I know, you are going to have that great Chuck Berry song running through your head now……..and by the way, you are most welcome.
I am feeling extraordinarily nostalgic in this post because joy of joy, we’ve hit Memphis. Now, I planned to do an awful lot on this trip so I have broken it down into a couple of sections and I will endeavor to post it all over a couple of blogs.
Memphis is amazing. It is all that I hoped for and so much more. It is home of the blues, the birthplace of rock and roll, it has GRACELAND!!, civil rights history, bars, Beale Street, Sun Studio and barbeque. Now eating in Memphis is not for the faint of heart……just ask Elvis! In this gut-busting town ‘barbeque’ reigns supreme. There is meat, meat and more meat. Eating here requires the stamina, the endurance and the will of a long distance runner. You will never go hungry as there is something for everyone……okay, not including vegetarians!
As this was another of Steve’s work trips that I very happily got to tag along on, I made the most of it. I walked for miles, explored this amazing city and its backstreets, marveled at the history, the beauty, the architecture and the life blood of this town. It was a wonderful experience.
Beale Street – this is the history and heart and soul of Memphis and it really comes into its own after dark. If you want to hear great music, see amazing bands, hang out in some fab old bars with the locals and soak up the atmosphere then this is the place to be. Beale Street runs from the Mississippi River to East Street and is just over 1.8 miles long. It can get a little over-crowded and noisy, especially at night, but my guess would be that it may just be a once in a lifetime experience so enjoy it for all that it is. We were so lucky to experience Beale Street with great friends and it doesn’t get better than that.
Sun Studio – located in downtown Memphis, Sun Studio helped launch the careers of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and B. B. King to name a small few and the studio is still in use today. A fascinating place for any music lover.
The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel – this was a true highlight for me. This is where Martin Luther King Jnr was assassinated on April 4th 1968. He was 39 years old. The exhibits trace the history of the civil rights movement in America from the 17th century until now and the museum is built around the hotel. This museum should be top on anyone’s list when in Memphis. It is heartbreakingly thought provoking, yet inspiring. It is located at 450 Mulberry Street Memphis and is open everyday except Tuesday.
After haunting the backstreets of Memphis I thought this city held no more secrets from me, then I discovered….. ‘Earnestine and Hazel’s’! This is a legendary, greasy juke joint and a former brothel. It has a haunted bar, hipsters, low life’s and now moi sitting at the bar. Now I don’t usually hang out in bars during daylight hours (oh, who am I kidding) but if I did, I would certainly be spending my days here. This wonderful place is as famous as hell to the locals and I loved it. When here, definitely have the famous ‘soul burger’ – a greasy little burger patty smashed flat on a hot grill. What can I say. It was delicious burger simplicity and a perfect partner to a cold PBR especially after a long day of exploring. Earnestine & Hazel’s is located at 531 South Main Street Memphis and bring cash!!
The famous Peabody Ducks – I love ducks. I actually love ducks almost as much as I love cats so the Peabody was a perfect haunt for me. The Peabody Hotel was constructed in 1869 and was reputed to be one of the finest hotels in the South….and I can’t argue with that! It is stunning. At 11am each day the resident ducks make their way down from their rooftop suite, along the red carpet and off to the Peabody Fountain located in the middle of the hotel. They spend their day splashing about, eating and being photogenic. At 5pm the ‘King Cotton March’ is played and the ducks hop out of the fountain and make their way back along the red carpet to the elevator where they are returned to their rooftop suite for the night. The duck parade has been going on since 1930 and its pretty wonderful. The Peabody is also the perfect place for a ‘ducking good’ cocktail so sit back and enjoy but do get there early to grab a comfy seat. What could be better.
The Gibson Guitar Factory – located on 145 Little George W Lee Avenue (and just around the corner from Beale Street) is where you will see true luthiers making these one of a kind guitars. Amazing skill and workmanship at its finest.
I managed to catch up with Steve one day when he finished work a little early and we grabbed a bite to eat at ‘Miss Polly’s Soul City Café’. This place is all about peace, love and fried chicken so as you can imagine I was feeling a little sancti-‘fried’. One great place to eat if you are ever in Memphis
Some other great places to see, do, go and eat at in Memphis are:
- The Memphis Farmers Markets Saturday 7am till 1pm
- The Historic South Main Street
- The Memphis Botanic Gardens
- Charles Vergos Rendezvous – great ribs grilled over charcoal (situated between Monroe and Union Avenues) where we once again enjoyed the company of great friends.
- Gus’s World of Fried Chicken – just off Beale Street where every piece of chicken is freshly coated in buttermilk, cayenne pepper and paprika then fried in a vat of boiling peanut oil. Bloody beautiful!
- The Cozy Corner – this place opened the day after Elvis died in 1977. Everything is cooked to order and damn near perfect. Their Cornish Game Hens are smoked whole. 745 N Parkway Street
- Huey’s – head here for burgers. Also feel free to write on the walls and take your cellophane frilled toothpick and put it into your straw. You now have a blow dart!…..which you can shoot into the low slung ceiling tiles. How cool is that! Danger and meal all in one.
And of course my favorite vintage stores:
- Flashback – 2304 Central Avenue
- Red Velvet Lounge – 509 South Main Street
- Garbo’s – (as in Greta not rubbish) 28s Idelwild ST
- Hoot and Louise – 109 East GE Patterson Ave
What an experience but stay tuned, there is so much more to come. Again, we are so fortunate to be on this journey and one should never forget how blessed we, all of us, truly are xx