Wednesday (Day 1): Left home after work (late afternoon) and drove ~5 hours! We all rode together in our van (my parents came along on the trip, too) and a major highlight of this first evening was listening to Elvis music and other 50s-60s music on the ride down! I played DJ from the front seat and fielded requests from my parents and kept finding great, old tunes. We all sang along and it was so fun. 🙂 We finally stopped somewhere in southern Illinois at a Days Inn along the highway, got some dinner near the hotel and then went to bed!
Thursday (Day 2): We had about 4 hours left to go. Ivan drove the whole way and made better time than if I had driven. 😉 Ha. We got to Memphis just after 12:00 or so. Ethan was starving and we had plans for the afternoon, so we pulled off at a Chick Fil A and got take out and ate in the car quickly. Fueled up, we drove straight to our VRBO condo that I had rented. It was located just a couple blocks from downtown and it was perfect for us.
Major highlights: a private garage (bigger city= parking issues generally…many hotels charge a daily parking fee OR do the valet parking which makes it a hassle to get your car when you want it), THREE bathrooms (each bedroom w/ private bath), and it was very modern/ decorated cutely.
Since it was a shorter trip, I wanted to take full advantage of the first day. After unloading our stuff, we headed straight out and walked the few blocks to Sun Studio. This is probably the most famous original recording studio in Memphis, and is most well known for being the place that Elvis Presley walked into as a kid, asking for a chance to play for them. After the audition, the owner, Sam Phillips, almost said, “nah” and planned to pass on him, but when he heard Elvis casually jamming to “It’s Alright” with his band during a break, his ears perked up and he (fortunately) changed his mind. The rest is history!!! Crazy! I guess sometimes it really does just take one lucky break….. 🙂
Sun Studio offers a guided tour which was great- our guide was wonderful. Then you get to actually stand in THE studio where Elvis auditioned, and where many other great artists have recorded, such as Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and more recently, Bruno Mars and Maroon 5!
From Sun Studio, we walked ~10 minutes downtown to the famous Peabody Hotel. It is a fancy, historic hotel that is known for the “Peabody ducks”- ducks who live on the roof of the hotel, but march down each morning to swim in the (indoor) fountain in the hotel lobby all day. Then they retreat each evening with a special ceremony. It’s just a silly little thing, but if you’re in Memphis, you have to see the ducks! The hotel was just gorgeous, too.
After the duck ceremony, we checked out the rest of the hotel (they have a little “memorabilia room” on the 2nd floor with history of the hotel and its roots in Memphis). Finally, we took the elevator up to the rooftop to see the “Duck Palace” (enclosure where the ducks sleep at night) and views of Memphis from the roof!
From the Peabody, we walked a couple blocks over to Beale Street, which is the famous entertainment zone of Memphis. It’s mostly a street lined with live music bars and restaurants, but a few shops, too.
Being Thursday night, it was pretty dead when we got over there around 6:30 p.m. We took a bunch of pictures, wandered around and then found a cool looking place that had a) live music b) a really fun looking atmosphere and c) allowed kids/ had a kids menu and d) wasn’t overly crowded or anything. Perfect.
They also advertised that they apparently had “world famous BBQ”, so I was game for that. 🙂
We had the best time!! The piano player was SO GOOD and he played and sang non-stop for the almost 2 hours that we were there. (We had to watch him through big plexi glass shields that hung on either side of him, but oh well! Still in covid times. At least there was music and the food was good!). Turns out that Beale St. got super busy on Friday and Saturday, so I was so, so, so grateful that we ended up getting to eat/ hear music on Thursday when it was so quiet. This was our only “night out” on Beale St. of the trip.
By the time we left, it was after 9:00 and Beale St. was all lit up! Still very quiet, but it was fun to see all the neon lights. Other places did have musicians playing as we walked by, too. We walked back to our condo, hung out for a little bit (Asher and I played Skip Bo) and then called it a night! Considering it was a “half day”, I was thrilled with how much fun we fit into one afternoon. 😊😊😊
(Obviously, I am going into quite a bit of detail, so I will break up these recaps into multiple posts!! Stay tuned for the recap of Graceland and more tomorrow. 🙂 )
I am grateful for warm weather moving in this weekend for Easter!