Clous at Graceland in Memphis, TN
James, on the other hand, has more discerning taste. As his father always says, "it is not elitist to have good taste." James prefers natural settings, parks, or really anywhere he is not confined to a stroller or car seat. Graceland was a little crowded and not the place to set James free, lest he destroy some precious Elvis memorabilia and set his parents back thousands of dollars.
Self-portrait in the mirrored ceiling in the TV room
Speaking of destroying priceless memorabilia, in the photo above James and I are sitting on bar stools that we are forbidden from sitting on or even touching. We got politely chastised after this photo was taken.
Graceland's famous Jungle Room with green shag on the ceiling
Me and James in Elvis's Hall of Gold Records
The Graceland house itself was much smaller than I imagined. It's called a mansion, but the house itself isn't really that large. The property itself is large, and there are some other buildings on the property so altogether it's a pretty big size, but the house itself is modest for a music legend. Here's something else I didn't love about Graceland, we could tour the first floor and the basement of the house, but the top floor with Elvis's bedroom and bathroom are off limits because of family privacy. Does anyone still live in this house? Wouldn't a real Elvis fan want to see his bedroom more than any other place? Especially since the house isn't that big, leaving the entire upstairs off the tour feels like a rip-off. This might be a good place to mention that each Graceland ticket costs a whopping $32, and that doesn't usually include admission to the other exhibits like the car and airplane exhibits. (With the coupon we had you actually can get admission to all of those things for $32, but still.)
James gets some playtime in Graceland's backyard.
We're not sure if this allowed, but no one stopped us.
For some reason, Elvis's grave is by the swimming pool. Hm.
The better-known car exhibit and the plane exhibit were decent, but some of the other exhibits were a stretch, so we left without seeing all of them. There are also 100 different gift shops on the property, strategically placed so that you cannot skip them. I think we went into 6 different gift shops, no joke. The sad thing is, I might have bought something, but the children's gifts were not great. This despite having a dedicated children's gift shop!
One of Elvis's many cars
Outside the plane Elvis named the Lisa-Marie
Inside the plane
The different tickets also had a super-expensive choice that included a trolley ride out to Sun Studio and some other places. We declined that, but drove past Sun Studio just to check it out. Maybe a tour of the inside would have been nice, but parking was a little dodgy in the area.
We drove by Sun studios
Finally, the part Kevin was most excited about in Memphis-- Charles Vergo's Rendezvous BBQ restaurant. Holy cow, this was our 7th and final BBQ of the trip. It's a little unfair to compare this one to the others because it's dry rub style in Memphis, and because we got the pork ribs and brisket instead of the pulled pork sandwich, but this easily made it to close to the top of our list if not the very top. Again, this was a real restaurant, but James behaved well enough for us to scarf up our meal, and he didn't even puke this time. Of course, sometimes James somewhat-good behavior comes at a price, I had to feed him food and about 100 little sips of water from my straw to keep him quiet, but I would gladly do it again to eat here.