Tennessee – The King

Memphis is one of those places everyone goes. It was where Elvis lived and his home has been turned into a museum / memorial. Memphis also has a cool modern art scene, good food and rockin’ atmosphere.

A few things about that. Visiting Memphis has a real American vibe to it. The BBQ, the music, Graceland. All of this combines to make Memphis a compulsory stop on a road trip. It is just somewhere you have to go. Also it is kinda in the middle of the country, so a good place to aim for anyway.

I would rate Tennessee 7.2 out of ten.TN Elvis

TN Graceland

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Tennessee Treasures

I didn’t know that states had official paintings, but Tennessee Treasures is the one for Tennessee and the artist is Michael Sloan. He has the awesome job of being Tennessee’s artist in residence, and seems to effectively capture the spirit of Tennessee. In his work.

Tennessee has both Memphis and Nashville so is a very musically orientated state. In fact Tennessee has Three bricks and mortar museums to recognise their role in nurturing various forms of popular music: the Memphis Rock N’ Soul Museum, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, and the International Rock-A-Billy Museum in Jackson. Those coupled with Graceland and BB King’s Blues Clubmake Tennessee quite the state for music lovers.

My total score for Tennessee out of 50 is 31.

Categories out of 10

Home comforts Quality of food, accommodation, etc. Score of 7. Good ole Southern style cooking and pleasant accommodations just outside Memphis.

Attractions The quality of the attractions and generally how fun and interesting they were. Score of 6. Lots of music activities, but they can be a little tourist trappy.

Natural Beauty The aesthetic vistas of the state which make the drive easier. Score of 6. Nice enough, but doesn’t knock your socks off.

Culture Historical and cultural sites and interactions with the locals. Score of 6. Lots for music, not much else.

Value Financial value – bang for your buck, so to speak. Score of 6. Tourist activities can be pricey. Other stuff is cheap.

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Day 44 – Many Sounds of Memphis

Can hardly go through all 50states and not go to the home of the King. So today we visited Graceland. There are a number of different sections to Graceland. The main part would be the mansion, which was the home of Elvis from 1957 until his death in 1977. The house has been a museum since 1982 and has been maintained pretty much as it was at the time of his death. The museum is very well maintained and the house is very interesting. The mansion does an excellent job of reminding visitors of the extraordinary person that Elvis was. He was an excellent singer and worked across genres of music. He was also extremely charitable and provided many charitable donations such as the initial funding to the USS Arizona.

The museum tour includes an audio tour which explains the key aspects of the home. Audio tours of museum’s are weird situation – they are effective in providing lots of information but also create a very solitary experience and does not allow any engagement with staff or other visitors. The staff at Graceland seem to be quite happy they don’t have to interact with visitors and can be quite abrupt.

Graceland also includes a number of a small museum exhibits, such as an exhibition on Elvis in Hawaii or Elvis in Las Vegas. Most of the exhibits are quite small, however they do have a few larger ones about Elvis’ cars and planes.

On the whole Graceland is quite good, however it does feel quite commercialised but it is certainly worth going to if you are a fan of Elvis.

We also visited the National Ornamental Metal Museum which is the only institution in the United States devoted exclusively to the preservation and promotion of fine metalwork. This is a surprisingly specific museum, however does contain some very beautiful metal pieces.

We finished up with traditional BBQ at http://www.corkysmemphis.com/, which was excellent. Seems a great place to try Tennessee style dry BBQ.

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