cash’s brother showed up, as one does. So I had slightly elevated expectations. Unfortunately no one showed up during our visit, but I’m over it.

From there we had a few hours to explore Beale Street.  The timing of the day was a bit off.  We could have used less time in Graceland, and more in Memphis, but it is what it is.  I would have liked to go to the National Civil Rights Museum, but we wouldn’t have had enough time to do it properly.  Instead we took a break, had a drink, and checked out the various stores in the neighbourhood.

And then we were back on the bus to drive back to Nashville. What a day.

Graceland

When mom and I first picked where to go, she got really excited when I said Nashville.  It turns out, she got excited because she thought Graceland was nearby.  Technically it is close, only about a 4 hour drive, so I found a day trip from Nashville to Memphis so we could go.

Our first stop was Graceland itself, where we got a VIP tour package, including an audio guide narrated by John Stamos.

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Here’s his living room, featuring a 15 foot long sofa, and a 10 foot long coffee table.

We weren’t allowed to go upstairs.  Apparently, Elvis hosted people all the time but upstairs was his private space, so they decided to keep it that way.

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His parents’ bedroom, which his mom helped decorate.  A few of her belongings are still hanging in the closet.

 

Next up was the dining room, which features the china that Priscilla and Elvis received for their wedding.

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Mom and I were a bit confused by the kitchen.  Firstly, who puts broadloom in a kitchen? Secondly, weren’t there higher end options for the finishes? Mom really expected to see granite counters, or something a little fancier.

The stairs to the basement are completed surrounded by mirrors.

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The TV room was in the basement.  Elvis heard that President Lyndon Johnson had three sets to keep up with all the major network newscasts at the same time, so he decided he also needed 3 TVs.

Also in the basement was the billiards room, which was by far my favourite.  Look at the fabric on the wall!  It took 3 guys 10 days to put it up.

But Elvis’ favourite room is what the called the jungle room.  Right off the kitchen featuring green shag carpet on the floor and ceiling and a waterfall feature wall, this was the place to be.

That was it for inside his house.  Our next stop was his backyard, carport and his dad’s office.

We then made our way to his Trophy Room.  He used to keep them in the house, but it reached a point where he had so many that he needed to build a separate space for them. Now it also features his timeline, from his music to film career and back.

Elvis loved horses, so he made sure to have some around.  It wouldn’t have been uncommon for him to be seen riding on horses and offering others rides as well.  He was very generous, and had extras of everything so whoever was around could take part.

Next up, the squash court. The curtained wall behind the piano is a window, so you could watch the game. They’ve since turned the court into a museum.

By chance, we happened to be in Memphis a few days after the anniversary of his death. So I don’t know if his grave looks like this all year round, or just at this time of the year.

I wanted to get one good view of the house from the front before leaving. I was going to wait until all the people were inside, but at this point it was pouring rain, and I was soaked.  So this sufficed.

img_1581The shuttle took us back across the street, so we could enjoy the exhibitions and visit the approximately 15 gift shops offering the same products.  Some of it was cool though.

We got to go inside his planes, including the Lisa Marie:

And see his car collection:

One bit of advice. If you’re going to go, pack your own food.  The offerings really aren’t the greatest.  Except for the ice cream.  I got some peanut butter and banana ice cream (c’mon I had to!) and it was delicious.

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Some gems from the gift stores:

We figured being in Nashville was the closest we’d ever be to Graceland so we had to come check it out.