Friday, February 1, 2013

Graceland, Memphis, TN

We saved the best part of Memphis for our last day there = Graceland, home of Elvis Presley.  

"Poor boys and pilgrims with families, and we are going to Graceland..."

After parking in the massive lot, we walked toward the entrance, next to Elvis' private jet.  "TCB" with the lightning bolt stands for "Taking Care of Business."

We weren't alone that Sunday around 11am...

In fact, there were only about a thousand Iowa State fans in town for the bowl game (which they lost), and they all seemed to converge upon Graceland on the same day.

The house itself is across Elvis Presley Boulevard from the entrance and museums.

We wouldn't be able to enter the house for about 3 hours (word to the wise, which we weren't = RESERVE TICKETS AHEAD OF TIME), but fortunately we got the medium-level package, which was only a few dollars more than just the house tour.  It included tours of about 5 or 6 other things besides the house, including Elvis' planes (such as Lisa Marie, a Convair 880, seen here).

Yes, planes, plural (this is Elvis' Hound Dog II, a Lockheed JetStar).

The bathroom inside of Lisa Marie.

Lisa Marie

Lisa Marie

Nice TV set.

A board room set-up inside the Lisa Marie.

Notice Elvis' designated chair at the head of the table.

My wife and her brother were enjoying themselves.

As was this ugly guy.

Elvis had a bed inside the plane, unsurprisingly.

The dressing room, at the back of the plane.

The Hound Dog II was a more modest affair.

You weren't really allowed inside except to peak through safety glass at the fuselage.

Elvis mosaic.

I'm always amazed at how these are put together.

One of the museums was devoted to Elvis' influence on other musicians.  I liked the showcase on Bruce Springsteen and his Elvis fan club button (one of just 500 in existence).

One of the most impressive museums was the Automobile Museum, featuring Elvis' significant collection of cars.

Before we headed in, I noticed this sign just beyond Graceland.

A Mercedes 280 SL Roadster, prized by Priscilla Presley.

A 1966 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.

Sweet ride, Elvis...

1956 Cadillac Eldorado, painted purple to Elvis' specifications.

1973 Stutz Blackhawk, the last car Elvis ever drove (he drove this into Graceland the day he died).

Another museum (a much smaller one) was dedicated to Elvis' tour in 1972.

FINALLY, our tour of the mansion was ready!

We boarded the bus and crossed the street, where we were deposited in front of the house.

Not a bad looking facade.

Pep talk before heading in.

First impression of the interior.  The staircase and upstairs is off-limits to visitors, as it was during Elvis' time. I don't even think workers are allowed up there.  Side note = the toilet on which Elvis died is directly above the front door.

The living room.

Nice stained glass.

Elvis' parents' (actually his father and stepmother's) bedroom.

The dining room.

The kitchen, always stocked with Elvis' needs.

A mirrored-staircase leads to the basement levels.

Elvis' media room, where he'd watch his three TVs.

Three TVs... such a luxury back then, and such a common occurrence now.

My favorite room was the billiard room.

Notice anything unusual?

The entire room is covered in pleated fabric, all of which comes together at a point on the ceiling.

You can read more about the billiard room here.

The Jungle Room, one of the most famous rooms in the house, is back upstairs on the ground floor.

The Jungle Room

The mansion part of the house tour complete, it was time to head outside to the other buildings on the grounds.

Vernon Presley's office (he was Elvis' father), inside of the above building.

A look back to the mansion, which looks relatively modest.

Less modest was the trophy room, in another building.

The pool, with the Presleys' gravesite in the background.

The entryway of the racquetball court, like a country club.

The last songs Elvis ever sang featured him seated at that piano.

The rest of the racquetball court, featuring more memorabilia.  

The exterior of the racquetball court.

The Meditation Garden, where Elvis and his family are buried.

I had forgotten that Elvis was a twin, and that his brother Jessie was a stillbirth.

Elvis' mama.

Elvis's papa, who outlived him.

The King is dead...

...long live the King.

Elvis' paternal grandmother, who outlived both her son and her grandson.

Understandably, there's a line to see all of these graves.

My attempt at an artistic shot.

One last look at the exterior of the mansion before recrossing the street.

It was a fun day for my in-laws, my wife, and me.

We needed food - BBQ it had to be.

The Commissary, in Germantown, TN... "So Good Y'ull Slap Yo' Mama!"

Yum.  My mama wasn't there, so I had to slap myself.

We took the less trafficked route back to Chattanooga; appropriately enough, it was through Elvis' birth state.

Coming up next - Photo Nostalgia.  Stay tuned.

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