Regina Arnold, of Fox World Travel, recently took a trip to Memphis, which she claims is well worth the 10 ½ hour car ride! Hear all about her experiences at Graceland, Beale Street, and Mud Island River Park and Museum here.
I had always heard wonderful things about Memphis so decided I would go for a visit and see for myself! I drove the 10 ½ hour trip with a friend and checked into the Residence Inn. Friday evening. This hotel is in an old building but the rooms have a very modern feel. The lofted bedroom was just a few steps up- not a whole floor like many Residence Inns. It gave it more of a large room feel. It had a full kitchen, granite table with two chairs and a decent sized bathroom. The rooftop lounge area was a nice plus as it had a stunning view of the Mississippi river. But best of all, it is located right in the heart of downtown Memphis, making it the perfect location for walking to Beale Street or the riverfront. There are numerous restaurants and bars in the area. Breakfast is included each day along with a “manager’s” cocktail reception that had snacks and complimentary beer and wine. The food was very good and the staff was very pleasant and accommodating.
Saturday I decided to visit Graceland, Elvis’ famous estate, which is located on Elvis Presley Blvd. about 15 minutes south of downtown Memphis. Elvis Presley Blvd. is lined with strip malls, small shops and industrial sites nearly to the doorstep of Graceland. Across the road from the house, is a display of various Elvis planes, cars and motorcycles. The Elvis ‘mansion’ is amazingly small. There are various tour options ranging from $32.00 to $77.00 per adult. I visited the mansion’s living room, dining room, guest bedrooms, the kitchen, the downstairs rec-room, the games room, and the “jungle room”, displaying his jumpsuits, gold records, and movies. Awards are displayed in the racquetball court. I particularly liked the car museum, tour of his planes and all of his zany costumes that he wore over the years. A few miles away, in East downtown is Sun Records where Elvis cut his first hit record ”That’s All Right”. The area is run down and Sun Studios is a small building but for a fee you can visit the place where many artists launched their careers. It was a great and very fascinating experience.
That evening I ate at BB King’s located on Beale Street. B.B. King Blues Club features a modern American menu, with a home-style flare that makes everyone feel welcome. The food was delicious, it had a fun atmosphere and the live music was a big plus. Instead of a table, I sat at the bar that faces Beale Street. Not only can you watch the people on the street, but you are close to the stage to hear great blues music. I thought it was reasonably priced for the portions as entrees were $15-$30 and the food was well worth it!
Sunday I took the day to hang out and experience Beale Street. Beale Street is the heart of Downtown Memphis, and the birthplace of the Blues. It offers live music venues, wonderful Southern restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and festivals. The options for things to do and see here are endless. Plus, it was walking distance to/from my hotel. I really enjoyed listening to live music. Great way to spend a Sunday!
Mud Island River Park and Museum
On Monday I visited Mud Island River Park and Museum. The cost is $10.00 and you get to ride the Monorail over and back, admission in to the museum with 18 galleries and the access to the entire River Front Park which has a lovely walk way and 5 block flowing water monument of the Mississippi River. The River Walk is an exact scale model of the Mississippi River and is one of the most unique representations it in the world. Along your journey, you’ll revisit historical events and learn about geographical transformations.
The tour is self-paced and you can rent head phones if you want, but it is just as nice to view the museum without them. There is a replica of a full size Riverboat that you get to walk on a portion of and there is a replica of one of the Ironclads from the civil war. The park is free if you don’t want to explore the museum but found it worth the $10.00 and learned a little bit of history.
There are a lot of nice displayed items of pictures, uniforms and guns/ammo. It was nicely displayed. Near the end it talks about the influence of the music, recording studios and the history of Elvis Presley. There was a gift shop if you want souvenirs. I really enjoyed it!
On Tuesday it was time to take the long drive home. Memphis is a wonderful and lively city! I really enjoyed visiting here and would love to go back someday!
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