It was such a thrill to share this place with my own family all these years later!
After driving most of Monday and spending the night in the Elvis-crazy hotel, we were REALLY ready to see Graceland! (Listening to songs by and about Elvis on the drive up didn't hurt, either.)
When I visited Graceland back in 1991, guides led tourists through the house. Now, with the massive crowds that go through the mansion, audio tours keep guests informed as they roam from room to room, building to building.
We got our Acoustiguides and boarded the shuttle to go across the street and behind the wall to see this:
The bulk of the tour photos are in the slide show at the end of this post, but here are the highlights:
The basement stairs
Everybody always says the house is smaller than you'd think, and I guess by "mansion" standards, that's true. Still, Brett decided that he could definitely see himself living here. Quirky rooms, plenty of darkness in the basement... Yep, that'd work!
That lightning bolt is a motif Elvis used in several places. It represents his slogan, "Taking care of business in a flash."
Back behind the house is this office where Elvis' father ran the business. Playing on an old TV over on the filing cabinets is an interview conducted with Elvis close to that very spot.
Most of the pictures from this part of the tour are in the slide show below, but I had to include the gold lamé suit. This suit is what inspired "our" Elvis' costume when we renewed our wedding vows in Vegas.
It really is an incredible buildling, but not all of the displays are there. Some are across the way in the old racquetball court:
From that building we were led to the meditation garden where we saw the graves of Elvis, his parents and his grandmother. (There's also a marker to acknowledge his twin brother who was stillborn.)
It was moving to see the tributes that are there and to imagine the millions of people who have walked past this spot to remember the incredible musician who changed the entertainment world.
Back across the street, we visited the other exhibits that were part of our ticket price.
Several photos in the slide show are from the automobile museum. We enjoyed seeing the different vehicles and watching the short film about Elvis and cars.
We also toured the two airplanes on the premises, the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II, and stopped by the fashion, '68 special and movie exhibits that were in different storefronts. We learned so much about the musician and the man. (For instance, Priscilla said that the successful Elvis never wore jeans. He said he'd worn them so much when he was poor, he didn't ever want to wear them again.)
After seeing the exhibits, I also made my family go back across the street so we could take care of some business (yes, in a flash).
While the Sharpie was out, Brett also added his own tribute:
We walked along the wall in front of Graceland, seeing the thousands of messages that have been written on those stones. (We're talking layers of graffiti here. Almost all of the notes were dated 2010.) It was there that I fulfilled a friend's request. Pam is the biggest Elvis fan I know, and she asked me to add her name to the wall.
This American pilgrimage was a great way to kick off our vacation, but our day in Memphis was just beginning!
Here are more images from our day at Graceland: