In order to celebrate the beginning of Elvis Presley Week, I have to start it off with photos I took on our trip to Elvis' Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee this summer.
When we first rolled into the city of Memphis, we started to look for Graceland and as we got closer and closer we saw more and more Elvis themed stores and tourist items on our trail. This reminded me of getting to places in Anaheim, CA that are close to Disneyland. It seems as though everyone wants to take advantage of whatever the attraction might be in order to make a buck or two in the process. Not that I am against capitalism, far from it, but i do think it sort of detracts from the experience somewhat.
But in spite of that small detail we kept going on until we got to where we thought Graceland was and paid to park and paid for the whole "All Inclusive" Package that got us into Graceland and all of its associated side attractions like Elvis' jets (with the Lisa Marie) as its biggest drawing card.
Included in our package were two reservations for the Graceland VIP Entourage Tour, which included an audio-guided tour of Graceland Mansion and grounds, and a self-guided tour of Elvis's two custom jet airplanes, Elvis's Automobile Museum, Private Presley and the Sincerely Elvis Museum. This made for a very nice day for anyone who was (and is) an Elvis fan.
The first thing we did was jump on a tram which actually just drove us across the street (Elvis Presley Blvd.) where the actual Mansion stands. This was the first surprise of the trip because we assumed we were already on the grounds of the mansion, but in reality... it was just across the street but behind large gates and a big fence. As we drove up to the actual mansion it seemed smaller than I had expected and more like a house of a wealthy friend which actually made it a little more endearing to me than a "real" Mansion like the Biltmore Mansion or even the Hearst Castle.
Our first act was to put on CD players that had earphones so that you can go at your own pace and listen to the information provided on the recorder. Each are in the house had a sign to tell you which numbers to push to hear about that particular room or area of the house. This was kind of neat in some ways, but in others it was a kind of a pain. But the good thing was that you could go at your own pace or listen to it over again it there was something you wanted to hear again. The downside was that you couldn't really ask questions if you had them.
Our first stop was in the entry and on the left was the formal dining room and then on the right was the living room. Both of these rooms were beautiful, but it was obvious that this decor was at least 30 years out of date, but it was also obvious that in its day, it must have been state of the art and the best decorating of its day.
The other rooms were just bedrooms except for their entertainment room which had three TV's on it because according to the story, Elvis saw that President Nixon had three TV's in his office in order to watch the news on ABC, CBS and NBC all at the same time. I am sure that for its day, that was also very high tech.
The one area I found interesting was the old gym which had a racquetball court in it. This area had been turned into sort on a museum to show off a lot of Elvis' awards including his Gold and Platinum Albums.
The outside of the house also had some interesting buildings including one that used to be a smoke house and was turned into a shooting range for Elvis and his friends.
The pool area was fairly normal with a kidney shaped pool like one of 10,000,000 just like in the country, but at the top of the pool there was a little burial area there which included Elvis, his mother (Gladys), father (Vernon) and Elvis' paternal grandmother (Minnie May). There was also a maker for the memory of Elvis' twin brother (Jesse Garon) who died on the day Elvis was born on January 8, 1935. While this was a beautiful area, I can't ever seeing myself wanting to swim in that pool.
We were there this summer so we were part of the 75th Anniversary of Elvis' birthday and all in all, for any true Elvis fan, Graceland is a must stop for anyone who makes their way close to Memphis. “Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can't help but move to it. That's what happens to me. I can't help it.”
~ Elvis Presley