||CHANTEL GUERTIN, Contributor
Memphis is more than Graceland. No, really. It’s also the home of blues, barbeque and rock and roll.
Where to stay:
Access key Memphis attractions with a stay at the stylish Madison hotel.
One great place to stay is the Madison Hotel
, a boutique luxury hotel in the centre of town. It’s just steps from the historic Main Street, which is dedicated exclusively to trolley service.
The hotel features 110 rooms that are part modern and part Memphis music-inspired. Amenities include downy Italian linens on the bed, a spacious bathroom with Jacuzzi tub and separate shower, 24-hour room service, indoor pool, and rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city and river.
Full continental breakfast is included, or indulge in the weekend brunch, which includes “deep fried” french toast sticks, pulled pork hash and the big ol’ waffle with chicken wings.
5 Memphis must-sees:
1. Take the foot bridge across the river to Mud Island, a community of New England-style homes that make you feel like you’re on the East Coast. By car, cross over Mud Island into Arkansas just to say you’ve been there.
2. You can’t go to Memphis and not go to Graceland. Okay, you can, but why would you? This wasn’t high on my to-do list, but may have been my favourite part of the trip.
In 1957, Elvis bought the 13-acre farmhouse, where he lived with his family until his death 20 years later. He’s buried in the Meditation Garden alongside his parents, grandparents and twin, Jessie.
The house has 23 distinctly designed rooms, including the Jungle Room, Yellow Room and living room, which features a couch that’s longer than the length of the house Elvis grew up in. The upstairs remains a private residence (Lisa Marie stays when she comes to visit) and isn’t accessible to the public.
Sure, the Lorraine Motel looks '50s kitschy but it has a serious side, housing the National Civil Rights Museum. Photo by Chantel Guertin
3. The Peabody Hotel — a Memphis landmark — is best known for its ducks, which live on the rooftop but make a twice-daily “March of Ducks” on the red carpet through the lobby every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. in a tradition dating back to 1933. Get there early for a prime viewing spot (and also because they’re speed-walkers — the whole “march” only takes about 30 seconds).
Date Added: June 15, 2012 | Comments (0)
4. For more music history, head to Sun Studio, where producer, label owner and talent scout Sam Philips (who owned Sun Records) discovered Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. For soul, take a tour at Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
5. The National Civil Rights Museum is housed in the Lorraine Motel, the assassination site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Load up on famous Memphis BBQ. Photo by Chantel Geurtin
Where to eat:
Memphis is all about BBQ. You can get ribs wet or dry, or order half-wet, half-dry to do your own taste-test.
Put Corky’s Ribs & BBQ, Central BBQ and Interstate Barbecue on your list. For fried chicken, go to Gus’s World Famous Chicken.
Most Memphisites go for BBQ midday — and many places close by 6 p.m., so call ahead to make sure they’re open (and not sold out of ribs).
For breakfast, eat like a king by ordering The King’s favourite dish, called “The Shag,” at Cockadoos: French toast stuffed with peanut butter and banana, topped with blueberries, whipped cream and syrup. Or, get the fried version that Elvis ordered at Arcade and sit in his favourite booth.
Chantel Guertin is a beauty expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, hair editor at TheKit.ca and bestselling author. She has worked at Sweetspot.ca, ELLE Canada and TV Guide, and has contributed to FASHION, Best Health, HGTV.ca, FoodNetwork.com and WNetwork.com. Visit her website at www.chantelguertin.com and follow her on Twitter @chantelguertin.
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