Monday, June 9, 2014

I'm Going To Graceland (Pt 1)

Image Courtesy of Evelyn Henson

Whenever I'm a tourist in a new town, I plan like crazy for my trip - weeks, even months ahead, which is what I've been doing since March. As my trip to Memphis is now only two days away, I thought I'd share the list of places that I plan on visiting. Let's see if I stick to my itinerary! Obviously, there are certain places that are a must, and some that seem interesting but won't be a big deal if we don't make it to them.

This is, of course, the number one spot I can't wait to visit. As I've said before, it's been a long time coming for me to see Elvis' home. I've heard so many great things about Graceland, and even though I'm kind of spoiling things by reading SO many TripAdvisor reviews, nothing can stop my excitement, and nothing can spoil it, either. I splurged for VIP tickets, because I heard that by doing so, you can skip a crazy long line to get on the shuttle to the mansion. Also with the VIP pass, you get to enjoy a bonus room full of other Elvis memorabilia and personal items, as well as the freedom to come back later in the day rather than having to leave once you're done with the tour. Who knows how long we'll spend at the mansion, but I imagine I'll want to take my time and dedicate day number one to Graceland.

We'll be stopping by these exhibits on the first day, before we hop over to the mansion. I'm not one to be too crazy about seeing someone's old car, but Elvis loved his, and I can't help but be excited about seeing the pink Cadillac he bought for his mother in person, or the pink jeep that looks like something Barbie would be driving around in. Oh, and the Lisa Marie plane is supposed to be just as awesome to see as visiting Graceland itself.

The famous recording studio where Elvis made all of his Sun Studio recordings. A number of other artists have recorded here including Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison (Million Dollar Quartet). Supposedly you can record your very own little ditty to take home, as well as put your fingers on the same piano that they all used to record their very early hits! (This is especially cool since you can't touch anything at Graceland)

Apparently, this is the oldest restaurant in Memphis and first opened in 1919. I've already reserved the "Elvis booth" in the back (the one he used to sit in when he came here) for our second day in Memphis. They're known for their famous sweet potato pancakes which I'm definitely going to order.

From all the research I've done, it seems that this is THE place to go if you want great BBQ. I also saw this on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and once I heard the owner say that they got their BBQ recipe from Elvis' personal cook, I was sold (of course, they modified it, so it's not totally original). I just have to see the famous pig camper in person.

Image Courtesy of Norococo Blog

I've been reading great things about this restaurant and bar, which is known for allowing you to pick a "flight" of entrees to try and enjoy. I love that concept, given the fact that I'm the most indecisive person on the planet (I drive every waiter crazy). I'm especially looking forward to trying their Chicken & Waffles and Georgia White Bass.

Image Courtesy of Road Glide

Well, there's no way I can travel somewhere new and not visit the most coveted donut shop in town. I've been reading rave reviews about this place, from their red velvet cake donuts to their apple fritters. Don't worry, I will definitely be taking a LOT of pictures of these yummy treats, and you will see the sugar fest in my post next week.

Not only does this seem like it could be a great record store, but it holds an Elvis shrine?! It's a must. I think by the end of this trip, my mom will probably never want to hear or see the name Elvis again, judging by how much of Elvis' face we're going to be subjected to.

The home Elvis lived in between 1949-1952. Apparently you can tour the same room he lived in, which has been restored to its original furnishings. Oh yes, we're doing this, if I can manage to find more information. They have a facebook page but it seems inactiveI recently read a biography that detailed his happenings here from courting young women to strumming on his guitar in that very room.

This historic theater (once called the Memphian) was once the movie theater that Elvis used to rent out every night to screen movies with his closest friends, since he was too popular to be seen there during regular hours.
I heard that Arcade Fire played a show in there, as well.

Elvis' high school is something I figure I might as well see since I'll be there. But is on the list for "not as important" because, well, it's just a high school. But considering how much I've read about Elvis' life and what it was like for him going to school here, I want to check it out.

 Aside from the Elvis statue, I mostly just want to check it out because of this awesome mural that I'm definitely going to get a good picture of. But the park is also supposed to host a number of interesting restaurants, and a candy shop.

 One of the most exciting things we'll be doing is making a visit to the Peabody Hotel to check out the ducks. Apparently, every day at 5:00, the ducks that live in the penthouse of the hotel walk around the lobby on a red carpet and can be seen sporting bow ties. It sounds too cute and funny to pass up. Plus, the hotel is gorgeous and the restaurants are supposed to be amazing.

During one of our days, we will be taking a drive into Tupelo (only an hour and a half from Memphis), to see where Elvis was born. 

 And when I'm not shopping for the perfect Elvis coffee tumbler (it is on my list since my Kate Spade one broke), we will be checking out Memphis' cute boutiques and vintage clothing stores. Among them is Hoot + Louise, which has been written up about in Lucky Magazine and on various other tourist blogs. I'm so excited to see what they have, and to come home with something fun!

We'll be in Memphis for a total of four days (three nights), and I can't wait! If anyone has any tips on places I haven't mentioned, like restaurants or shopping, please let me know! There are other restaurants we'll be going to that I didn't think I'd need to mention here. I will be making another post tomorrow, and then I'll be off until the following week when I'll be posting about the trip! In the meantime, check out my instagram for some of my travel photos! @circusofcakes  <3

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