Sometimes, you need to give yourself a gift and when you do, you need to take that gift without guilt or obligation……..
Which is exactly what I did when I purchased two ‘Graceland Elvis Entourage VIP Tour and Airplanes Tour’ tickets. Wohoo! I know, pinch me please and pinch me hard. I was headed to the home of THE KING and I was dragging the big guy along with me!!
This was amazing. It was a long held dream of mine to go to Graceland so as you can imagine, I was up at a sparrows on this particular morning.
Just after 9.00 am we pulled up in the car park and I leapt from my seat with an athleticism I surely do not possess, and we left…….okay, we were ushered out, at closing time which was 5.00 pm. Apparently it usually takes visitors about three to four hours to complete their tours however by my guesstimate, we took a little longer than that.
Graceland is set on a 13.8 acre estate and is located at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard. It is a charmingly pretty home which receives just over 620,000 visitors per year. It is a time capsule of sorts and a museum and it is exactly how Elvis left it on the day he died, August 16 1977. Graceland has also been placed on the ‘National Register of Historic Places’ and has been declared a ‘National Historic Landmark’.
Graceland has 23 rooms. Once through the front doors you step into the foyer and into another world. From here you can see Elvis’s living room, the music room complete with Baby Grand, Elvis’s mothers’ bedroom decorated with the sweetest of poodle wallpaper, the dining room and the stair case leading upstairs. The second floor is completely private and off limits to all and no one other than immediate family are permitted up there. This is where Elvis’s bedroom, dressing room and bathroom are located and although sealed, they are keep exactly as they were on the day he died.
From there, it was along the hallway to Elvis’s kitchen. A rather dark, wood paneled room where I think an awful lot of bacon and fried chicken was cooked.
After the kitchen tour, we followed the staircase down to the basement and arrived at the pool room. The pool room is completely encased in pleated printed fabric which covers all four walls and the ceiling plus the same fabric was used to cover the couches and the ‘scatter’ pillows on the couches. Quirky and interestingly intricate to say the least. It took three men ten days to complete the room and they used 400 yards of fabric to do so.
From there it is along to the TV room which holds three TV’s all of which Elvis apparently liked to watch simultaneously. He also loved to watch the telecasts of the NFL every Sunday. There is also a pull down movie screen, a jukebox, Elvis’s record collection and a personal collection of shells and nick knacks above the wet bar in this very cool room. My favorite touch was the lightening bolt with the letters TCB which means ‘taking care of business’ (in a flash). TCB was Elvis’s personal credo and words he lived by.
And now for one of my favorite rooms. The Jungle Room. The notoriety of the Jungle Room is not undeserved. And I don’t care what anyone says. That man had taste and it is no more prevalent than in the décor of this amazing space. The Jungle Room was designed by Elvis with Hawaii (his favorite vacation spot) in mind. Not to put a too fine a point on it but this super retro room has avocado green shag pile carpet from floor to ceiling and it is chock full of faux fur animal print, plants, a waterfall, intricately carved dark wood furnishings and tiki’s.
On the tour of Graceland you also have access to the grounds, the trophy room, the Meditation Garden which is Elvis’s final resting place along with other Presley family members and the racquetball building which now houses some of the iconic jumpsuits Elvis wore. And this was jumpsuit heaven!
My favorite Elvis impersonator looking cute with the iPad available for your use during your tour. It is narrated by John Stamos who walks you through the life and the home of Elvis room by room……
After the tour of Graceland we headed back across the road. As we had the VIP tickets we also had access to Elvis’s private car collection, tours of both of his private jets plus unlimited access to view private exhibits, archives and memorabilia.
And did I indulge in the favorite food of the King while on my pilgrimage to Graceland. Of course! The quintessential ‘Fried Peanut Butter, Bacon and Banana Sandwich’. And dang, it was good! Actually, it was better than good, it was GREAT! So great in fact that it has become a breakfast staple of mine. If I had a conscience I would probably feel guilty about eating this sandwich on a weekly basis but luckily for me I don’t….have a conscience that is!
This really was a great day. It was fun, it was history, happiness and nostalgia soaked and it was a place that I had dreamed of visiting since I was a young girl. And I guess that’s just the way of dreams because if you dream a beautiful dream, sometimes you actually get to do it.
Elvis has left the building…..xx