For my last collegiate Spring Break, my Mom and Joe and I decided to take a family road trip down to Tennessee. Sadly Claire’s Spring Break did not align with ours, so we sent her lots of pictures and mourned her absence. We started our journey in the suburbs of Chicago visiting family, since it was closer to western Tennessee where we were headed. Though Nashville was the original idea, we decided Memphis would be better due to the location of Graceland. We are a big Elvis family. So to Memphis we went, driving through the day.
We arrived in Memphis after nightfall and walked from our hotel to Beale Street. Neon light and lively music dominate this strip, as well as the smell of good food and many bars. We chose a barbecue place and settled in for our first Memphis meal. Afterwards we wandered around Beale Street, taking in the sights and making a to-do list for the coming days.
Of course our first stop the next day was Graceland. We took a tour of Elvis’s house and pored over the museum afterwards. The costumes on display were incredible, but our favorite was the house. The guided tour made Elvis’s family life seem like a movie on display at the real site. We also toured the airplanes and what luxury a private jet is!
After this tour we headed to lunch before a tour of the Gibson factory. Joe being a guitar player, this was especially interesting to him. The tour was fascinating and gave us an appreciation for all of the work that is put into a single guitar at the factory. Afterwards we wandered Beale Street yet again, getting ice cream and souvenirs. We went back to the hotel before heading out for a late dinner and cocktails at a lovely restaurant. We were so full we took plenty of leftovers home!
The next day was action packed as well, beginning with a tour of Sun Studio records. This is where so many legends recorded, including Elvis and Johnny Cash. It was so cool to see where Elvis got his start, and to see the microphone that such legend sang into. Our tour was led by the most lovely girl, an absolute joy and extremely talented! Afterwards we went to Stax records, a museum commemorating a magical recording studio made from an old theater. Every piece of history was so cool to learn about and see in the pieces on display.
Our last stop in Memphis was Gus’s chicken, a legend in it’s own rite. We had enormous plates of fried chicken, mac and cheese, coleslaw, greens, and beans. Everything was delicious and we were full and ready to hit the road to Nashville! Unfortunately, fate had other plans and disaster had struck. Our only bad experience in all of Memphis, we returned to find our car had been broken into.
After the necessary processes of reporting and repairing, we made the tough call to cut our trip short and head home. Nashville is still on our list and we will definitely return sometime in the future! Memphis was truly an awesome city, full of rich musical history that was incredible to learn about. Despite the poor ending, Memphis was a lovely experience all around and a great Spring Break destination as an alternative to packed beaches.