For weeks as we were planning this trip, we always said, "We're going to Graceland!" Yesterday we finally did it.
Here's the obligatory tourista photo that was taken of us when we arrived at the shuttle area for the short drive onto the property.
Then we explored the mansion and the grounds.
I'm especially glad that the family didn't turn Graceland into an amusement park, which they certainly could have done. PresleyLand would have ruined everything.
We walked through the house on an audio-guided tour, wearing headsets and listening to recorded narration as well as commentary by Elvis from old interviews and from Lisa Marie.
The house is exactly as it was when Elvis was alive.
The living room:
The kitchen. Dig that avocado-colored coffee urn.
The TV room. When Elvis heard that Walter Cronkite kept three TVs at home turned on to the three different networks, he decided to do the same.
The pool room:
Here's my daily ceiling shot, in the pool room:
Here's a closeup of the fabric on the ceiling:
The jungle room:
A closeup of the hand-carved arm of a chair in the jungle room. That's an ashtray on a wooden stand next to the chair. Today we call this kitchy; back then it was standard!
Here's the back of the house. Not quite as stately as the front.
Elvis had several out-buildings constructed on the grounds behind the house. One is filled with press clippings, costumes, gold records, etc.
We also got the official recipe for Elvis's favorite fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches:
2 large bananas
6 slices white bread
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup peanut butter
Peel and mash bananas. Mix peanut butter with bananas thoroughly. Toast bread lightly and spread mix on bread. Melt butter in skillet and brown sandwiches on each side slowly until golden brown.
(Eat all three sandwiches in one sitting, and wash it all down with qualuudes, vicodin and Jack Daniels for the perfect Elvis experience.)
I realize this is an unfortunate segue, but here it is:
The gravesite is in a pretty meditation garden.
That's Tom in the center, reading one of the inscriptions on the grave markers.
After we rested up at the hotel, Tom said he was in the mood for spaghetti and meatballs, so he looked in our Memphis tourist magazine and found what looked to him like the perfect Italian restaurant.
He was right again!
Cafe Toscana in East Memphis is a warm and comfortable restaurant with an unassuming exterior.
Tom couldn't find spaghetti and meatballs on the menu, so I told him to ask if the chef could just make it for him.
Our friendly server, Leslie Hilliard, pointed to Baked Polpette on the menu: "Pork and beef meatballs topped with tomatoes and a blend of Italian cheeses, baked and served with angel hair pasta and marinara sauce."
In other words, spaghetti and meatballs!
Lasagna Classica caught my eye.
The chef, Giacomo Ciabattini, has the magic touch.
We each had a cocktail before dinner and a glass of red with our meals.
For dessert we chose from an assortment of light and luscious mousses.
I have to give a shout-out to a very special person who helped us get around Memphis every day.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce our friend whom we named Millie. She has a very soothing voice that lulls us into a sense of complete security that we're heading in the right direction.
Back at the hotel, last night's movie on the all-Elvis-all-the-time channel was "Jailhouse Rock."
And now we're off for our final day in Memphis. Our plane leaves at 5 p.m. Check out the blog tomorrow for a recap.