Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion is a must-see destination for Elvis fans around the world. I was thrilled to have the chance to visit and put a virtual check mark on my visit list.
Elvis bought Graceland in 1957 when he was just 22 years old. The elegant home is surrounded by lush green fields where horses graze quietly, unfazed by the lines of fan girls (and guys) lining up to take a peek at the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s home. You can feel the electricity generated by fans, like me, eager to get a glimpse into the legendary life of Elvis.
As you walk through Graceland Mansion, you’re treated to a private tour — via headphones and tablet — narrated by John Stamos. The tour winds through the first floor, basement rooms, office, outdoor space, and a family history archive with photos, home videos, artifacts, Elvis’ office, and more memories. Looking at the photos took me back to a place in time where Elvis changed the music scene. After returning your helmet and tablet, you can stroll through several exhibits like his car collection and a tribute to his time in the military.
I hope you enjoy reading about Graceland as much as I enjoy visiting it. Hopefully, you’ll be able to experience the adventure in person in the not-too-distant future.
Note: Some information in this article was obtained through a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are my own.
That lovely curly lip
This charming curled lip always seems like a bit of a celebrity posting; something that was put on to impress the camera. In the genealogy records, there is a prominent family portrait of Vernon, Gladys and Elvis Presley taken when he was a young child. Her lip is slightly upturned and there is the same twinkle in her eyes. It gave me a sense of its authenticity. The curvature of the lips is synonymous with the iconic smile of Elvis. Over the years, he may have taken on a celebrity hype; but I was delighted to know that it was part of his young and not famous personality.
The living room
My favorite room in Graceland is the living room. The bright and stylish bedroom in white, cream and blue is the first room you see when you enter through the front door.
When you turn to the room, the vibrant and colorful hues are unexpected. They are trendy and chic, and the best surprise is the beautiful peacocks designed in stained glass. These beautiful works of art perfectly frame the entrance to the piano room. I can imagine elegant evenings with guests dressed to the fullest sipping flutes of champagne and doing elaborate record deals.
The dining room
The dining room, as in many houses with a central staircase, faces the living room. Carrying the peacock blues across the space lends a sense of grandeur to the front of the house.
The dining room glistens in the light of the giant chandelier hovering above the sparkling table. The built-in corner niches are reminiscent of the ones I had in my first home. With the table set and ready for guests, you can almost see a gracious southern dinner being served.
The Infamous Jungle Room
The avocado green shag rug on the floor and ceiling sets the stage for this cozy room. Adorned with popular wooden wall panels and a brick water feature, play softly against the leather, natural wood and animal-themed accessories that fill the space.
Known to the Presleys as “The Den”, it was also used as Elvis’ recording studio during his final recording sessions.
The busy kitchen
When I walked past the kitchen, my first thought was “I grew up with a kitchen like this!” Unlike Presley’s kitchen, mine wasn’t open 24/7 to accommodate his hungry family and guests at all hours of the day and night.
The kitchen is ready to serve meatloaf and mashed potatoes or a peanut butter and banana sandwich anytime.
The TV room
Adorned in a high-contrast navy, white, and yellow deco design with three 1970s-era televisions lined up on one wall, the TV room is so inviting that I wanted to sit down and have a casual chat with Elvis.
It’s easy to imagine a bunch of happy friends and family lounging on the wrap-around couch enjoying simulcast football. The adjacent mirrored bar would provide a number of cocktail concoctions while cheering on your favorite team.
The pool room
My favorite room in the house was the padded billiard room. The colorful fabric is pleated along the walls and ceiling, creating a soft and quiet effect. The room is dark and lit by twin billiard lamps designed by Laukhuff Stained Glass, who still designs beautiful glass pieces today. Additional lamps diffuse a soft glow against the fabric-lined walls, creating a warm cocoon effect.
The meditation garden
The beautiful Mediation Garden, built for quiet contemplation, is now the final resting place of Elvis, his parents Vernon and Gladys, his grandmother Minnie Mae and his grandson Benjamin.
Guests pass family graves surrounded by statues and beautiful plans in a quietly dark procession. It’s a place to reflect on what might have been if Elvis hadn’t died so young.
I’m not much of a car enthusiast, but even I can appreciate the brilliant collection of classic cars at the Graceland Automotive Museum. Of course, there’s his infamous pink 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special, as well as many others like his Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide 1200: Liberty Edition, a fun buggy, a prized 1960 Rolls Royce Phantom V, and many others.
More than once I found my wandering mind back to a time when I was driving a vehicle similar to the ones on display. How has it been so many years?
Elvis Presley and the US Army
In 1958 Elvis entered the US Army, much of this time he served in Germany. The exhibit recounting his military service brought back many memories of friends and family members who served during those years.
The fanfare surrounding his military service does not seem to create a problem with his comrades. Perhaps it was his charming personality and sense of duty that resonated with those around him that allowed Elvis to serve his country and maintain his notoriety.
Accommodation at Graceland
There is a beautiful hotel, The Guest House At Graceland, on the property. The hotel offers extravagant suites where you can relax in quintessential rock ‘n roll style. The Vernon & Gladys suites exude expensive mid-century modern elements that will make you feel like Elvis is still in the building.
If you are traveling by car, Graceland RV Park & Campground is located close to Graceland. The 19 acre property is beautifully maintained and within walking distance of Graceland.
“It’s now or never”
I am lucky to have visited Graceland and immersed myself in the home of the king of rock ‘n roll. I loved being able to peek into the lives of the Presley family, it brought me closer to the man himself and gave me a personal connection to his life and his music. As an avid fan of his movies and music, the experience made me appreciate him as a regular guy, more than just a celebrity.
The Elvis Music Manual flashes through my thoughts as I relive my visit to Graceland. “It’s now or never.” I was delighted to discover Graceland nowI hope you too. Never it’s too long to wait.
Pro Tips: See More Memphis
Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977 in Memphis, making 2022 the 45th anniversary of his death. Graceland hosts an ELVIS 45 celebration throughout the year with a series of special events.
While you visit Memphis, check out these amazing restaurants, I’m definitely a fan of Gus’ world famous fried chicken. If you’re looking for the classic Memphis barbecue, head to Charles Vergos Rendezvous. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is full of legendary Memphis memorabilia.
If you’re planning a trip to Memphis, check out these fun road trips: