A few years ago, I created a list of places that I would like to visit in the U.S.A. One of the places on the list was Memphis, TN. I know that Memphis doesn’t always sound like a place that a person would like to go for vacation to some people, but for some reason, I was drawn to location and decided to check it out during my summer break.
I planned this last minute trip in July of 2017 and set up the arrangements for a month later in August. As usual, I flew away with my favorite road trip buddy, my Mom. I scheduled our trip to start in the morning so we would arrive there by the early afternoon. Our flight went smoothly and we arrived in Memphis with plenty of time to see a few sites on day one.
After retrieving the rental car, we had some time before we had to check into our hotel. So we decided to head to the first place on our list of things to do and see in Memphis, the Lorraine Motel. The Lorraine Motel is a historic place in Memphis because it is the site where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. It was a very moving experience. It’s one thing to see these things on tv or in books, but it’s another thing to see it in person. The tour took about two hours. We saw images from the Civil Rights Movement, memorabilia from the bus boycott, historical information about slavery, and the room where Dr. King stayed before he was assassinated. My mother and I were glad that we had the opportunity to see such a historic landmark.
After leaving the Lorraine, we were in desperate need of sustenance. Luckily, there was a BBQ place called Central BBQ located behind the museum. We walked over and ordered enough food to last the rest of the afternoon and evening and drove to our hotel, the LaQuinta Inn and Suites located in downtown Memphis. The hotel was great. It had a modern lobby and awesome service. The room was nicely decorated and had plenty of space for the two of us. I couldn’t have picked a better place for us to lay our heads and eat our food for the next few days.
On the morning of day two, I was in a lot of pain. We were unable to see any sites because we spent most of the day in the emergency room and at the pharmacy. We were only able to see Graceland from the street as we drove to and from the hospital. Even though day two was a bust, Mom was a trooper and took good care of me while I dealt with the pain.
Day three was a better day. It was my birthday and I was determined to make up for the time we lost the day before. We had a late start because I was still in some pain, but with the help of Mom, I managed to get dolled up for another day of adventure.
Armed with my medication and my Mom by my side, we headed out to our next destination, the Woodruff-Fontaine House. This historic attraction was a beautiful Victorian home that had an interesting history. We followed the tour guide and viewed the different areas of the home as she told us about the history of the location. It was cool to walk through the house, view the decor of that era, and listen to the stories of bygone times.
At the end of the tour, we headed to Beale Street in the heart of downtown Memphis for dinner. We chose the Rum Boogie Cafe for our meal. The venue looked like a smaller version of Hard Rock Cafe. It had dim lighting, a stage, and music memorabilia decorating every inch of the walls. The food we ordered at Rum Boogie was some of the best food we had eaten on our trip. By the end of our meal, I was tired and needed a to rest. So we retreated back to our hotel room and watched tv.
Our final day of the trip was a race against time because we had to squeeze in a few more sites before heading to the airport for our 4 pm flight back home. The first place we visited was Gibson Donuts. As soon as we arrived, we could see the long line slinking around the inside of the establishment with customers eager to order their donuts. As we entered the store, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the line was moving at a good pace. Fortunately, the employees were fast and efficient at taking orders and moving the line. Mom and I ordered a variety of donuts and headed back to the car. We each ate one donut and immediately understood what the hype was about. They were really tasty. We ate every crumb before we headed to our next location.
Luckily, the next place on our list, Gus’, was right across the street from Gibson Donuts. We strolled into Gus’ and were immediately seated. It was a down-home spot with Southern charm. They were famous for their fried chicken. We ordered the fried chicken with a variety of sides. Mom and I each took one bite of the chicken and instantly knew why they had a huge following in Memphis. The chicken was mouthwatering. It was so good that I couldn’t begin to tell you what the rest of the food tasted like. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to properly take in the food and the scenery because we had to head to our last landmark on our list before heading to the airport.
We quickly drove to our last stop on our Memphis tour, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, for our final Memphis excursion. The Stax museum was a fun location to visit. We were able to learn about the history of the record company, listen to some excellent soul music, learn about the music’s impact on Memphis culture, and see some authentic memorabilia.
Once we finished our tour of the Stax Museum, we quickly headed to the airport, dropped off the rental car, and boarded our flight. I’m glad I chose Memphis for my birthday weekend trip. It’s a town with an interesting history and good entertainment. It was money well spent.