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 and that would be where he resided 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 will be guiding you starting from miles away, it is not at all where one would expect this iconic home to be located. You actually start your adventure from the Visitor Center, which is where tour tickets are purchased. Visitors have the options of purchasing tickets to see Elvis’s Home, automobile museum, his custom jet (the Lisa Marie), a museum housing his awards and records, and very cool gift shop. Although the tour is self-guided, you are provided with a headset that narrates each stop of the tour. Among this includes 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 are 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 is decorated in some over-the-top cheeky or hauntingly elaborate theme. The Jungle Room proves to be a favorite with fans since it is 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 is mind-boggling to see how many Elvis collected throughout his short life and I was fascinated reading each and every one of them. This gave a whole new light to the concept of “wallpaper”. There is 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 concludes in the Meditation Garden where Elvis, along with his parents, Gladys and Vernon, and grandmother are buried. There is also a memorial stone for his stillborn twin brother, Jesse. It is a beautiful and solemn spot where fans can pay their respects and can leave trinkets and 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, costing Elvis near 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 one of my favorite parts of the tour. Elvis had an elaborate Rolls Phantom that you must see and a visit is not complete without seeing the notorious pink Cadillac. This museum is 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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