I had expected Elvis impersonators to be everywhere in Memphis, but sadly we did not see a single one, or even an overenthusiastic tourist dressed in costume. But we did see Elvis’ house, which is the next (best?) thing.
When we arrived, we were directed to choose which ticket price we wanted: $70 (yea, right!), $37 or $33. Since the cheapest ticket includes a tour of Elvis’ home, and we didn’t care about extra perks like taking a self-guided tour of Elvis’ Hawaii (what does that mean??), we went with the $33 option.
We stopped in the giftshop on the way to the bus, and found the most hilarious Elvis souvenir items. If you’ve ever wanted a “Love Me Tender Scented Candle,” an Elvis Kitchen Set, or an Elvis nightlight then they’ve got you covered!
After deciding that we didn’t actually need an Elvis jumpsuit costume (it was tempting!), we picked up our audio tour and headed to the tour bus that would take us all the way to his house. And by that I mean literally right across the street.
We pulled up to the house, which was much smaller than I had expected. We had to laugh when the guide told us that Elvis had bought it for $100,000! Also, we didn’t know this at the time, but when you walk in the entryway you’re standing directly under the location where Elvis’ body was found. Gross. Although, not as gross as how he actually died, but I’ll let you Google that.
The tour doesn’t let you go upstairs, out of “respect” for Elvis. So you only get to see about 5 or so rooms. Michelle’s theory is that they don’t allow people upstairs because they don’t want tourists creepily taking pictures of the bathroom that he died in. Yes, you heard that right. Bathroom.
Matt’s theory is that it’s off limits because Elvis is in fact still alive and living upstairs. Wouldn’t that be interesting!?
We began touring Graceland, and were impressed with the home’s impeccable design and tasteful décor.
The living room:
The dining room:
The jungle room (what, doesn’t every house have one??):
Yes, that’s carpet on the floor and ceiling!
The lounge (Elvis had 3 TVs installed when he heard that President Lyndon Johnson watched 3 news stations at once):
The poolroom (that’s fabric on the walls and ceiling):
And my personal favorite, the stairway with carpet everywhere:
Apparently carpeted walls just scream “climb me!”
After witnessing the magic that is Elvis’ former home, we headed to the backyard.
Across the lawn (and around Elvis’ gravestone… no, not kidding) there are other buildings that house Elvis’ many, many, many awards.
There were even displays featuring Elvis toys, games, and dolls. Well, we think the doll was supposed to be Elvis, it was a little weird looking.
There were even costumes on display.
This was my personal favorite:
The museum portion was interesting, but I hated how it only told one side of the story. It showed Elvis’ accomplishments, pictures and videos of his wife Pricilla and his children, and talked about his charity work. Nothing was mentioned about his infidelity, divorce, drug use, or weight gain. There wasn’t a single picture of him when he was heavier, or even a larger costume. The background secrets of Elvis’ life are so interesting, and I really wish that they would have been included. Instead, Graceland had an almost religious reverence for the person that Elvis was.
I do have to say, for all the weirdness that is Graceland, the people working there were some of the most friendly and helpful people that I’ve ever come across. But sadly that was the only fantastic aspect of the place.
All in all, Graceland felt like a weird shrine to Elvis, and left out anything substantive about him. I’m glad we went, but I will not be coming back.
Luckily, Matt, Emma and Michelle can make anything fun, and I enjoyed going through the estate with them and talking about all of the things that we found interesting, funny, and strange.
Now back to downtown Memphis. BBQ anyone?
For all of my Memphis travel posts, click here.