Ever heard Marc Cohn’s Walking in Memphis?
Put on my blue suede shoes and
I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
Over spring break we took a day-trip to Memphis – on a bus – but it was raining! I confess, we didn’t have a spring break trip planned this year. Too many different things going on, but my husband just started a new job and one part of his training included a bus tour of Memphis! Our youngest daughter and I got to ride along.
Our tour guides started us off at the local McDonald’s because, well, I’m not sure why, but I know the bus smelled like bacon and coffee and that’s a pretty nice way to start the day! It rained most of the day, but that just fit in with the song.
Our first stop was Mud Island. We drove through the residential area and along the shoreline of the Mississippi River. The river definitely lived up to its’ name – The Big Muddy. The Mississippi is the second longest in the United States, and there are almost five miles of public land in the Memphis area. We stopped at the Tennessee State Welcome Center and got to “see” BB King and Elvis. **Tip – if you visit, don’t touch the statues! They have alarms!
Then we got to visit the Peabody Hotel home of the Peabody Memphis Ducks. The Peabody duck show isn’t like anything you’ve ever seen. The concept started back in the early 1930s with a couple men and a little too much Jack Daniel’s whiskey. The men thought it would be funny to put a few live duck decoys in the Peabody fountain. It wasn’t long before the Peabody brought in a circus animal trainer and 5 mallards and the ducks were trained to do the “Peabody Duck March.” Over 80 years later, the ducks still march to lobby’s beautiful fountain every day at 11am and then back to their rooftop Royal Duck Palace at 5pm.
We stopped in at AutoZone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds. We also got to go inside the FedEx Forum where the Memphis Grizzlies play, not to mention hosting a ton of cool concerts! One of our favorite stops was for lunch; Central BBQ down by the Civil Rights Museum (an amazing museum that I highly recommend) is known for their BBQ nachos. I was almost drooling when our tour guide told us about them! I had them without jalapenos, but my daughter loved that spiciness!
I really wanted a nap after that yummy BBQ, but we took a walk down Beale Street instead and visited A Schwab, the only original business remaining on Beale Street. Their motto – If you can’t find it at A Schwab, you’re probably better off without it – might be true. It’s a dry goods store with touristy/Memphis memorabilia as well as all kinds of quirky things including hoodoo stuff. Some of it’s pretty “out there,” but it’s so fun to look around.
What tour isn’t complete without driving by Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home. On one side of the street is the museum, shops, and Elvis’ two jets – the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II. Across the street, set back behind a graffiti-strewn wall is Graceland. I’ve been inside, although not on this trip. It’s not a huge mansion as you might expect. More of a two-story home with a basement; but it’s been transformed into Elvis’ playhouse. No disrespect to The King of Rock ‘N Roll!
I saw the ghost of Elvis on Union Avenue
Followed him up to the gates of Graceland
Then I watched him walk right through
Now, security did not see him
They just hovered round his tomb
But there’s a pretty little thing
Waiting for the King
And she’s down in the jungle room
To round out our tour we stopped in at the Krispy Kreme down the street. Oh my! Talk about yummy! They were making iced blueberry donuts while I was eating my raspberry-filled donut. Then I found this awesome onesie for our newest grandbaby!
Memphis is a city of adventure! There are so many other places we drove by that are day-trips in their own right: The Pink Palace – home of Clarence Saunders, founder of the Piggly Wiggly; the Lichterman Nature Center – features a Backpack Wildlife Center, nature walks, festivals, etc.; Overton Square – chock full of places to eat, listen to music, and shop; Sun Studio – the birthplace of rock ‘n roll; the Memphis Zoo – one of the top zoos in the country; and the newest addition to the city, Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid which has the largest Bass Pro Shop, plus a hotel, observation deck, arcade shooting gallery, and much more!
Wherever you live, I bet there’s a day-trip adventure waiting close by! Happy Spring Break 2016!