Sunday, October 16, 2016
Elvis Presley, the King of Pop, was born in the small town of Tupelo, Mississippi and died in Memphis, Tennessee. During our visits to both cities, we were told stories of struggles, determination, superstardom, and success. This was the life of Elvis Presley.
It’s hard to believe that the most famous musician in the world was born in a tiny shack in Tupelo, Mississippi. Elvis was a twin, but his brother Jesse was stillborn and is buried in a local cemetery. The grounds around the house were purchased by Elvis as an adult and were willed to the city after his death. There is a large visitor center that sells tickets to tour the inside of the house, or you are free to walk around the grounds and explore.
In the town is Tupelo Hardware, where Elvis wanted to buy a gun but his mother would only agree to getting him a guitar. This marked the beginning of something huge.
Across the street from Tupelo Hardware is what remains of the old Mississippi/Alabama fairgrounds. This is the place that Elvis returned home after he had become a superstar and performed a concert for thousands of screaming fans.
About two hours to the northwest is the music city of Memphis, Tennessee. This is the home of Graceland, Elvis’s primary residence. The mansion was named after the builder’s daughter, Grace, and Elvis liked it so he kept the name Graceland.
Across the street from the mansion is where all the tourist exhibits are. This is where you go to get your tour tickets, which can be customized to include however little or much as you want. This is also where you will wait for the bus to take you to the mansion tour. You’ll be given headphones and an iPad for the tour. The iPad seems a bit cumbersome to carry around at first and takes everyone a few minutes to figure out. But, as the tour progresses, it is a really well done program. Our boys loved the trivia.
The mansion is on a beautiful shaded property. Inside, each room is intricately decorated. It felt very elegant and wasn’t as dated as I expected. I actually really enjoyed all the beautiful décor.
The infamous Jungle Room looks like it was a fun place to hang out. The furniture pieces were very unique and exotic.
The backyard is a very beautiful horse property. I could imagine family and friends riding horses around or relaxing by the swimming pool.
In the backyard is where the Meditation Garden can be found. This serene area is where Elvis, his parents, and his grandmother are buried.
The racquetball court is where Elvis played piano one morning then went into the house to take a nap and never woke up.
The racquetball court now displays a lot of memorabilia.
As you leave the mansion and take the bus back to the welcome center, take a look at the brick gate and wall along the sidewalk. It is completely covered in fan graffiti with messages to Elvis. We even saw someone leaving their mark while we were there.
Back across the street where all the hustle and bustle is, there are several museums that may or may not be included in your tour. The Elvis Presley Automobile Museum showcases some of his vehicles. The Sincerely Elvis exhibit contains memorabilia and some of Elvis’s famous performance suits. The Archives Experience displays several items and more memorabilia. Elvis’s two planes, the larger passenger plane named the Lisa Marie and his private jet, are located outside. If your tour includes, you can walk through these aircraft. One of Elvis’s favorite places was Hawaii, and they loved him there. There is an exhibit dedicated to Hawaii that contains memorabilia and shows some of his performances there, including his tour of Pearl Harbor, for which he performed a benefit concert and raised a lot of money. We learned a lot about Elvis during our visits to these places. He was a very generous person who always put his family first. It’s amazing to think that he’s been gone for as long as he was alive and yet his name is still a household name. He’s probably the most impersonated person in the world. In his short life, he did incredible things. We really enjoyed our journey through time from Elvis’s birth until his death. His life story is short but fascinating.
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