Touring Graceland

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Since Priscilla Presley opened up the gates of Graceland in 1982, I have been dreaming of a trip to visit Elvis’ home. Finally, after 32 years of dreaming, I was driven through those iconic gates to start the VIP tour.

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The walk to the front door.

(Side note: If you’re heading for Graceland, pay for the VIP Tour. No standing in line makes it worth the price of admission, plus the other exhibits are free. Also, sign up for Elvis Insiders the discount alone is worth the price of joining.)

We were dropped off on the side of the house and made our way to the front.

For me, this was emotional. I was walking where Elvis had trod. I kept stopping and looking around. Don’t worry about taking too long, the Graceland staff are exceptional with customer service. They go out of their way to make you feel welcomed and at ease. Cry at your first glance of Graceland? One of them will smile at you and tell you it’s going to be all right. Everybody cries at Graceland, I was told.

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The staircase leading to the still and will always be private upstairs.

Once reaching the famous door, we were again reminded to take our time.

The entrance is the only part of the house you really don’t get a chance to stand and take in. This is out of necessity, as other people need to be able to make their way into the house. You’re politely asked to begin your tour to the right.

And, there you find yourself staring at Elvis’ living room.  Once I settled myself, my first thought was “This doesn’t look gaudy.” We’ve all been told that Graceland isn’t classy, but I could live in this living room.  My second thought was, “You could tell Elvis didn’t have boys.”  I mean, a nearly all white living room?  I thought it was tasteful, even if it was a little dated.  You could picture Elvis just chilling with friends or walking back into the music room to sing gospels.

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His classy living room

You, whenever you’re ready, shuffle on down the hall to his parents’ bedroom, which you can only see through an open doorway and it’s a little cramp down there, as the only way back is to circle around. Speaking of crampness, the size of Graceland is most surprising. To those of us who had seen the pictures, the movies of Elvis’ home; the place seemed huge and iconic. When Elvis purchased Graceland in 1957, it was twenty years old and 10,000 sq feet. Over the years, he added on and Graceland is now over 17,000 sq feet. Even with the additions, it just feels smaller than other homes. I think it is because now a home such as this would have vaulted ceilings, also, many of the rooms are smaller than what they would be in newer homes. For instance, the dining room in where I grew up wasn’t too much smaller than Elvis’.

The dining room

The table is set and ready for Elvis to call everyone to dinner.

 

The kitchen

The really surprising room is next, his kitchen.  According to Lisa Marie, who talks you through a part of the kitchen tour, it was the busiest room in the house.  Food was being prepared at all hours and you could request anything at any time of the day.  I can’t imagine trying to cook for all of those people in such a small room.

That’s an electric stove.  Now, considering the time, I would’ve expected a gas stove.  Personally (and, I own an electric stove) I would prefer a gas stove.  I discussed this with Miss Sharon, who was working in the Heartbreak Hotel’s gift shop (and, it was just the two of us), and she said that Elvis always wanted the best and an electric stove back then was considered the best.  Plus, he would have the money to put one in.

After the kitchen, you have a very brief look at the Jungle Room before heading downstairs to the TV room.  Back in the sixties, Elvis learned that President Lyndon Johnson had three TVs that he watch simultaneously.

Elvis' TV room
Elvis’ TV room

Elvis copied this idea and put in three TVs.  My favorite parts of this room are the mirrored ceiling, the design on the wall and the monkey.  I wouldn’t mind owning a wrap around couch like that either.  Of course, I need a bigger house.

You double back across the hall and into (sorry, Elvis), the ugliest room know to mankind.  It is horrible – absolutely horrible.

The absolutely ugliest room in the world.
The absolutely ugliest room in the world.

Apparently, someone got a little rough with the pool table and tore the felt. I’m not exactly sure why it was never repaired, but it wasn’t and you can still see the rip.

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The pool table.
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