A Travellerspoint blog

We're going to Graceland, Memphis Tennessee

March 10th to 17th

Memphis, home to Elvis and Graceland, Rythem and Blues and the site where Martin Luther King was killed.

After checking into our spacious 3 bedroom apartment thanks to Airbnb, we find the closest Best Buy store to try and get our still ailing computer fixed. As mentioned previously, we had been having trouble with it in Boulder, thought it was fixed and then lost all Internet connection and therefore access to the School of Distance Education and Alyssa's school work. So, Best Buy have a Geek Squad who can get our Dell computer back up and running. The short version of this story is that the Best Buy was at least 30 minutes drive away and we needed to take it back a couple of times before finally getting it running on the last day of our visit. All is working well now, though the last week was quite stressful.

From the photos in the video below you will notice a group of murals that form part of Overton Square, home to thriving businesses anchored by live performance theatres, bars and upscale shopping. It is located right across from Overton Park where over 300 acres of rolling green oasis is location on the middle of Memphis. This spot is welcome relief as Memphis has a high level of poverty, has many Victorian mansions sitting beside run down shacks and whole neighborhoods seem to be been almost covered in honeysuckle vines. In fact we ventured to downtown one Thursday around 3pm and it almost resembled a ghost town, almost no activity, very aged buildings and a totally under utilized and appreciated use of the Mississippi river only seconds away.

Just like New Orleans has Bourbon Street, Memphis has Beale Street. A permanently blocked street full of bars and clubs including the Rum Boogie Cafe and the BB King bar, all with live music. Although only 2 blocks long and much shorter than Bourbon Street, you can certainly feel what the atmosphere would have been like a number of years ago when R & B got its roots. Unfortunately the night we visited there was a St Patrick's day celebration and most of the bars were playing Pop music, which was clearly very different from what we were expecting and hoping for.

By far the biggest tourist attraction in Memphis is Elvis Pressley's Graceland. Built in 1939 by Thomas and Ruth Moore, the property was named after Ruth's Aunt Grace who originally owned the land, hence became known as Graceland. Elvis purchased the 13 acre property in 1957 for $102,500 and put his own designing touches to the house and surrounding area. The tour starts across the road at the Visitor Centre where we catch a 5 minute shuttle to Graceland and are provided with an iPad and earphones for the Audio tour complete with stories told by both Prescilla and Lisa Marie. Here you get to see true 70's style with tacky rooms like the kitchen with red carpet on the floor and the billiards room with carpet on the walls and ceiling. You also notice Elvis had a TV in every room and sometimes more than just one. Next you get to visit the trophy building that houses an amazing collection of his gold and platinum records, as well as other great memorabilia from Elvis’ early career, his movies, his charitable endeavors and more. The tour of the mansion finishes with a walk in the Meditation Garden where Elvis and members of his family are laid to rest. When you return to the visitors centre you get a chance to see the car museum and his 2 airplanes, the Lisa Marie and a smaller jet. The Lisa Marie is fully equipped with gold plated seatbelts, full size bed and even a shower.

One of the other popular sites in Memphis is the Lorraine Motel, the site where Martin Luther King was killed in 1968. The motel building is now part of the Civil Rights Museum and has extensive exhibits and a detailed timeline chronicling the struggle for African American freedom and equality. The turquoise exterior of the 1950's motel and 2 preserved interior rooms remain much as they were at the time of King's death and serve as pilgrimage points in their own right.

Next, a short drive North East to Nashville.

Posted by V3USA 11:57

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My Mum gave me the day off school the day he died. Luv 70s Elvis.

by vyrene (sooo jealous) smith

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