Visiting Graceland is something I've wanted to do for a lifetime. Way before living in the US was even a remote consideration, let alone possibility for me. Everything about Elvis is the America I fantasized about, and to this day reflects my vintage sensibilities, love for romance and for kitsch. Elvis is fairly responsible for all of this.
I also think he was one of the most handsome and talented men that ever lived. So there's that (seriously - Elvis in his early movie days...hottest thing ever)
So, obviously, Graceland (and by default, Memphis) had to be a stop on our #DixieTrip.
I'd been warned that Graceland was "not what you expect" before I arrived - and it certainly wasn't the ostentatious sprawling mansion that we've come to expect of the celebs of this decade - but it's definitely a size-able, and beautiful home.
They let tours in small group by small group, to make sure it's not overwhelmed by visitors, and your guide is an audio guide which can be paused at anytime. We deliberately fell behind our designated group, and took the time to really take in the place, and take unobstructed pictures for your viewing pleasure - I highly recommend you doing the same should you visit. We were there on a Tuesday...a slow day, and it still felt crowded at times.
The first stop is the living room.
Aren't the colours amazing? I can't decide whether I love the peacocks, the clock or the TV the most. SO pristine and yet oddly inviting, the knick knacks and family pictures make it a home. Now who's going to do my oil painting portrait?
Whilst I'm sure Elvis' parents bedroom isn't on anyone's Graceland checklist, it is the only bedroom you'll be seeing on the tour, Elvis' bedroom is private, as is the entire upstairs portion of the home.
The real treat was the bathroom, yes I want the poodle wallpaper and the powdery pink tiles, and the peek into Gladys Presley's wardrobe.
Click through for even more pics from my trip to Graceland, including the jets and the cars!
Memorabilia exhibited in the on site museum. Obviously I want everything.
Inside Vernon Presley's office. You know that sign is going up in my office.
The Jets! I've actually had the privilege to fly on a private jet a few times now - and as luxurious as they were, they weren't like this. This jet had gold plated faucets and a full size bed (where we learned Elvis loved to read *swoon*)
The TCB on the plane? That's his catchphrase "Taking Care of Business, in a Flash". Yeah I think it's awesome too.
For someone who doesn't drive, I sure do like cars, so the additional Car Museum was a highlight. I think maybe I'm just waiting for the car to prompt getting my license. Any of these will do the trick (especially the Mercedes!)
Overall we had a really special day - it was so exciting to see where Elvis lived and played. I think in places the home and the museums were looking a little sad - obviously I'm not talking about Graceland itself, but the way in which it's merchandised, the signage, the museums, the restaurants, the gift shops, the "Heartbreak Hotel" (which resembled a prison block) all could do with an update (even the merchandise itself, which I imagine is a licensing issue). I'm a big gift shop fan - always have been, and I couldn't find a single thing I wanted to buy. What would be amazing is if they could re-release all the kitschy vintage memorabilia. That I would buy.
Memphis is one of the more economically depressed areas of the US - yet Graceland, even on a Tuesday in June, was busy - and with adult tickets starting at $32 - they must be bringing in a good revenue (not to mention the revenue of the estate itself). I get disappointed when things don't meet the maximum potential they could and the experience could be a million times better.
None of this is to demean the overall experience, it's absolutely worth a trip and there's no other way to get such a full Elvis experience - enjoyable for both fans and cultural history buffs.
Our ticket, the Platinum ticket at $36, which included the jets and the cars, as well as the other museums, was absolutely worth the additional $4 (full disclosure - our tickets were courtesy of the press office - for the purposes of this article) - full info on tickets is available on the website, along with virtual tours and tons of other Elvis and Graceland info!