And here it is, my friends. The post you’ve all been waiting for. OK, maybe not, but I’m posting it anyway! If you’ve been playing with the idea of visiting this tourist attraction, I’d like to say that you should go. Just once. Whether you care for his music or not, Elvis is a part of American music history. Visiting his house is visiting a museum, where you get to learn and see all sorts of interesting tidbits about his life, his music and his family. I had the bright idea of camping at the Graceland RV Park, which is located across the street from Elvis’ home and directly next door to the Graceland ticket office and tram.
We don’t have an RV, but there are a handful of tent sites at this RV park. I thought it would be fun to stay in a campground where everyone had the same thing in common: respect for Elvis! Added bonus: hard-core Elvis fans travel with sweet rides, so the RV park is also like a car show!
Although the tent camp sites are off to the side of the park where there’s a large expanse of beautiful grass and trees…there’s also a large area where a white-bearded man sat and smoked his cigarette every morning atop a junky tractor beneath a rickety, rusty car port. The tent sites sit along a small looped road; the entrance of that road serves as storage for trash and tractors, as well as a parking area for the maintenance crew. A giant wood chipper sat not far from our picnic table and ran the length of the day as a man in a golf cart drove hither and thither across the lovely expanse of grass we looked upon. Was it everything I dreamed of? Probably not. But had I not stayed, I wouldn’t have met the woman in the bathroom our first morning who had lost her dog the previous evening. An employee heard her dog crying from a drainage ditch and they had to save the dog at midnight. She was ecstatic to be re-united with her pooch. She drove a Toyota truck like ours and had the coolest teardrop trailer. I admired her for being in her 60’s, alone and traveling the country, beset on not missing out on life. Although, the site of her brushing her dentures that morning was probably something I could have done without…
There’s a whole Graceland “complex”, with buildings and airplanes all around the property. You buy your tickets, watch a video, then get in line for the tram that will take you across the street to the actual home.
They give you an iPad and headphones for a guided tour, where you can scroll through at your own pace. Honestly, it’s a bit distracting. It’s cool because you can hear stories about the rooms you’re standing in, but a lot of it is redundant with info that is written out at important sites anyway. I also was carrying a big camera, so it was obnoxious to tote around the camera, my purse, the iPad and headphones-I kept getting tangled up every time I wanted to take a photo!
One of the things that surprised me most was how “simple” the house was. For someone with so much money, I thought the house was quite modest in size, even for those times. I loved that he was so close with his family and that they all lived with him; his mom, dad and grandma.
He had a “jungle” room, which is just off the kitchen with a waterfall (ooh…) I was fascinated by the downstairs billiard room COMPLETELY COVERED in fabric. And then of course the yellow room with the three TV’s is pretty cool…
The grounds are every bit as interesting as the inside. He had horse stables, the office where his dad managed the music affairs and even a racquetball court with adjoining music/hangout area.
One of the buildings was set up as a museum with exhibits, displays, old photos etc.
Here we are trying to get a selfie with the house in the background. Haha. Didn’t really get much of the house!
Elvis, along with his parents and grandmother are all buried at Graceland. Back across the street, two of his airplanes are on display. I especially liked the seat belts across their bed!
There’s nothing quite like walking through a person’s home to understand them a little better than just reading a description. Clothes still hang in the closets, plates left on the dining table…
I can’t say that Matt and I have always been HUGE Elvis fanatics, but we’ve always liked his songs and have respect for someone who did so much for music! Of course, we did get married at the Graceland wedding chapel in Vegas by an ordained Elvis impersonator (the only one at the time), so it’s probably not surprising that we included this site to see on our visit to Memphis.
This post seems extra appropriate since our 14th wedding anniversary is a week from today!
Here are some tips and links for you to check out if you plan on visiting Memphis and Graceland:
*I should note that we traveled the first 2 weeks of October, so rates may be different during other times*
We stayed at the Graceland RV park in the tent camping area. To my surprise, the tent camping filled up quite a bit the second night we were there (that was a Wednesday). We were the only tent campers on Tuesday night. We paid $28/night. Bathrooms are not close to you in the tent area, but the wi-fi worked.
We took our tour on a Wednesday afternoon so it was not too crowded. We met a nice couple from England and enjoyed walking around the property at our leisure. We bought the “Mansion Only” tour with added airplanes. It was $45/person and we felt we got our money’s worth. I don’t think you really need a tour guide since they give you an iPad with all the info. It was honestly a lot to take in (probably took us about 3 hours), so we weren’t disappointed to miss out on gold records, jumpsuits and cars. But hey, if you’ve got the cash, then see what VIP tickets can do for you! Ticket pricing here.
Here’s a link to the official website where you can find all things related to Graceland.