On the start of our only full day in Memphis we got up ate the free hotel breakfast then got ready for the day! During our hotel chill time the day before we decided to book a tour of the town. I really am one of those people who enjoy a good tour! I love learning about the local culture of the places I visit and I think it’s a great thing to do when traveling somewhere for the first time.
We took the trolley to Beale Street to meet up with our tour group and had a little time to kill before it started. When we first saw Beale Street I was kinda shocked. I mean this was supposed to be “the place” to go in Memphis?!?! I was SO GLAD we didn’t shell out a lot of money to stay in a hotel near that area. We quickly realized it was not our kind of seen. Bars, booze, and boobs were everywhere we looked haha. We took a couple pictures but didn’t actually venture down the street very far. We popped in a few shops then just waited for the tour to start!
The tour we decided to take was the Backbeat Tour. It’s a music tour where you ride a bus and learn about the town and the history while singing songs from local artists. Sounded like a great time to us!
Our tour guide was so awesome! She sang and played guitar and had a really cool personality! Plus she was rockin a boot on her foot so you know I instantly connected with her haha
They handed out musical instruments so we could participate in the fun!
The bus took us all around town in about two hours! We got to see all the major sites and sing some awesome songs along the way…
This was Elvis’ home and the window behind the branches was his childhood bedroom. SO AWESOME. What was even neater to me was that BB King actually lived down the street from Elvis. Isn’t that just such a small world?!?!
If we’d had time I totally would have loved to have toured St Jude’s Hospital. Think of ALL the lives that have been saved inside this building! So awesome! Someday I also hope to tour the Aflac Cancer Center in Atlanta. I’ve heard it’s a life changing experience and I’m so proud that our family represents such an amazing company that does so much for others. A neat little piece of trivia our tour guide told us is that a good amount of the doctors on staff at St Jude’s were once patients there!
This is a far away picture of Sun Studio where Rock and Roll was born!
This is Sam Phillips Recording Studio. He owned Sun Records and started up another studio just down the street. It is still a very popular recording studio and we actually saw Jerry Lee Lewis’ guitar players car parked out front!
This is where Elvis did his very first performance. It was the first time the world got to see Elvis’ famous leg shaking dance move as well! It was at Overton Shell Park on July 30, 1954. A little history about that famous dance move…Elvis had actually attended his high school prom at The Peabody Hotel (yes, where we saw the ducks!) and didn’t dance AT ALL. He was very very shy and didn’t know how to dance. Isn’t that crazy…a guy who was so famous for his dancing didn’t actually know how to dance? Also another interesting fact about his first performance…he was an opening act and only had planned one song. It was SUCH a hit and the crowd was going SO wild that the producers told him to go back out and sing another song! He was so nervous he just sang the same song again for a second time haha!
One year later to the day Elvis was the main act performing on that same stage and a new artist opened for him. That artist was actually Johnny Cash!
This was Johnny Cash’s home and was actually used in filming Walk The Line.
The song “Blue Suede Shoes” was inspired by a story Johnny Cash told about military guys calling their boots their “blue suede shoes”. Then one night Carl Perkins was performing and saw a couple dancing together and the guy had blue suede shoes on and was struggling on the dance floor with his date. Carl overheard the guy say to her “you can do anything but don’t step on my blue suede shoes.” Hearing that inspired the song and he actually wrote it that night on a potato sack!
Another famous recording studio: Stax
Part of the tour went by the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr was shot and killed. It’s interesting to me how they left everything there as it was that day and now have the Civil Rights Museum as part of the hotel. We only drove by briefly but I did get several pictures.
Civil Rights Museum
BB King Club!
Jamming out 😉
Once the tour ended Casey decided she had natural directional skills and that we would just walk to the National Civil Rights Museum. Being a history high school teacher it was a “must visit” on her list and I was down to go but we quickly realized Casey was not as skilled as she thought she was with her direction skills. We got into a shady part of town pretty quickly and decided to turn back, eat some lunch, then ride the trolley to the museum area!
We did pass Gibson Guitar’s Factory on our adventure 😉
When we were standing at the start of Beale Street trying to decide where to eat this man kept hounding us about eating at the restaurant we were standing in front of. He, of course, claimed they have the best BBQ. Haha. Casey and I aren’t good with peer pressure situations apparently because we caved pretty quickly and decided to eat there. Not before having the dude take our picture though 🙂
We’re rebels: No BBQ for us!
On our way back to the trolley we ran into The King!!!
Memphis has two trollies. One just goes back and forth down the same street and the other does a big circle around the city. I read several places that it was a good way to get a look of everything the city had to offer, including great views of the Mississippi River! We decided to go ahead and jump on that trolley, see some of the city scenes, then get off at a stop near the Civil Rights Museum. It ended up being a bit longer of a trip than we had anticipated as we got stuck sitting at some trolley station place for like 30 min…but we made the best of it and had a little photo shoot 😉
Don’t lie: you’re totalllllly jealous of our matching outfits haha
Once we got to the Lorraine Motel I felt a little awkward just walking up and taking pictures? But so many other people were doing it that I joined in the crew. I def didn’t have either of us in the photos though. I felt like it would be disrespectful! It reminded me of when Zach and I went to the 911 Ground Zero area and took some pictures but we didn’t know if we should be smiling in them? Or frowning? Or looking serious? It was odd.
His car still parked out front
Room where he was staying when shot.
The WHOLE trip I kept saying Civil WAR museum instead of Civil RIGHTS museum. It’s an easy mistake to make right? Or am I just dumb?
We went inside the gift shop and thought this shirt was really cool! Loved it! They also had some great kids books about Martin Luther King Jr and if they hadn’t been dang $14 I would have totally bought one for the kids! My parents did a great job raising my brother and I to see everyone as equal and not judge others based on skin color. I want to do the same with my children and know it will be a tough thing to do living in the south. It’s CRAZY to me how much racism is still so alive. I pray it will be better for future generations.
We didn’t pay the admission to go into the full museum but were able to see parts of it for free!
By the time we were done we were both feeling sluggish and in need of some Spark but didn’t have any on us so we decided to make a coffee stop 🙂 Like legit we both could have passed out on the tables haha. It was a pretty hilarious little adventure though. First we saw a homeless guy out front who caught a random duck and put it in a bucket. We weren’t sure if he was going to keep it as a pet or if he was going to try to profit from it or something like his own version of the Peabody ducks?!?! It was so sad! And SO random.
And then there was this couple. It was super strange and I was mega jealous that Casey had the seat with the view of them. They were INTENSELY making out and rubbing all over each other. So much so that we thought maybe they were doing some odd type of social experiment?
For being on a girls’ trip we did VERY little shopping. We were both on a cheap cheap mission 🙂 We did stop in American Apparel. I’ve shopped from their site before and thought it’d be a cute store. Um…it was like we got teleported back to 1988. Legit. EVERYTHING was straight up 80’s style. I couldn’t believe it!!!!! Check out the clothes these women are rocking! I mean I’m all about a little vintage mixed in but full on 80s is toooo much. They even had scrunchies for sale!
I sent this to Zach in a text and said I was getting him a prize 😉
Totally tempted to steal this hat haha
We got back to the hotel and had a nice visit with some ladies in the lobby. We ended up hooking them up with some coupons a random person gave us to a place that supposedly has “the best bbq in Memphis.” Hopefully they used the coupons and enjoyed themselves!
We had checked out of our hotel that morning and they held our luggage for us during the day. They called a taxi for us and we headed to our next destination: The Heartbreak Hotel!!!
When I was hunting for hotel rooms for us I saw this place and figured, why not? I mean if we’re gonna go to Memphis we gotta do it RIGHT!!! They had a package deal that included premium tickets to Graceland, they provided free transport to the airport, and they were located within walking distance of The King’s mansion. It really made the most sense and provided a super authentic Elvis experience for us!
The rooms were great! Elvis pics on the walls, blue suede pillows, and Elvis channel on tv that played nothing but Elvis’ songs!!!
We should go to Vegas and be Elvis impersonators. We totally missed our calling!
Included in our welcome packet was an add for a nearby restaurant that said they would pick us up at the hotel for free if we ate there and we’d get to ride in a pink limo. DUH. We were IN! We took our time getting all fixed up cute for our big limo night (and yes, let the tv blare some Elvis to get us in the groove) and headed down to go!
They have a special pink phone in the lobby to call the restaurant!
Waiting on the limo means more time for pictures! The lobby was AWESOME!
Old School tv!
PINK LIMO TIMEEEEEE
Casey’s last name being Bacon and all we had to get a picture in front of the HUGE pig out front of the restaurant 🙂 Thankful for nice random strangers who didn’t mind helping us out!
Yet another place claiming to be “the best BBQ.” I guess this Guy Fieri dude is supposed to be proof that a place has legit food? I don’t watch his show on Food Network but Zach does and said a TON of places in Memphis are always on it. I guess where we ate for dinner was one of them!
Again, we skipped out on BBQ haha. But OMG the corn fritters were amazing. This was my favorite meal of the trip and it was just a sandwich haha but it was a GOOD one!!!
Gotta live it up since our guys weren’t there to have to share with 😉
Being so close to Graceland it was no surprise that the restaurant was COVERED in Elvis stuff. Getting us ready for our BIG Elvis day coming up!
We’re too cheap to buy souvenirs so we just take pics of the stuff we’d like to buy instead haha
We got back to the room and watched Titanic (and looked up funny Titanic stuff on Pinterest) and talked and went to sleep! Had to rest up for our visit to THE KING’S HOUSE the next day! Whoop whoop!