I love to combine business and pleasure. So, when I had to attend a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, a few years ago, I decided to take some vacation around it and travel to New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville. Of course I had to go to Graceland! Here’s my story.
No trip to Memphis is complete without visiting Graceland. In honor of His Kingness and his legacy, I hopped in a taxi to see how Elvis used to live and to pay my respects. Upon arrival at the visitor center you can buy a ticket and choose what you want to see: only parts of the estate, or everything there is to experience, including special exhibits, Elvis’ cars and planes and of course the walhalla: the mansion. I bought an access all areas ticket, and started of with the mansion. With my audio tour at the ready, I was driven across the road with a small group of other visitors in a shuttle van.
It is a precious feeling to walk in the footsteps of Elvis and enter the mansion where he used to live and where he died. The infamous bathroom where Elvis met his fate can’t be visited and neither can the bedrooms, but there is still plenty to see, such as the jungle room, the living room, the kitchen, the entertainment room and the tv room. The audio guide gives excellent explanations along the way. The rooms are sensationally decorated, reflecting Elvis’ colorful personality.
Besides the mansion itself, the estate contains a lot of background paraphernalia on Elvis himself, his family and his career, including hints to his deteriorating well-being along the course of his career. For me, one of the most striking items on display – showing how he gives his fans his all – is a picture of Elvis slumped down against a wall, exhausted after a show.
The museum also shows various awards and many sparkly costumes. Elvis is buried at Graceland, next to his parents and grandmother. The museum’s memorial garden also honors the memory of Elvis’ stillborn twin brother, Jesse Garon.
Back across the road from the mansion are some additional exhibits, Elvis’ cars and his planes.
Upon leaving, I felt both happy and sad. Happy for the joy Elvis Presley has given so many people through his music and grateful I got to experience a slice of this, but sad about the toll his career eventually took on him. May he rest in peace and continue rocking up a storm in heaven.