Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Graceland - Elvis' Home

Graceland, once the home of Elvis Presley, is located on a 13.8 acre (5.6 hectare) estate in Memphis, Tennessee.  Elvis is buried here, along with his parents, grandmother, grandson and daughter.  The estate was opened to the public as a museum in 1982 and attracts over 650,000 visitors annually.  Across the street from the house is a 200,000 square foot (15,850 square meter) entertainment center and exhibit complex that shows the life of Elvis and displays the things he loved (clothes, cars, airplanes, and motorcycles).

We start with a tour of the Graceland mansion.

Entering the complex, across to the house

We enter through the front door (with our tour group) into the living room/music room where Elvis socialized with his family and friends.

Living room/music room

Across the way is the dining room and kitchen, with all the latest appliances (for 1957), including a TV in every room and a microwave in the kitchen.

Dining room and kitchen

On the other side of the kitchen is the Jungle Room, featuring an indoor waterfall and items related to and imported from Hawaii, brought home after Elvis filmed Blue Hawaii in 1961.  Later, the Jungle Room was converted into a studio where Elvis recorded his last two albums.

Jungle Room

Descending to the basement, we enter the TV room, with three televisions so that Elvis could watch football games on all three networks simultaneously, followed by the billiard room.

TV room, billiard room

Leaving the house out the back door, we find small buildings with the office of Elvis' manager, the firing range, a smokehouse, and a racquetball court.

Manager's office, firing range

Rear view of Graceland

Racquetball building

Continuing around the building, we pass the pool and come to the Meditation Garden where Elvis and his family members are buried.

Pool and editation garden

Elvis and family

Returnining to the front of Graceland, we hop on the shuttle to take us across the street to the exhibit center and entertainment complex.

Leaving Graceland

Friday, October 27, 2023

Mud Island, Memphis

The walkway to Mud Island descends in the middle of the Mississippi River Walk, a 2,000 foot (610 meter) long model of the river that meaders around the buildings, greenways, and walkways of the park.

Mississippi River map

The Mississippi is America's mightiest river, but begins as a small creek in northwestern Minnesota.  After it is joined by the Missouri River in St. Louis, the Mississippi continues south to New Orleans, where it exits into the Gulf of Mexico, 2,350 miles (3,782 km) from its source.

Mississippi River Walk

Along the river walk are small parks and places to rest, view the river model, view the actual Missippi alongside, and read about the sections of the river.

Small parks

Stories of the river

The model Mississippi continues, alongside the real one

Toward the end of Mud Island, a 50-foot (15 meter) Memphis sign faces the waterfront of the city.

Memphis sigh

Across from the sign, paddle-wheel Memphis Riverboats are parked, offering cruises on the Mississippi.

Paddle wheel boats

Walking back toward the Mud Island pedestrian bridge, we pass the (now closed) 5,000-seat outdoor amphitheater and the boat ramp (open) to launch personal craft into the Mississippi.

Amphitheater, boat ramp

Leaving the island and crossing over the bridge, we get another great view of Bass Pro Shops before we descent into the lower levels of the structure and find the operating motors for the monorail which is also now closed.

Bass Pro Shops on the horizon

Monorail mechanicals

We exit and look back at the walkway that leads over to the Mud Island park, recreation area, and river model. 

Looking back at the walkway

Another block along, we find a fair in the park along with great views of Mud Island from the Memphis waterfront.

Fair booths, band setting up

Looking across at the Memphis sign, river barges passing by

There's certainly a lot to expore and experience here on the river and alongside the river.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Walking around Memphis, Mud Island

We head out of our hotel in  downtown Memphis, turning away from Beale Street and immediately pass through a beautiful, quiet small park in the downtown area.

Downtown park

After the park, things get more serious and we find the city hall and the federal office building, much more modern architecture than the historic buildings we've been wandering through in the downtown area.

Serious government buildings and plazas

Nearby is a monument with the flags of the nations which have, at various times, claimed the land on which the city of Memphis is located:  Spain, France, Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Confederate States.

Monument to claims, past and present

Just past the monument is a bridge to Mud Island, a small peninsula in the Mississippi River with residential space, a museum, restaurants, an amphitheater, and a 2,000 foot (610 meter) long scale model of the lower Mississippi River from Cairo, Illinois to New Orleans (called the Riverwalk).

The Mississippi River museum on Mud Island presents the history of the lower Missippi River Valley over the last 10,000 years, with over 5,000 artifacts.  We enter the pedestrian bridge and cross over.

Bridge to Mud Island

The bridge offers perspectives of the bridges across the Mississippi, the river itself, and a great view of the Bass Pro Shops pyramid megastore with 535,000 square feet that includes shopping, a hotel, restaurants, an aquarium, a cypress swamp with alligator pools and duck aviaries, a bowling alley, an archery range, a pistol range, and an outdoor observation deck at the apex.  Not to mention the BAss Pro mega store with hunting, boating, fishing, and outdoor gear.



Bass Pro Shops

A section of the Mississippi River model

Approaching the end of the bridge, we are welcomed to Mud Island with a few pictures of famous Memphis scenes

Elvis, riverboat

We head down the stairs to explore the island.