I had no idea at the time but this very day in Memphis would revolve in a lot of ways around Elvis Presley.
We started off with brunch at his wife Priscilla Presley’s former hair salon (like not one that she owned but one she went to get her hair done) – quite aptly called Beauty Shop Restaurant – which serves up some of the best food in town!
It’s such a fun little spot (well, not so little – there’s a lot more room inside than it looks like from the outside) and still has the old hairdryers from when it was a proper hair salon.
Brunch started off with a ‘Good morning mojito’ (as all good brunches really should 😉 ) – followed by burgers with truffle fries!
Well fed, we headed over to the most Elvis of all the Elvis sights to see in Memphis – his actual home – Graceland!
Graceland is such a fascinating and rather surprising place to visit. For starters, it’s a lot smaller than I actually thought it would be – especially when you compare it to the homes celebrities have these days that span acres and acres!
It’s also surprising because of how interesting it is inside!
I was kind of expecting it to be interesting from a slight historical point of view – getting an insight into the life of Elvis Presley – but the décor when you get in there is one part that totally caught me by surprise (in a really good way).
No two rooms are quite the same here and some of the stuff (curtains, artefacts, mirrored staircase, jungle room…etc) are just so amazing.
Like seriously just look at those stairs!
Suffice to say, none of the rooms here lacks personality – they are chock-full of it!
Outside, there are lots more different parts to explore, including a home office area, a separate building which is now home to a lot of his memorabilia (including the suit and dress Elvis and Priscilla got married in) and even little baby Lisa Marie’s cot.
Once you’re done checking out all the many different parts of his estate, the final part of the house (adjacent the pool) is his final resting place – a chance for his fans to pay respect to the Elvis.
Gracelad is just such an interesting place and even if you aren’t the biggest Elvis fan in the world, it’s without a doubt one spot you have to visit in Memphis! (If you don’t drive, I think there are shuttles to get you here from the city centre but don’t quote me on that – probably best to check their official website for details on that).
Things don’t end just at the mansion; when you leave, you get to check out other things – like walk onto his private planes check out his car collections and so much more!
You could very easily find yourself spending quite a few hours here so be sure to leave enough time for that.
Our next stop after leaving Graceland was STAX – Museum of American Soul. Based in a historically (and I guess still) poor part of Memphis, this very recording studio was home to so many icons of American soul music!
Walking through, it’s a thorough catalogue of what’s what and who’s who of soul music…
You even get to check out the original studio – which apparently has a floor that slants (I don’t think it was intentional initially) but actually allowed for a unique sound that became a key part of soul music.
(We found out later that so many thing that we take for granted as just being part of how music sounds now were sometimes just accidental discoveries – a room that echoes a different way because of how it was built, a broken speaker patched with newspapers – so many little details here and there that resulted in a genre of music as we know it).
We finished off in STAX with a quick gander at Isaac Hayes Oscar for Shaft – he was the first black man to win an Academy Award for songwriting and the 3rd black person to ever win an Oscar (Academy Award).
You also get to check out his Cadillac (I think it was a gift from Cadillac themselves) and that car is quite the beast.
There’s a mini fridge and TV in it, it’s 24-carat gold plated and also sorts of over the top stuff that make it quite the showpiece to see when you’re here!
With that – we bade farewell to STAX and headed off to see one of the most important places in all of Memphis! More on that in the next post.