Today was the first day since my arrival Sunday in Memphis that there was not a forecast for rain. So I took a chance and went the city block down Elvis Presley Blvd. and visited Graceland.
Graceland is a beautiful 13.8 acre estate that Elvis paid $102,500 for back in March 1957. I'll bet you couldn't buy one half of one acre anywhere in the neighborhood for that now. Gracleand is located at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard (formerly known as South Bellevue Road/Boulevard), and sits atop a hill in the suburb of Whitehaven, Memphis on U.S. Highway 51. It is around 8 miles south of downtown Memphis.
I first arrived at the Gracleand visitor center, called Graceland Plaza, which is directly across Elvis Presley Blvd. from Graceland where I found plenty of parking ($6.00). A short walk into the visitor center to purchase a ticket. Tickets are $25.00 per adult for the Graceland Mansion Tour and the grounds only. I got the Platinum Ticket which is $30.00 (I got a 10% military discount of $27.00) which is for an audio-guided tour of Graceland Mansion and grounds, along with self-guided tours of Elvis's two custom airplanes the Lisa Marie and Houndog II, Elvis's Automobile Museum, the Sincerely Elvis Museum, and Elvis After Dark.
Outside is the line (none today) where I picked up my audio tour headset and I boarded a small tour bus that took us across the street to the entrance to the Mansion. After a brief introduction and explanation of how to use the audio tour headset we went in the front door.
Once inside we went through the living room, music room, Elvis's parents' bedroom, the dining room, kitchen, TV room, poolroom, the famous Jungle Room, and the main house annex. All of these of course were plush beyond description.
After touring the mansion, I went next to the racquetball building, original business office, shooting range and trophy building.
The mansion tour ends with a visit to the Meditation Garden where Elvis and his family are buried. This is a very beautiful setting for the Presley family to be buried in. Like all the grounds and buildings it has been kept up perfectly. In fact today there were several buildings getting fresh coats of paint.
After leaving the estate we went back across the street to Graceland Plaza where all the rest of the attractions are.
First I went to the Automobile Museum, where 22 vehicles that Elvis drove or rode in during his life, including his 1955 pink Cadillac.
An aside: I actually saw his pink Cadillac once before. It was on display in 1968 in Perth, Australia. I was on shore leave there when I was stationed on the USS Providence CLG-6. We were taking a leisure trip back to the states after completing a two year deployment.
Back to the Automobile Museum, there was also a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk, and his Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The museum has the theme that look's 1950'ish. There is a movie playing in the center of the museum where you can sit for a few minutes and see some of the movies he was in that had cars as prominent parts of the movie.
Next I went to see Elvis's Airplanes which are custom jets. The tour begins in a mock retro airport terminal where a video history of the airplanes is shown. After that, I was allowed to go aboard Elvis' two airplanes, the famous Lisa Marie and the Hounddog II.
There also were assorted eateries such as a 50's malt shop the "Shake, Split & Dip" a southern style lunch diner the "Chrome Grille" and the "Rockabilly's Diner" which serves everything else such as pizza, burgers, hotdogs etc.
Well that pretty much sums up my visit to Graceland. I am glad that I went early in the day because I was able to get to see most everything without the interference of crowds. I took a lot of pictures and they will be added later to this web site. The tour was well worth the price of admission. If you are ever in the vicinity of Memphis I highly recommend you take 4 or 5 hours and enjoy Elvis again.
For those of you who collect Elvis collectables then this is the place for you. There are several gift shops a couple of restaurants and even a couple of dozen picnic tables on the grounds so if you want to make a day of it you can.
For more information about my visit to Graceland you can visit my places visited and rated review by clicking here.