So whilst being both excited and dreading the 8 hour long train ride from New Orleans toMemphis I found it to be very enjoyable. Having researched it before going we decided rather than travelling economy coach we would upgrade and go first class. Now I am always one to try save a few quid where possible but was happy to have spent the few extra dollars to get the roomette. It is a small room that’s suitable for two adults with two chairs that fold into a bed while another bed pops down from above. There is room for a small handbag personal belongings etc but that’s about it, but there is ample space as you enter your carriage for luggage you may have. A few upsides to having upgraded is your three course dinner is included which is served in the dining cart and also complimentary tea coffee juices bottle watered for duration of journey , wi-fi and the comfort of having your own little area for privacy or sleep.
The scenery is amazing as you travel along and as our roomette was on top-level of train we had a brilliant view of the towns and countryside we went through .Also when we were checking in at train station before departure our first class ticket allowed us access to a lounge where there was comfy sofas ,complimentary food and also we were first to be taken out to board train ,so no ques. For the smokers out there you will be glad to know that the train actually makes scheduled smoking stops , they will announce over tannoy when and how long you have, and even for the non smokers its nice to get off and stretch the legs in the fresh air. Arriving at our destination at 10pm at night, trying to get a taxi was a bit of a nightmare, I would advice to have one booked before arrival. For a big city we were shocked how dark and eery the station felt and were very glad to be out of there when we eventually did get a taxi. All in all I would definitely recommend the Amtrak Experience and if your budget allows it , upgrade and go for the roomette . https://www.amtrak.com/home
As our taxi approached the front doors of the Doubletree Hotel, Memphis I taught for sure he had taken us to wrong hotel . As I have previously mentioned we are budget holidayer’s and we never spend too much on a hotel, the way we see it is we sleep in it for a few hours a night so why blow a huge budget on it…Thankfully he was not wrong, we were at the right spot!!! This hotel is absolutely beautiful, clean spacious and bright, sporting a piano player in the foyer, home of T.G.I. Friday’s, huge rooms, such a pity it was only going to be our home for a mere 2 nights. http://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels/tennessee/doubletree-by-hilton-hotel-memphis-downtown-MEMDNDT/index.html
First stop, the world-famous Beale Street. Lined with bright lights, shops, bars, restaurants and music venues this is most certainly one of the city’s major attractions. When we first approached the top of street it drew my mind back to pictures I had seen in a book some time ago, exactly as I had imagined. Plenty of shops to peruse and pick up souvenirs etc. As it had started to pelt down rain we decided to test out some of the local cocktails in Silky O Sullivan’s. Great spot with huge beer garden and live music, with the added attraction of Irish diving goats, yes you heard correct, Irish diving goats…Let me tell you they don’t spare the alcohol in the cocktails either..
Our main reason for making the stop to Memphis was purely to visit Graceland. https://www.graceland.com/ Public transport out to Graceland, considering it’s a huge tourist spot is absolutely brutal. We had to get a taxi working out at roughly $100 dollars round trip..
Regardless of whether you are into Elvis or not you really can’t go to Memphis and not visit it. Graceland is one of the most historic homes in the United States and it offers the guests an interactive iPad tour. This is a great idea as sometimes I find if you are doing a tour that is being led by a guide I can be easily distracted by the slightest of things. I could see something I want to take picture of, then I am not concentrating and I have just missed what guide has said. With the iPad and earphones you can stroll around at your own pace whilst little information boxes are popping up explaining the room that you are in and giving you facts. It is narrated by well-known actor and huge Elvis fan, John Stamos. It is very simple to use even if you are not technologically minded. I did see a few people of older years just staring at the iPad when they were handed out but they got the hang of it in no time.
A bus transports you from the entrance area of Graceland across the road to the home of the King. A beautiful , charming colonial style home, gorgeous gardens with their colorful flowers greet you as you depart the bus.I am not really sure how I expected it to look in appearance inside but it was certainly a memorable experience to be in the home of such an absolute Legend.There is a lot to see both inside the house and out. There are stables a memorial garden loads of buildings with all his records on display.You can take as long as you need walking around then you just join a que where the bus dropped you to go back across to the main part of the park. Our ticket was the platinum with planes so we got to view Elvis’s two airplanes , they are exactly as they were , items are protected in a strong plastic but you can still see them perfectly.
We also visited the museums that house his many vehicles, clothing, records etc.There are also a few eaterys and ice cream shops etc and many outdoor seats so its nice to take a break sit and people watch for a few moments before moving on to the next part of the park.
I highly recommend spending a day here, it’s truly one of the most amazing places I have had the pleasure of visiting, while also instilling envy in family and friends who always say they would love to go there.
Lastly , one other thing I would recommend visiting if in Memphis, is the Peabody Hotel to see the world-famous Marching ducks. They march twice a day,11am and 5pm, down a red carpet and it attracts a lot of people it was so jammed we struggled to see so I would advice getting there early not just at 5pm like we did lol..http://www.peabodymemphis.com/
Unfortunately arriving so late on first night only really gave us a day and a half in this city but I still feel we seen what we set out to, definitely worth a revisit!
Next stop…..Nashville, Tennessee…… 🙂