No trip to Memphis would be complete without a visit to Elvis' home for 20 years - Graceland. As we were riding towards the estate, we wondered what it would be like. How did Elvis live? After all, he grew up in a poor family, out in the little town of Tupelo. His home there was a shot-gun style two-room dwelling. When we arrived at Graceland, we were totally blown away by the opulence of the place. The first hint of the unexpected was the front gates, made of white painted wrought iron, designed to resemble the G-clef staff, complete with musical notes and a silhouette of Elvis. It was here that hordes of teen-age girls would gather, hoping to catch a glimpse of Elvis - or, if he came down to the gates, perhaps to be noticed by him (on several occasions, he was known to invite some of those teenagers up to the mansion for a visit).
Once inside, we expected to see a frat-house style bachelor pad, complete with typical, well-used, solid furniture. Were we wrong! Elvis, despite his poor upbringing, and his typical 20 something outlook, and a constant flow of young people in and out of the house, had a seriously sophisticated style of decor. His living room contained a custom made oversized (15 foot) sofa and a ten foot coffee table. Most of the living room furniture was upholstered in white leather. Beautiful stained-glass panels separated the living room from a large addition that he had made into a music room. Elvis was quite devoted to his parents. They lived with him here at Graceland (their lovely bedroom, decorated by his mother,was on the first floor, next to the staircase). The basement consisted of a poolroom, and a very large room, complete with three televisions, a bar, and many sofas and chairs.
The 14 acre grounds, with several outbuildings (e.g an office, trophy building, and a racquetball court) are beautifully maintained, with a granite kidney-shaped gunite swimming pool, horse stables, and riding areas. Elvis, his parents, and his grandmother, are buried on the grounds in the Meditation Garden. This place was well worth the rather pricey admission. It was time well spent.