Monday, June 16, 2014

My trip to Memphis (Pt 1)

 And just like that, I'm back home on my couch in Los Angeles. If someone were to ask me how my trip was, I wouldn't even know where to begin. My mom and I had so much fun, and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world for getting to put my own two feet on the same soil that Elvis once put his on, from his home at Graceland to the many homes he lived in before that. It's going to be so hard to pick the right pictures to capture every moment I experienced, but I'll do my best! I'd also just like to mention that Memphis is really such a cool town. I'm a west coast girl, and have apparently only ever been to Tennessee once in my life (Paris, to be exact) at three years old, and I was surprised at how nice people were, and how welcoming the whole city was. I wish I could go back, and only just left! I did get to visit every spot I was hoping to on my itinerary, except for one place that was minor on my list, so hooray for that!

We arrived in Memphis pretty late on Wednesday night, and headed straight for the hotel. I can't say much about the first night except I was lucky enough to spend the second flight (from Houston to Memphis) seated next to a girl who was around my age and we talked so much that the flight just zoomed by. I also got pretty much zero sleep that night because of being in a weird place/jetlag, etc, so waking up on Thursday was not a pretty sight.

We first headed over to a cute little cafe called The Blue Plate, recommended by the concierge at the hotel, and boy, it did not disappoint. I knew right away that I would be ordering grits and biscuits/gravy since in LA that's not something I can really order and have it be totally authentic, and I was in heaven.


 After some issues returning the rental car in exchange for a new one (long story not worth sharing), we headed for Graceland, and guys, I just about died. First of all, Graceland is basically on a super busy street. Yes, there's a big gate and a long driveway, but you can still see the house from the street, which I was shocked to find out. I had pictured it being tucked away somewhere, hard for anyone to see unless they paid for the tour, but no. We made our way to the ticket booth to pick up our VIP Tickets, and headed straight for Elvis' cars museum which is in the big plaza that houses all of the other exhibits, gift shops and a couple of restaurants. I'm not one to be too excited about cars as I've said before, but some of them were seriously amazing to see in person (like the pink Cadillac he gave his mom, the pink jeep everyone rode around the backyard in, and his 1973 Stutz which I've seen many pictures of him driving). There was a cute little gift shop tucked inside, too, and I couldn't help but snap a picture of one of the displays.



After that, we made our way to Graceland. I was awestruck. I'd heard and read many times over that the mansion is not as big as you would expect, so I knew that going into the tour, but I actually felt like it was way bigger than people give it credit for. Aside from all the regular rooms in the house (and ones they don't show you on the tour like the upstairs and basement), there's a big, beautiful lush backyard with horses and a barn. I really, truly love this place. I can see why he once fell in love with it, too. I think my favorite rooms in the house are not the ones everyone talks about like the Jungle Room or the Trophy Room, but to me, the most special areas in the house are his parents' bedroom which was the opposite of lavish (so, so modest in fact), with the pink tile and poodle wallpaper in the bathroom, and Gladys' old dresses and bags hanging in the closet, as well as Vernon's office, and the little hallways in between. I really felt like it was an honor to be there, and I just didn't want to leave.

(I'm in love with their bathroom wallpaper and pink tiling!) Note the staircase leading to the second floor which is off limits to everyone except the immediate Presley family

{Jungle Room}

 {Tv Room}

 {Billiard Room}

 {Vernon, Elvis' dad's office. One of my favorites in the house. They really kept it looking exactly how it had been. It's so remarkable. And Elvis sat at that desk to answer questions about his recent stint in the army which he'd just completed}

{Elvis' mini shooting range next to the office}

 {Some of the old memorabilia that I so wish I could own, especially the shoes and wallet}

After Graceland (we toured it twice, and Vernon & Gladys' (and later Minnie Mae's) bedroom for a third time, cause I'm crazy), we headed back on the shuttle and made our way to the other exhibits, which I don't need to mention here, but whoa, I saw a lot of jumpsuits. A lot. We also stepped into Elvis' personal airplane named the Lisa Marie and the smaller jet that was used for his band members to travel in.

 I knew I'd wanted to stop by Elvis Radio on Sirius XM because I used to listen to it religiously when I worked at my last job and used the family's car that had Sirius programmed in it. So I tapped on the door, and the DJ (Jim Sykes) welcomed me in with open arms. I told him how I know so much about Elvis, and he was so impressed, that after letting my mom and I record ourselves saying where we were from (they put those on the air between songs), he gave me an interview! After I heard myself introducing Jailhouse Rock, I almost cried. It was an amazing experience that I'll never ever forget. He told us to listen the next day which I'll get into later.

Graceland was amazing but we were ready to explore more of Memphis, so after five hours there, we headed to The Peabody Hotel to see the ducks making their way from the famous fountain up to their residence in the penthouse. We made it just in time, and it was so cute, but it was hard to see because we got there right before it began. We stayed for a drink in the lobby, and then ran across the street in pouring rain to Rendezvous for ribs, and they were delicious! I love southern food so much. I wish I could have it more often. The one lame thing about living on the west coast is that we don't have the luxury of ordering it whenever we're craving it. I would be eating biscuits every morning if I could.


Once we ate, we took a little break back at the hotel and then knew we had to walk down Beale Street. We were exhausted by that point, but pushed ourselves to make the most out of our trip, so we ended up at the Jerry Lee Lewis club for some beer. We watched a great cover band and the singer even lit his piano on fire just like Jerry Lee. It was awesome.

Part Two coming tomorrow so I don't clog your feeds! :)