Today we are privileged to have Rebekah show us around Memphis but before we start, breakfast. Brother Juniper's is an establishment in Memphis part charity-part breakfast and lunch restaurant nestled beside the University of Memphis campus. The food was delicious and we even got to try some cheese grits, a kind of savoury fine-grained porridge.
Onward to The Peabody, a hotel built in 1869 made famous for its ducks, who live on the roof of the hotel and are escorted with great fanfare across the ornate lobby to spend the day in the fountain (complete with feeding bowl). They stay there until the afternoon when they are escorted back. They are trained to stay in the fountain and seem to ignore the many folk that come to see them. We ventured to the roof to check out the accommodations after seeing them paddling in the lobby. The view to the wide Mississippi River over the mainly low-rise Memphis must have been a revelation in the 1870s. The hotel has undergone a major restoration from leaner times and even a period of closure. Of course, the ducks deserve a bit of credit for why the hotel was so well regarded.
Blues are what Memphis is known for and Beale St is where a lot of that still takes place. Along its length small bars and music venues share the space with a few tourist shops and attractions. We visited the Schwab store and museum which had some amazing history for the area when cotton was king and Schwab’s were the department store. The street has references to the major talents which include Elvis and BB King.
Another curiosity which is a special Memphis treat was the Pyramid now housing the massive Bass Pro store / hotel / experience. This huge pyramid was converted into a sporting goods store complete with fish-stocked ponds with boats, a few restaurant options, a hotel with cabin-themed rooms overlooking the store and it is all themed wilderness. The store is of course amazing with every hunting-fishing device known available. There is a frame in the centre that has one of the tallest free-standing elevators in the world which takes you to a viewing area (and restaurant) with expansive views along the Mississippi River to the gorgeous double-arched Hernando Desoto Bridge to Arkansas and the three-bridge set further downstream.
A quick dinner at Huey’s gave us one last opportunity to spend some time with Ariel before we leave for Little Rock tonight. This restaurant offers the battered-pickles which are amazing among the normal fare. All too soon we had to head off but not before leaving a message of love for Memphis on the graffiti wall, jointly from Australia and New Zealand.
In 1968 the Lorraine Motel was the scene of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Now it is a Civil Rights Museum and has been stopped in time. It is another moving monument to the great man and his unfinished cause.
Making for Little Rock, Arkansas after dark we stopped in to pay our respects to Graceland. The homestead is famous as the home and now the resting place of Elvis Presley. Again, on the graffiti wall, we left our thanks for the music. Leaving town we stopped by the Mississippi River to touch it here of its over 2000 mile (3700 km) journey from Minnesota to Louisiana.
Onward to Little Rock.
Rosie – crazy Bass Pro for being crazy, very moved by the Civil Rights Museum
Angus – the Civil Rights Museum