I've never considered myself a huge fan of "The King," but when I said yes to a quick trip to Memphis, I knew Graceland would have to be on the agenda.
(Because really? It's AMERICANA at its absolute best. When am I ever going to see this again??)
And Graceland? Is awesome.
We arrived fairly early in the morning in an effort to beat the crowds, though Mondays appear to be the best time to go to Graceland to do so regardless.
Especially if you're over 70.
Graceland is amazing in that it's an entire museum and gift shop extraordinnare cobbled together on what once was a normal street. Despite the fact it stands a mere 100 yards or so away, you must board a short bus (having donned your self-touring headphone set) to be escorted across the street and up the driveway, where you are greeted by a Graceland employee who assures you that you'll be able to tour the house "at your leisure," while lining you up to enter and directing you to take your photos when you're done with the tour, NOT before, because they are UNLOADING THE BUSES HERE.
The house itself takes a relatively short time to go through, as you're not allowed to go upstairs, and definitely introduces you to the sense of reverence people in Memphis get when they talk about The King. This is NOT the Elvis of Vegas- this is their BOY.
Their boy with a 15-ft white leather couch in his peacock-themed front room.
With a fully carpeted kitchen, ohyesthankyou, all the rage in the 1970s.
With a pool room completely covered in pleated fabric on the walls and ceilings, otherwise known as "quite possibly the best place on the planet to do LSD."
And of course, the Jungle Room.
I have to confess, not what I expected. Along the way I'd sort of forgotten that Elvis' house was basically just abandoned and then preserved in the 1970s, and that what would have made something cool back then does not neccessarily mean cool....now.
Like green shag carpeting.
Carved fake wooden tree trunks as furniture.
It was awesome.
Elvis is actually buried outside the house, along with his parents and grandmother, and a marker (though not the remains) of his twin. Here's the part that amazed me: all the FLOWERS! Apparently, flowers still arrive daily from various fans and friends around the world. The week we were there, flowers arrived from his Italian fan club as well as several South American clubs.
Graceland goes on to showcase the grounds, the racquetball court-turned-trophy room, the museum in which all his gold records and other accolades hang (seeing the actual gold record for some of his songs?!? awesome), the car museum where the PINK CADILLAC is, along with about 10 other amazing cars, a showcase of his various costumes, and of course, his two private planes.
One of which features a sink with inlaid gold.
You know, just like mine.
We stayed at Graceland for a fairly serious amount of hours before deciding that we were Elvis-ed out, not in the least because Elvis tunes were being piped through our self-guiding-earbuds as well as the speakers around the place the entire time we were there. Little did we know that later that night, we'd see a performance channeling the King.....