Welcome to Graceland!
What a pleasant surprise Graceland was! Our first thoughts about Graceland, prior to our arrival, was that of an obligatory visit -- you "have" to visit Graceland when in Memphis. By the time we left, I found myself saying -- I CAN'T WAIT TO GO THERE AGAIN! It was pretty spectacular. Maybe because a.) I had never been in such an opulent house before (I'm not talking mansions or museums....this was a HOUSE....a lived in house) b.) Elvis was such a HUGE personality and here I am walking through his home and c.) The decor....my oh my that decor......Elvis last decorated his home in the 1970's....that is all I am saying. I am sure back then it was the coolest of the cool, but it 2005 it is kinda....well, frightening...lol! The layout of Graceland surprises you. It has almost a theme park feel to it. There are lots of gift shops, several dining choices and a live broadcast of the Elvis channel on Sirus Radio. You start out the tour by purchasing your ticket. April and I chose the platinum package which gave us a tour of Graceland, Elvis's car museum and his private airplanes. You are then given a headphone
Lisa Marie Presley!
set that will guide you through the house. You board a shuttle and are taken across the street to Graceland. As you pull up the drive, you almost feel like you are pulling into a rich aunt's house. This place feels LIVED it. You then enter through the majestic doors and are instantly greeted by an oil painting of Lisa Marie when she was just a baby and PURE 1960's/1970's decor! This would give Donald Trump a run for his money. The smell also hits you. The smell of carpeting, plastic, polyester and musk. Doesn't sound too appealing, but it works. It has that "old school" smell.....or rather, that "old library" smell. You know what I am talking about. You see the stained glass sliding doors to the main living area and a huge baby grand piano Elvis use to play and entertain all his friends, including many celebrities. There are pictures of his parents and a beautiful oil painting of himself. If you look really carefully, you can almost picture the scene of people gathered around the living room -- partying. It was almost like being in a Quentin Tarantino movie or Boogie nights. I don't know how else
Elvis's living room.
to explain it...lol.
You then walk past a bedroom. The bedroom had a 1960's feel to it. With royal purple bedspread and an off white collection of furniture. Let's not forget the matching carpeting as well...whoa..lol. As you walk downstairs you are in Elvis's media room, I guess you can say. It had 3 TV's in it, stereos, and a very odd, ceramic, white, strange looking monkey statue..lol. It was SO funny seeing the old fashioned TV's....is that a dial??? LOL! It reminds me of the TV my Aunt Rose had in her house, but back in "the days" this was TOP OF THE LINE. The blues and yellows of the room scream 60's/early 70's---but I can just imagine how "cool" this must've been back then.
As you walk up the stairs to Elvis's JUNGLE ROOM, yes, jungle room....you can't help but notice the carpeted walls. Welcome to the 1970's...lol. The Jungle Room was where Lisa Marie played a lot. There is another strange looking artifact in this room as well.....an old fashioned Panda Bear. The room also has a mini bar and collection of guns that Elvis gathered throughout the years. April and I took our time
Um...errr....this was Elvis's entertainment/media room.
checking this room out. It was So strange. You just "felt" that people got "wasted" in this room.
Before we knew it we were walking through Elvis's award rooms....WOW.....WOW....this guy was something else. Do you know he has sold over 1 billion records world wide? ONE BILLION.....that is an insane amount. He made close to 70 movies in less that 15 years! He won thousands of awards and donated millions of dollars to charity. Mind you, Elvis died when he was only 42. Yes, he accomplished a lot in his live....a lot. He started out at the age of 22....for 20 years he worked practically nonstop. He has given joy and inspiration to sooooo many people.
He had a lot of health problems...especially with his heart. He was addicted to pain killers and prescription medicine. He also drank a lot. He died of heart failure on August 16, 1977. By the time you reach the outside, the "meditation garden", you walk by the grave of Elvis, his mother, father, and grandmother. He and his mother died around the same age. The father in his early 60's and the grandmother over 80. I think Elvis's dad said it best
One of the many bedrooms at Graceland.
when he inscribed on Elvis's grave that God saw how "tired" he was and called him home. I couldn't imagine having the kind of fame and pressure Elvis had. Do you know more people watched his Las Vegas TV show than people watched the first man walk on the moon??? Talk about the pressure. Yes, he had lots of money and fame. But he didn't have peace of mind or "space" --- he couldn't go ANYWHERE without being recognized. And we get stressed by our day to day living? Could you imagine?
Anyway, I left Graceland with a deeper appreciation of Elvis Presley and what he has given to this world. He is Rock-N-Roll. He is such a figure of American History and I, for one, am glad he is finally getting the rest he so deserved! Thanks Elvis!
Something strange that happened at Graceland is that my NEW batteries died almost instantly as I tried to take pictures!! The really strange thing is that I got several really great pictures. Then the batteries would die. Then it would work for one more picture...die....work...die...and then completely die. It was almost like Elvis only made me take pictures of
The Infamous JUNGLE ROOM....Whoa...lol.
what he thought was OK...lol.
After the Graceland tour we proceeded to the Elvis Car Museum which was pretty cool as well. We saw cars used in Blue Hawaii and many of his other movies as well as some from his personal collection, including a car that was once Frank Sinatra's. He loved cars as well as flying. He had a private plane called The Lisa Marie and a smaller jet. We were able to tour both of those as well. This was a pretty awesome experience. Not only because we were on the PRIVATE airplane of Elvis Presley, but we also got to see how it was laid out and styled in the 1960's/1970's.....WOW! Lots of leather and carpeting.....lol. Everything was covered in plastic and had that "old" smell again. There was a bedroom on The Lisa Marie as well as a meeting room and sitting area. The smaller jet was just that.....SMALL.....maybe 6 seats + the cock-pit. The seats were lime green and yellow....YES, lime green and yellow....wow.....lol.
All in all this was an experience I would recommend to anyone. Go to Graceland not because you feel you "have" to, but because you WANT to see
Here is his actual army suit worn for WWII.
how one of the most talented Americans lived in an era before a lot of OUR time. I would visit again in a heartbeat!
After our afternoon at Graceland we headed out to dinner at one of the most popular and critically acclaimed BBQ restaurants in Memphis -- Rendezvous BBQ. This place, operating since 1948, was suppose to have some of the best BBQ around and IT DID! You could smell that BBQ smell around the corner. As you enter from the ally way you are instantly greeted by an old time atmosphere. There are the red and white checkered table cloths and artifacts from the 30's, 40's and 50's! There is neon everywhere and blues music playing. This is a juke joint. This is what I was trying to model our kitchen at home like. They say if you've been at Rendezvous 20 years, your the "new" guy! People have been working here for over 50 years! WOW! It is a family fun business and you could tell. Everyone was so nice and down to earth. Kinda like stepping into a family run Italian restaurant in an ethnic Italian neighborhood. Their ribs were voted the BEST IN THE
Outside of Graceland.
WORLD, so we, of course, had to try them and they did not disappoint. They are "dry"....with a delicious spice rub. Not "wet" like St. Louis style. They were out of this world. A flavor unlike anything I have ever tasted. The best I could describe it is that it tasted like summer. That taste of brickets. Whatever it is you eat off the grill....chicken, hamburger, gardenburger...it has that GRILL taste....and so did these ribs, only it went deeper. It tasted like summer! The meat fell off the bone and didn't make a mess at all. It was so, so good. We NEVER eat ribs, so this was a "we're in Memphis" type thing. The grilled chicken was delicious. The cool thing is that in Memphis the food isn't served with sides like fries or baked potatoes--they are simply served with cole slaw and a small side of baked beans, neither of which I like....so I usually just have my breast of chicken....which is nice and healthy! The BBQ is so good, you don't miss the carb.....I like that. Their BBQ was just as delicious as Corky's -- just different. It is like comparing Tommy's Pizza in Providence, RI to
The entrance to Elvis's home.
Casserta's Pizza in Providence, RI -- both delicious but VERY different. Corky's beats out Rendezvous just a tad in my book, but just a tad. April likes the ribs at Rendezvous better. You can't go wrong with either place, so my recommendation would be -- go to both! LOL!
After dinner we decided to go see Cinderella Man. We weren't too overly enthused to see any movie that is out right now, so this one edged out the competition and we sure are glad it did! WHAT AN EXCELLENT MOVIE! I am not a Russell Crowe fan -- at all -- I think he is a brute..lol....BUT, he is one hell of an actor. He is a GREAT actor. He really gets into his role. The movie takes place in the late 1920's/1930's --during the Great Depression -- and it very, very moving. It shows the struggles of the poor Braddock family and his (Russell Crowe) rise and fall and comeback boxing legacy. Rennee' (Chesney shall I say) was also very good. It is a warm, heartfelt movie that will leave you feeling good. A great old fashioned movie. I wouldn't be surprised if this is up for many
April listening closely to the automated tour.
awards. That Ron Howard sure is good!
After the movie, we walked around Peabody Place awhile and then headed back to our room where we did some work and headed to bed. It was a GREAT day!
Now, here I am at 10:15am Wednesday -- getting ready to pack up and head to Nashville for a fun-filled week of music, music, and more music! We have 4-day passes to the CMA Music Festival! WOO-HOO! EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE THERE! Not to mention the Grand Ol Opry with special performances by Alison Krauss and the new winner of American Idol -- I am sooooo excited. I do miss my guitar though! 😞 I really wish I took it with me. I haven't gone this long without playing in ages! ACK!
Des & Ape
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