Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Memphis: Preview

So, we're driving to Colorado next month. But three consecutive days of nonstop driving with a toddler would probably wear on us a little bit, so we're not doing that. Instead, we decided to find a good place to stop and spend a day between here and there, that was a) along the way (within reason), and b) would fit into the itinerary reasonably well, in terms of where our overnight stops would need to be in a three-day drive to Denver. (In other words, a stop exactly halfway between here and Colorado wouldn't really work; it would have to be one-third or two-thirds of the way.)

I basically narrowed it down to three cities: Memphis, Kansas City, and Louisville. We've been to Kansas City a couple of times (although not for a full day either time), so, meh. As for Louisville...well, I'm sure Louisville is a fine city, and that we could find plenty to do there if we were, well, stuck there for a day. Memphis it is!

So, what is there to do in Memphis? Well...let's get this out of the way: we are not going to Graceland. It's not that I'm anti-Elvis; it's just that it's my general reaction when researching potential vacation cities is to automatically rule out the most famous tourist attraction, because said attraction is usually a) crowded (obviously), b) overpriced, and c) catered to old people. Not unlike the Biltmore Estate, in fact. (Nothing against Biltmore, but I don't plan on going there until we're at least 60.) That, and Amber (who is decidedly pro-Elvis; our first dance at our wedding was to an Elvis song, actually) has already been to Graceland. So, yeah.

What else is there in Memphis besides Graceland? Let's have a look.

1) So, no, Elvis's former home (or whatever Graceland is supposed to be) doesn't interest me enough to make it worth the price of admission. The former home of the founder of Piggly Wiggly, on the other hand...sign me up! Yes, this is an actual thing that you can visit. After the Piggly Wiggly founder went broke, his mansion was given to the city of Memphis, who eventually converted it into a museum now called the Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium. The museum itself is probably nothing special, but they do have...wait for it...a replica of the very first Piggly Wiggly! YES!!! Maybe it's best that we go to the Piggly Wiggly Museum while Marla is still too young to remember any of this nonsense.

2) Remember that blog post I wrote about pandas a while back, and the saga of what will happen to the pandas at the Memphis Zoo once the ten year lease with China runs out? I haven't see any updates on that story lately, so as far as I know, the pandas are still there. And yes, the pandas are probably the only reason we'd consider spending a half day at the zoo while we're in town. Otherwise, it's just another zoo, right?

3) Beale Street is famous for jazz or blues or something. We obviously wouldn't go out here at night and see a show or anything - when you have a kid, and 7 PM rolls around, you're done for the day - but it might be worth going here just to see it, I guess. I don't know. Anyway, a trip to downtown Memphis is on my list of possibilities, just to go there. I'm assuming downtown Memphis will be more interesting than downtown Selma, Alabama was.

4) Normally when we go out to eat on road trips, we play at safe and just go to Cracker Barrel or something. However, when I'm in a place that claims to have good barbecue - and pretty much everybody thinks they have good barbecue, right? - I make it a point to sample some local barbecue. Memphis is one of those places. But as far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be a consensus "If you can only eat at one Memphis barbecue joint, go HERE above ALL OTHERS!!" choice. I went to several websites ranking the best barbecue joints in Memphis, and each one had a different restaurant ranked #1. So, with that in mind, we may as well just go to the closest barbecue joint to the hotel, right? That would be a place called "Corky's". Or, there's a place a little farther from the hotel, and supposedly better, called "Central BBQ". Whatever - as long as it's not vinegar-based, I'll be satisfied.

5) Mud Island River Park looks interesting, and we'd totally go there...except that they're closed on Mondays, and that's the day we'll be there. Oh well - can't win 'em all.

So, to summarize: Memphis has a replica of the first Piggly Wiggly, plus a few other things that I'm really uncommitted towards. Any recommendations? Should we go to Louisville instead?

1 comment:

Spartangoogle said...

Or you could go back to Hot Springs.