Peace in the Valley at Graceland

Graceland – Home of Elvis Presley. What could be more American?!  I was excited about our visit to Graceland and had been listening to Elvis music in preparation. I had a belly full of tacos and was ready to go!

GracelandWhen you arrive at Graceland you are ushered into a tourist complex with Elvis-themed diners and exhibitions. You have to take a bus across the road and up the hill to the house itself. The house was beautiful and we followed an audio-tour around the rooms, taking in the baby-grand piano, mirrored walls, the “TCB” on the wall (Elvis’ saying – Taking Care of Business), and the infamous Jungle Room, which was rather tacky (sorry Elvis!) with stuffed animals and animal-themed furniture.

Lounge, GracelandWe enjoyed going on Elvis’ private planes; many of the trimmings eg seatbelts and the basin, were made of gold! We watched videos of him performing various songs on concert, which were quite lovely.

Private Jet, GracelandIt was interesting to see his costumes and gold discs and his private racketball court at the back of the house. I found it really sad and reverent to see his grave, alongside those of his parents.

Elvis' Grave, GracelandOnce again, we had to wait for the bus back down from the house, and we were instructed that we were not allowed to walk the 2 minutes down the hill to the visitors centre. (Quite frustrating standing in a queue to take you the grand old distance of about 2 minutes walk – why can’t they build a bridge over the road?!)

I enjoyed my visit to Graceland, however, I felt that it was basically a shrine to Elvis, rather than a museum. So it didn’t mention anything “bad”. The family’s graves were at the end of the exhibition, and the grave for Elvis’ twin brother was the first I had heard that he was a twin. There was also some mention of Elvis being in Germany, but no explanation about why he was there. There was no mention of how Elvis died. I don’t want to be insensitive – it is his house after all, and most of the visitors will be Elvis Fans. But I left Graceland intrigued and feeling that I would have to “google” him to find out the answers to these questions. That is not what I would expect to feel after spending several hours in a museum about this very topic.

After that, we went to the famous Heartbreak Hotel, just to poke our noses in and have a little look around the lobby. I was excited to find that it is actually on Lonely Street – like in the song “at the end of Lonely Street, at Heartbreak Hotel”. I had thought that was just a metaphor but it’s an actual street! (unless it was named after the song?!).

Anyway, after the whole experience, I am definitely a big Elvis Fan!

Travel Tips:

  • Allow a morning or afternoon if you want to do everything – ie. take in the audio-guide, look round the planes, see the car exhibitions etc. However if you are just interested in the house, an hour or two will suffice. Only the ground floor and basement are open which is a sum total of about 6 rooms, which can be done quite quickly. However this will depend on crowds etc!
  • Consider visiting Al Green’s gospel church which is less than 5 minutes drive away.

Next blog:  Ducks and Guitars in Memphis, USA

Previous blog: Gospel Church, Memphis, USA

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