Memphis, Tennessee is known to most for blues music and amazing barbecue. However, for music and pop culture fans, it is home to the King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Aaron Presley. In 1957 Elvis purchased Graceland for $102,000. He resided there until his death in 1977. Today, it is Memphis’ #1 rated tourist attraction and a National Historic Landmark.
Upon arriving at Graceland, your first thought is that your map app must be wrong because it is situated smack dab in the middle of a run-down part of town. Although signs guided you from miles away, it is not at all where one would have expected this iconic home to be located. Your adventure begins at the Visitor Center, which is where tour tickets are purchased. Visitors had options of purchasing tickets to see Elvis’s Home, automobile museum, his custom jet (the Lisa Marie), and a museum housing his awards and records. It ended in a cool gift shop with all things Elvis Presley.
The tour is self-guided but you are equipped with a headset that narrates each stop of the tour. Among this included songs, stories, and an overload of information about the life of Elvis Presley. I liked that you could explore all that Graceland had to offer at your own pace.
Countless personal artifacts of Elvis’s were on display for visitors to share in and remember the legend. I found Graceland surprisingly small considering how much fame Elvis Presley acquired during his career. Each room at the house was decorated in some over-the-top cheeky or hauntingly elaborate theme. The Jungle Room proved to be a favorite with fans since it was decorated in a fashion that highlights Elvis’s favorite place on Earth, the state of Hawaii. Speaking of, did you ever see Elvis in the film “Blue Hawaii”? It was one of my favorites.
A museum sits outside of the mansion whose walls are lined with Elvis’s thousands of awards. It was mind-boggling to see how many Elvis collected throughout his short life. We were fascinated reading each and every one of them. This gave a whole new light to the concept of “wallpaper”.
There was also a trophy room loaded with gold and platinum records along with other lifetime achievements and incredibly well-known fashions. This was my favorite part of the tour, seeing “The King’s” threads, including his most famous white rhinestone jumpsuit. It is hard to imagine that when Elvis put on this suit, fans went into a frenzy around the world! In fact, I remember when I was a child that my mother saw him in concert and this is what she and her friends talked about most afterwards.
The home tour concluded the Meditation Garden, where Elvis, along with his parents, Gladys and Vernon, and grandmother are buried. A memorial stone for his stillborn twin brother, Jesse lies with them. What a beautiful and solemn spot where fans can pay their respects and can leave trinkets or flowers on the grave sights.
Back at the Visitors Center, we toured Elvis’s private plane, a Corvair 880, fittingly named “Lisa Marie” after his own and only child. This luxurious jet was a posh luxury for its time. It cost Elvis nearly a million dollars. This state of the art jet included a living room with leather tables and incredibly soft suede seats. Even the bathroom sinks were gold laden!
The museum of Elvis’s collector and designer cars was a big attraction on the tour. Elvis had an elaborate Rolls Phantom that you must see! Likewise, a visit to Graceland is not complete without seeing his notorious pink Cadillac. The car museum was especially guarded so enjoy looking but do not touch.
If you are ever traveling to or thorough Memphis, Tennessee, stop to play homage to the rock & roll legend. Have you ever visited Graceland? If so, what was your favorite part of the tour?
Graceland Photo Gallery
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