Enjoying musical magic in Memphis

One night over cosmos and appetizers, several friends suffering from Chicago’s winter blues planned a Girls Getaway Weekend. Our criterion were simple: a warmer climate and a distance close enough to"road trip.” Graceland was the answer. Just 500 miles away, or eight hours by minivan, lies Memphis, Tenn., home to Elvis Presley’s Graceland and the birthplace of the blues.

Attired in our matching Elvis Presley T-shirts—which drew their fair share of attention—our group embarked on a tour of Graceland. We were surprised at its modest stature, but what this home lacks in size, it makes up for in ostentatious decorating. Frozen in the 1970s, Elvis’ residence is full of mirrors, gold and gaudiness. The often-referenced jungle room is a den, featuring Polynesian-style furniture with green shag carpeting on the floor and ceiling. Elvis’ yellow, black and white media room contains his trademark symbol, the lightning bolt, on the wall; three televisions; his record collection and a movie screen. Visitors also see dazzling jumpsuits, a multitude of gold records and awards and the final resting place of Presley and his family. Depending on your budget, you can visit several museums across the street, which feature"The King’s” car collection, airplanes and more jumpsuits. I definitely came away with a greater appreciation of"the jumpsuit.”

Our musical journey continued at Sun Studio, where owner Sam Phillips discovered and recorded blues and rock and roll artists such as Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. This historic landmark has drawn contemporary legends such as Roy Orbison, Bonnie Raitt and U2 to record there as well. We kept rocking and rolling on Beale Street, walking up and down the block to hear music by artists ranging from lone street musicians to full bands playing in the different restaurants and bars. Plenty of opportunities for more Elvis souvenirs came up on the way, as well as great restaurants like Blues City Café to sample some BBQ.

Memphis is one town I can’t help falling in love with.

For more information visit elvis.com and sunstudio.com.

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