My parents were not fans of Elvis Presley. Although he was only ten years younger than they were, I never heard either one of them express any interest in his music. It was impossible to grow up in the 60s and not know of him. Then in the 70s, he seemed to lose it ala Michael Jackson and Prince.
The one thing I always remembered more than anything about Elvis was Graceland. And the only thing I knew about Graceland was the Jungle Room. Can you even imagine? And apparently, girls were everywhere. A young boy’s fantasies come true!
Then Paul Simon came along and made it famous again in the 90s. One of my favorite albums where every song – including this one – is memorable. I guess it was always meant to be that I would make it here one day.
Driving up the parking lot to the entrance was a bit of a disappointment. That’s what Simon’s first impression was. It looked like a giant strip mall. Once inside, I learned the Mansion was across the street. I secured a 10:30 AM tour and toured the museums.
When he started to become famous, somebody decided to keep everything he ever had, every photo taken of him – every bit of him. There were about half a dozen significant themes – his toys, movies, and even a tribute to other rockers that acknowledged his greatness (just to keep him relevant!).
Between each one was a gift shop nearly the size of the exhibit!
You name it, it was there, including this $4,025 replica of the outfit he wore in his Hawaii special.
The tour lets you walk through the first floor of the mansion. It was stunning – I loved his bohemian style.
The trophy room had more personal stuff of his, like his student discount card. But it was this stuff, like the slot car, that I related to because I played with these growing up.
Finally, the pool and meditation garden served as the graves of Elvis and his family. Quite moving.
I am glad I came. The most expensive thing I’ve done so far on the trip. Not even in the same category as Yosemite or the Redwoods. But it’s a unique piece of Americana.
And as the man says: Poor boys and pilgrims with families, And we are going to Graceland.
We woke up the next morning to a downpour with bolts of lightning flying about! Great way to wrap up the tour!
East to Nashville and then to the mountains of North Carolina for a visit to Browns Mountian.