In December, for Christmas, I surprised my dad with tickets to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.
My dad is seriously the hardest person to shop for. That mixed with the fact that he always tells everyone not to get him anything when they ask him what he wants. So, I decided to get him good this past year!
The day that I was planning on giving him the tickets he was making a lot of Elvis references. He said, "This is my favorite Elvis song," when a song came on. He was naming his favorite artists after I had asked him to, and he said, "Well, Elvis of course."
So, needless to say he was speechless when he opened his gift.
This past weekend it was finally time for us to hit the road to Memphis.
Our first stop was Beale Street.
We visited the famous Sun Studio where Elvis himself recorded 5 records.
We visited the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is built around the former Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
Sunday was the day...GRACELAND! We went early to visit the Meditation Garden where Elvis' grave site is located.
Our tour did not start until later that morning, so we decided to visit The Arcade Restaurant for breakfast. The Arcade is Memphis' oldest restaurant. It was built in 1919. Many artists, filmmakers, writers and photographers have been drawn to The Arcade for all of the rich history that surrounds it.
After breakfast it was finally time for our tour. My dad was so excited! The image below is the view you get looking up as soon as you walk into the front door of Graceland. The upstairs of the home has been off limits and untouched since Elvis' death on August 16th, 1977. He died in the bathroom just above where I was standing to take this photo. Eerie, I know.
Below are some of my favorite photos from Graceland. The basement was really cool. I also loved that we got to tour Elvis' airplane, the Lisa Marie. All of the gold accents on board are 24 karat gold - including the seat belt buckles.
The last part of our tour was a trip to Elvis Presley's automobile museum. Before we went in my dad said that he was going to be pissed if there was no pink Cadillac (lol). One of the last cars in the museum was the pink Caddy. That was the cherry on top of the trip!
I fell in love with Mempops while I was in Memphis. Mempops sells all natural, hand-crafted popsicles. I got the banana Nutella pop dipped in dark chocolate (craving one right now - can't even deal *crying*).
When I was younger, before college, my dad and I were not very close. Not close at all actually. Throughout the years and as I have gotten older, we have become very close. I can honestly say that he is one of my best friends. He often goes to new places and new restaurants with me. He enjoys it, and I enjoy his company.
It warmed my heart to see his face light up at Graceland. He was like a kid all over again. He has not had the easiest life and he works very hard. He takes care of my mom, my sisters and even me if I ever need anything (like when he drove an hour and a half to come see what was wrong with my car before I took it to the shop where they probably would have charged me an arm and a leg to fix it). So, he deserved a little something for himself. I can't express enough how much it meant to me to be a part of his first experience at Graceland. I can't express enough how grateful I am to have a father that I can be so close to. It wasn't always this way, but I am thankful for the relationship that we now share.
To my dad, but also to my mom, I love you very much.