There are many places that can, and will succeed at sweeping you off your feet. The places that are quaint and quiet, yet bubbling with character and passion. The places that thrive on individuality and then the ones that enjoy mirroring others such as themselves, happy blending in with the rest of the world.
It is different here. I am almost frightened at every corner I turn, the streets are rundown, there is no lick of paint or many new builds that surround me, police cars pass by every few seconds yet they do not reassure me. The stories of crime that I have been told play on repeat in my mind as I clutch just that little bit tighter to my bag.
It is all soon forgotten though as I walk through its lively streets, the walls rumbling passionately with music, making me feel warm and fuzzy inside, like a whiskey on a cold winters eve. The side streets, corners and alleys are still the same as they were years ago and will still be the same for years to come. A city so untouched by modern day is hard to find but I feel like I have found it here. The humble yet outrageously outlandish city is not crying out for attention because simply enough, it doesn’t need to, it is the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll.
Memphis, I think you may have stolen my heart.
Beale street, the main event for some, is exactly what you would expect, with in your face lights, music playing from all buildings and all genres, merging in to one big sound as it funnels it’s way down the street. You can feel your toe begin to tap as soon you enter and you feel yourself start to get a sudden hankering for a whiskey and catfish dinner.
It doesn’t get much more Southern, with the Mississippi river flowing straight through the city, Tennessee on one side and the state of Arkansas on the other. If you have always dreamed of cotton fields, country music and southern cooking, then Memphis is the place to be.
It will capture you, take you in and keep you lusting for more.
Music is the main tourist attraction here, with big names such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash finding fame at Sun Studios back in the 50’s. Elvis also famously lived and found fame here, living in a not so little place called Graceland, which see’s millions of fans flock to it’s doors every year.
I mean, who doesn’t love Elvis? Granted I didn’t appreciate him for many years, I remember my grandmother having a teddy bear that would sing ‘Love me tender’ over and over again, and it was kind of frightening. It was my first visit to Memphis though, when I really found out what Southern hospitality was, when a local girl I met at a bar picked me up the following day to show me Graceland, insisting on paying for my entry. It was at this moment that I fell in love with Elvis, Graceland and the entire music history of Memphis, Tennessee.
Graceland has a feel of lost time about it, just like the city it resides in, untouched and full of character and charm. The rooms are as they were when he was still alive and they still give off Elvis’ vibrant presence. The upstairs is closed off for tourists and quite rightly so, it is important to keep a part of the house, private, how Lisa Marie says it always was. That he would always greet his guests on the stairs and entertain downstairs in the many wonderful and wacky rooms that he had.
It is not only in Graceland that you can hear stories of Elvis’ past, with Sun Studio offering an intimate tour of where the music sensation, along with many others were founded.
If you are visiting Sun Studio make sure you make use of the free shuttle that travels between the studio, Beale Street and Graceland for FREE!
You will also get the opportunity to stand in the very spot where Elvis, Johnny Cash and many others recorded their first hits and even get to see where the ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ sat together and jammed.
If rock ‘n’ roll is your thing, then coming to Memphis must surly already be on your bucket list. The added bonuses though are a nice little extra when you are here, the sunsets over the Mississippi River, the gritty southern cuisine and the un-comparable hospitality make it a sure reason to make Memphis your next stop.
Here is a quick low down of places I recommend visiting;-