Memphis, Tennesee, also known as “home of the blues”, is a treasure of Americana that beckons music lovers, Elvis fans and people who crave excitement. Flavorful and musical, Memphis is full of entertainment whether you’re a couple or a family. East of Memphis, you can find the Loretta Lynn Museum.
The grounds, mansion, doll museum, re-created Butcher Holler home, coal mine tour and dude ranch were impressive. The memorabilia inside the museum included Loretta’s actual tour bus, vehicles used in the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter and a living room re-creation of her Nashville home.
The Peabody Hotel and march of the ducks is a historic Memphis tradition worth seeing. The Peabody hotel is ornate and luxurious. It is said that Elvis signed his first recording contract there. If you go to see the famous ducks, you need to go at 11:00 a.m. or 4:00 p.m. to watch the procession.
At 11:00 a.m. the ducks are escorted down the elevator and into the fountain they swim in until 4:00-5:00 p.m. At that time, crowds have gathered for drinks and desserts to await the announcer and procession. Boldly and proudly, the announcer retells the story of the Peabody ducks tradition before he marches them up the elevator to their rooftop “duck palace” habitat. I don’t want to spoil the story in case you go there. It’s a great example of how innovation, whimsy and creativity can lead to a treasured tradition!
Barbecue is another Memphis specialty. Memphis is barbecue country and within Beale Street area alone, you can sample either “wet” or “dry” barbecue. Charles Vergos Rendezvouz features a dry rub barbecue while Blues City Cafe masters the “wet” barbecue which is saucy and not a rub.
Beale Street is an exciting area of neon signs, honky tonks and blues taverns. Visually stunning! On a brick road, where no cars are allowed, you are transported back to a time of B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis and many more musicians. What country music is to Nashville, “blues” is to Memphis. From the rooftop bar of Alfred’s on B.B. King Boulevard, you can people watch the crowd below and have a great view of horse drawn carriages, acrobats and street performers. On one night, there was a Vespa scooter gathering because of a national convention going on and the next night….
….we saw a zombie parade of kids and adults walking up the entire Beale Street area to raise money for charity.
The soul of Beale street was apparent to me when I saw a young woman run out into the street when it started raining. Dancing in the rain and literally letting her hair down (from her ponytail), she was oblivious and totally in the moment.
A. Schwab store and museum is an interesting store with a soda fountain, vintage bar and small museum inside. A broad range of items ranging from hats galore, masks, gift items and even incense and oils were available in the store.
Graceland, Elvis’s home, is the “King’s castle” in the way that it celebrates his royalty and heyday. Our VIP tour at 10:30 a.m. started even earlier because of their efficiency in accommodating all of the ticket-holders. Graceland has stayed authentic in its decor and the tour guides informed us that Lisa Marie and family even dine there in the dining room, on occasional visits.
There’s a chapel on the grounds which stays busy with weddings and vow-renewals all year long. We learned many more details about Elvis (than what you hear in pop culture trivia) by touring his mansion, museum and grounds.
Memphis was truly entertaining, informative and a great way to connect to the soulful Tennessee character.
photos by Gina
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