Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Dixieland Part 6.....

We fell asleep after watching an Elvis film on the TV (well were were in Elvis country) and after breakfast the following morning we met up with our fellow travellers for our next excursion to Elvis' birthplace - Tupelo.

Tupelo bought the house and 15 acres with the money provided from a 1957 Tupelo concert performed by Elvis, who wanted to raise money for a park for neighbourhood children.   As an official Mississippi landmark, the two-room dwelling where Elvis was born on January 8, 1935, is the centrepiece of the 15-acre Elvis Presley Park.

We got to sit on the swing on the porch of Elvis' house.

before going inside.  We were amazed at just how small the house was.

The bedroom come

living room.

The kitchen

How a family managed to live in such a small place is amazing.  The Assembly of God Church that Elvis attended as a child was converted from its original and sacred purpose and moved half a block from its prior location to the park.

We were welcomed in to attend a virtual service which was really interesting.

There is a bronze statue of 'Elvis at 13' in the park

and a beautiful Chapel which was built with donations from his fans and friends

There is also the Elvis Presley Memorial Museum, the 'Story Wall', the 'Fountain of life' and of course the inevitable gift shop.   

From the Park we made the short journey into Tupelo centre to visit the hardware store where Elvis obtained his first guitar.

Not sure if you can make out what it says on the sign above but the story goes that Elvis' mother took him to the store to buy a bicycle for his birthday but he spotted a rifle and decided he wanted that instead.  His mother refused to buy it for him and they compromised on a guitar and the rest is history!

Whilst we were in the store the man who was telling us the story introduced us to a lady standing next to him as Marlyn Mason, who was in Tupelo for the film festival that was taking place at the time. 

You may remember her looking more like this 

when she appeared in The Trouble With Girls as Elvis' leading lady.    She had taken the opportunity to see where Elvis bought his first guitar too!

We had a quick lunch in a cafe before walking round Tupelo until it was time to meet up and board the coach again to take us back to the hotel.     

As we had a little time before we had to get showered and changed before our next excursion, we walked down Elvis Presley Blvd to Graceland where we did what millions of other tourists have done and wrote our names on the wall at the entrance to Graceland.

See us there in blue - Pearl and Peter?

Of course I couldn't resist a photo opportunity at the famous gates could I?

Our last excursion for the day was the Memphis Mojo Tour, a coach tour with a difference in that two musicians boarded our coach to entertain us whilst showing us the sights of Memphis.   We had great fun singing along and being the percussion section shaking our shakers and tambourines in between having various places of interest pointed out to us, like the old Hotel Chisca, where radio station WHBQ first broadcast Elvis' music to the world. We saw Lauderdale Courts, the Presley family's first home in Memphis, Stax Museum of American Soul Music

We also saw the Lorraine Motel, where Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated.

The hotel is now a Civil Rights Museum.  Our guide pointed out that, before the assassination, the hotel had been a favourite place to stay of many artists going to Stax Records, such as Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and others and many hit songs had been penned at the hotel.

We also saw Sun Studio, where Elvis recorded his very first song but we had to wait until the following day to tour the studio and learn all about that historic event.    Part of the tour should have taken us down Riverside Drive, the main road running by the Mississippi,  but unfortunately it was flooded, this was the only diversion throughout the holiday because of flooding.

After the tour had finished we toyed with getting a ride in one of the amazing horse drawn carriages before going for something to eat

but as our stomachs were grumbling we headed straight down Beale Street

where MWM enjoyed a huge plate of ribs and I tried the fried oysters before heading back up Beale Street to the Blues City Cafe Band Box

where we enjoyed a few drinks and good music

before meeting our coach for a ride back to the hotel  where we retired for the night.  Of course we put the TV on once we got into bed and guess what film was showing - 'The Trouble With Girls'! 

If you've always wondered what it's like inside Graceland join me for Dixieland Part 7 to see the photos and also see inside Sun Studio.

Read Dixieland Part 1 here
Read Dixieland Part 2 here
Read Dixieland Part 3 here
Read Dixieland Part 4 here
Read Dixieland Part 5 here


Beach Bum said...

Did you happen to run into anyone who belives Elvis is still alive? You might be surprised how many folks here in the American south think Elvis wanted to be free of his life of fame and faked his death.

Don't worry too much, there are a few of us down here with better sense.

Great pictures!

Valerie said...

Pretty fancy carriages they have there. Almost Cinderella like, don't you think? I like that your names are there for posterity. I wonder if any of your friends will ever see that Pearl and Peter were there.

MorningAJ said...

It must have been an amazing trip. I'm never really got into Elvis but even I appreciate how big a phenomenon he was. I can't get over how samll that house is though! Two rooms really means two rooms, doesn't it!

MorningAJ said...

BTW - apologies if I'm wrong - but I suspect that post from montanna is spam and might have a malicious link in it. Don't click on it!

Akelamalu said...

WE didn't meet anyone who said Elvis was alive but his music certainly is Beach!

I thought they looked like Cinderella carriages too Valerie. One would be hard pushed to find anyone's name on that wall, it is absolutely F.U.L.L.!

Yeah a really small house AJ, they call them shotgun houses because if the front and back door are open you can shoot a gun straight through. I deleted the previous post guessing it was Spam as it has nothing at all to do with this post, but thanks for pointing it out. x

Daryl said...

My only visit to Memphis I stayed at the Peabody .. back then Beale was a pedestrian mall at night ...

sm said...

beautiful pics

Mama Zen said...

This looks like so much fun!

CrystalChick said...

It was so interesting to read about the little house where Elvis was born and lived for awhile.
And amazing that for the little amount of money it cost compared to things today it was too much to keep up the payments on.
Nice pictures. Thanks for sharing this most incredible trip with us.

Anonymous said...

I foolishly clicked on the Silky O’Sullivan's link: I'm now seriously hungry!

Ron said...

What an utterly fascinating post!

"We got to sit on the swing on the porch of Elvis' house"

How cool is that???? His home is so quaint and cozy - LOVE IT!

And I also love that you got to meet Marlyn Mason, who was actually IN a film with him! Beautiful lady! In that black and white shot, she almost resembles Janet Leigh!

"and wrote our names on the wall at the entrance to Graceland."

Way to go!!!!

Thank you for sharing, yet another enjoyable travel post, m'dear! Throughly loved it!


P.S. love your new blog template. So bright and cheery!

nitebyrd said...

WOW! You did the "real" Elvis stuff. I have to go back and read the other parts but I think you may want to look into "travel writing" as a career. I'm not an Elvis fan but after reading this, I want to go visit!

Spiky Zora Jones said...

akelamalu: I've been to graceland but let me tell you no one does a tour like you and your hubby. I loved your was fabulous...we wrote on Graceland;s wall too. It was a RV family thingy we did...from Denver through the Southern states. You saw lots more than we did...I did love beale street too.

later sweetie...and thanks again.


Suburbia said...

What an amazing trip? :-)

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i have that same photo of sarge and i at the graceland gate. wasn't that the tackiest house ever? i was surprised too in that i thought it was going to be bigger than it was. but i loved it all anyway!!!

smiles, bee

mrsnesbitt said...

Do you know Pearl - I LOVED this post! Reading about your falling asleep made me feel a bit tired too - after the last 24 hours of mayhem here in the Nesbitt household. What with all the DIY going on I actually considered cancelling our holiday in September - but sensing the enjoyment and fun you had in Dixieland has made me realise we need fun amidst any DIY stuff! Great Pearl thanks xxxx

snowelf said...

I HAVE always wondered what Graceland looks like! I'm so excited. And you're right--that house is tiny, but it served him well. I would have compromised on the guitar too! (No guns allowed at my house.)


Cloudia said...

Beale Street!!!!!


Thank you for taking us along. You showed me aspects of Elvis that I did not know of.

That house was like the one's our plantation folk lived in!

Aloha from Waikiki;

PS: My new blog posts are still not updating in blogger/reader OR links on others' blogs
but I'm still posting! :(

Comfort Spiral


> < } } ( ° >

Dianne said...

what a fabulous trip!!
I loved sitting on Elvis' porch
and the shot by the big gates

Akelamalu said...

Beale is still pedestrian only at night Daryl.

Thanks sm :)

It was Mama Zen :)

People were so poor then I think CrystalChick. It was really interesting seeing where Elvis started his life.

I can understand that Dumdad, the food at Silky's was really good!

Marlyn Mason was still beautiful Ron and it was great to meet someone who actually 'knew' Elvis. So pleased you enjoyed the post and like my new template. x

Oh yes Nitebyrd we did indeed do 'real' Elvis stuff! Check out my next post for more. Glad you enjoyed it. x

We're in good company then if you wrote on Graceland's wall Spiky! Glad you enjoyed what we saw on the tour. x

It was indeed Suburbia:)

The photo at the gate is a MUST isn't it Bee? :)

Oh yes do have the holiday to recharge your batteries Denise. Glad you enjoyed this post. x

Yes Elvis' first house was miniscule Snow, especially compared to Graceland and even that wasn't that big.

I'm so pleased you enjoyed this Cloudia. We learned a lot about Elvis that we didn't know, I'm glad to share it.

Glad you enjoyed it Dianne :)

Mimi Lenox said...

I must go to Beale street. I must!

I can't believe how tiny that house is. And yes, Assembly of God churches are interesting...and sometimes loud. But that's ok in my humble opinion.

The carriage ride. Yay! Another reason I must go.

Casdok said...

Wow. Love that you sat on the porch :)

Akelamalu said...

The house WAS tiny Mimi and the church was great. Pity we didn't have time to do the carriage ride, another reason to go back I guess. ;)

I know Casdok, an opportunity not to be missed.

secret agent woman said...

Tupelo is also famous for its honey.

Akelamalu said...

I didn't know that SAW :0

Banker Chick said...

I am going to come back and take notes on this post so we can reproduce this part of your tour when we go to Memphis

Julia Smith said...

You know you made me happy with this one! I love how you met up with one of his co-stars who just wanted to see where Elvis had bought his first guitar.

LOVE the lettering on the Tupelo Hardware Co. store.

LOVE his childhood home.

And LOVE the pictures of you on the Presley front porch and at the gates of Graceland. Wow.

Akelamalu said...

I hope you will tell us all about your experiences in Memphis Banker chick!

I get the impression you really liked this post Julia! LOL Thanks hon. x

Gledwood said...

I like those sunglasses.

Talking of Priscilla Presley, Dallas is sposed to be coming back next year.

I bet those bastards from Sky will buy it up but it's a nice idea...

What am I saying. Channel 4 will probably put it on.

Travis Cody said...

I always appreciate how much of our musical and historical heritage we are able to commemorate and protect.

Akelamalu said...

Yeah I heard about Dallas Gleds, not sure it's the old cast though.

Me too Trav :)