My family took a road trip recently to Oklahoma to see our daughter’s long-time boyfriend graduate from Army Basic Training at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. We stopped at several interesting locations along the way. This series of posts is to document those stops and share what we experienced with all of you.
PART ONE of this series shared our first stop along the way in Nashville, Tennessee. If you want to read that post, click HERE. I will be updating all posts with links to the others in the series.
PART TWO documents our first day in Memphis during which we visited the Rock ‘N Soul Museum, walked downtown Memphis and ate dinner at B.B. King’s Blues Club. You can see that post HERE.
Our second day in Memphis, Tennessee found us touring Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. There are several levels of tours available. The more expensive of these included tours of Elvis’ planes among other perks. We chose to just visit the mansion, Graceland, and also paid a bit extra for the iPad self-tour option. We had about 30-40 minutes before our scheduled tour time, so we hit one of the gift shops on site. We found a nice Elvis Christmas ornament to take home for my mother-in-law as a gift. She’s a huge Elvis fan, who has toured Graceland herself. My daughter purchased some postcards at the shop, at the request of her boyfriend’s mother, who is a teacher in an elementary school. She asked us for postcards from each stop on our road trip, to be added to her own trip information and used in her classroom as an instructional tool for her students.
We then got in the line to board the tour buses which take guests across the street to the mansion. First, as we moved through the line, there is a camera set up to take pictures of guests (which you can purchase at the end of the tour if you wish). Then as you progress through the line closer to the tour buses, we were given iPads with headphones that guide you through the tour and feature extra pictures, video and an audio commentary about different areas of the house and grounds. The tour bus drops guests in front of Graceland.
I guess I’m too used to seeing mansions on TV as these huge behemoths — huge cavernous buildings. Graceland simply looks like a very large house to me. But, thinking about homes in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s I realize that back then, this was probably much larger than the average domestic domicile. An interesting tidbit I learned on the tour is that Elvis didn’t give Graceland it’s name. The property was already named Graceland when Elvis purchased the property, and he liked the name so much he kept it.
From the entryway, one looks right into the living room with the music room on the far end.
Other areas of the home included in the tour are Elvis’ grandparents’ bedroom, the kitchen, TV Room, Game Room, Jungle Room, carport, Office (in a building behind the main house), areas in which awards, records and photos were on display. Only the main floor and basement levels of the mansion were accessible to tourists, the stairs leading to the upstairs were blocked from entry. One thing I remember finding interesting from the audio tour of the dining room is that it stated that when the family is in town they still like to gather around the dining room table for a family meal. Wow! I had no idea that the family still used the home, and it made me feel grateful that the family makes even part of the home available for tours for those who visit.
Obviously, I took a ton of photos during the tour. Here are a few:
I hope you have enjoyed this small sampling of my experience touring Graceland. If you ever find yourself in the Memphis, Tennessee area this tour is a wonderful way to experience Elvis Presley’s private world and imagine him, his family and friends in that setting. I have not ever been a huge Elvis fan, though I do enjoy his music and watching programs about him. This experience has increased my interest in learning even more about Elvis and his family, Graceland, and his career.
Stay tuned for Part Four of this series as my family visits Little Rock, Arkansas and tours the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library.
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