Saturday, December 13, 2008

Memphis and Nashville!

Tennessee here we come!

When in Memphis, you must go to Graceland!

Hmmm...Where Elvis Lives?? I guess they're still hoping for an Elvis sighting!

Elvis supposedly loved Christmas and Graceland was beautifully decorated. We drove by Graceland later that night and there were many lights lining the driveway and on the house. It was stunning...

Elvis bought Graceland in 1957 for $90,000 and at that time it was out in country. Now it is situated on Elvis Presley Boulevard and tons of businesses have sprung up around it...all feeding on their proximity to Graceland.

It was originally just over 10,000 square feet but with renovations ended up at 17,000 square feet.

You enter Graceland and view the living room which is decorated in all white furniture.

No one is allowed upstairs as Elvis was a private person and they wish to respect his privacy. I think it's also due to the fact that people would love to focus on the room where he was found.

The dining room...

The kitchen which was renovated by Elvis in the 1970s. What struck me about the house was that it really did feel like a home. Although it is large, it felt very homey and nothing was "over the top."

OK...maybe the pool room was a little over the top...complete with fabric walls and ceiling...

Vernon Presley's office...Elvis's father looked after his financial affairs. Vernon was always afraid that they would lose all their money and end up broke again.

The sign outside his office that gave an indication of what he thought of all the "hangers-on."

A model of the house where Elvis grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi...

A view of Graceland from the back...

When Elvis bought Graceland, it was a 14 acre farm 10 miles outside of Memphis. There are still horses on the property...

Elvis had a "trophy" building which originally served several purposes before he turned it into a place for storage and display of awards and trophies.


Elvis only wore this gold lame outfit once...

The early years...

Mind-boggling amount of awards and gold records...we were so fortunate to visit Graceland at this time of year. I don't imagine there are many opportunities to photograph this area without someone else in the picture.

Elvis's love of jumpsuits...


Elvis and Priscilla married in 1967 in Las Vegas and then returned to Memphis to have a second wedding reception for friends and family.


Many of Elvis's jumpsuits are on display at Graceland and, in addition, there is a separate building which holds more than 50 of his jumpsuits.

Same outfit in black and white...


A portrait depicting Graceland with snow...the bus driver told us on the few occasions that they get snow, Graceland is a sight to see...

Elvis played this piano on the morning of his death. The piano is located in the racquetball building which Elvis built in the 1970s when he took up the sport and liked it so much that he built a separate building for it. It was completed in 1975 at a cost of $200,000. People could sit here and watch the racquetball games behind the glass wall opposite the piano.

The racquetball room which has been turned into another display area for all of his awards...

The Aloha from Hawaii TV show jumpsuit...

The performance was showing on a TV in the racquetball room. Elvis was reportedly very nervous about the Aloha from Hawaii show as he thought he was too overweight and that his fans wouldn't still love him...but oh they did!


The pool near the meditation area...

The meditation area was built in the 1960s and was one of Elvis's favourite places at Graceland...

This large marble cross was originally on Elvis's mother's grave in Forest Hill cemetary. He was also buried there, but due to security reasons both graves were moved to Graceland.

Flowers continue to arrive even 30 years after his death...





Elvis loved cars and a separate museum allows you to see some of his favourites...

Elvis loved motorcyles, particularly Harley Davidsons...

Elvis bought this 1956 Cadillac, which was originally white, and had it painted purple. He traded it and a fan bought it and kept it until her death in 1974. It was then restored and the owners planned to show it to Elvis but he died before the restoration was complete.

This 1960 MG was used by Elvis in Blue Hawaii and was also part of his personal collection. He was known for giving cars to friends and employees, and gave this car to his secretary who later traded it. It went through several hands before making its way back to the Presley collection.

Elvis's famous pink 1955 Cadillac. He often referred to it as Gladys's car (his mother); although she didn't drive, it was her favourite.

Priscilla's favourite car, a Mercedes 280 purchased in 1970.

Elvis's jet, the Lisa Marie, which he purchased in 1975 for $250,000. It required a crew of four and Elvis always used the same crew. Operating costs for one year were $404,000.

The dining room/boardroom on board Lisa Marie...

We were staying at a Best Western near Graceland and noticed there weren't many restaurants nearby. We asked at the desk and they recommended a restaurant called Marlowes. Marlowes has several pink Cadillac limos which they drive to various hotels picking up guests for dinner. We figured what the heck...it was a blast! The restaurant food was truly down south....hush puppies (fried stuffing), corn fritters, ribs and pecan (pe-CAHN) pie. It was so much fun. The waitress really made the night. There is no doubt that these people love to work at this restaurant. She has worked there for 9 years and says they are just like family. She wouldn't work anywhere else. A memorable evening....

From Memphis, it was on to Nashville. The Radio City Rockettes were playing at Opryland and so we thought it would be a fun Christmas show...

Nashville on the fly...

The Opryland Hotel is the largest non-casino hotel in the world and the largest hotel outside of Las Vegas. We didn't stay there...weekend rates are crazy!

The Rockettes ad on a local bus...

The original Grand Ole Opry is downtown. This whole area has sprung up around the Opryland Hotel...

The seats in the Opry House are benches (or pews) rather than seats...not sure I was crazy about that idea! One large guy at the end of our pew decided to rock back and forth in his seat for most of the show. It was a bit like having someone continually kick your seat on a plane!

It was a fun show for all ages...

We are more than halfway home! We are heading to Virginia for the next leg of the trip...

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