A Day in Memphis

I hope your Christmas was lovely. What’d you get? Where’d you go? What’d you eat?

Our Christmas was preceded by a whirlwind trip to Saint Louis and back. Saint Louis- that’s an 11 hour drive from our little Baton Rouge home. I am no stranger to long drives, but any sane person would tell you that’s too long to be in the car, especially with a 17 month old. So we got up at 3:30 in the morning (on Tuesday) and drove to Memphis. (I was super excited, I had never been before!) That was six hours. This is what Kennedy thought of the drive:

We bribed her with Fraggle Rock videos and the promise of ducks. For the most part, it worked.

Now, you might be wondering, ducks? The first stop on our day visit to Memphis was to the famous Peabody Hotel to see the Peabody Ducks make their way to the fountain. For the past 70 years, every morning at 11 am the elevator opens to the lobby of the Peabody and several ducks race to the fountain (on a red carpet!) and spend their day there. At 5 o’clock they walk back to the elevator and retire for the day. I couldn’t believe how crowded it was. But it was worth it, we got front seats to the red carpet, and we spent the better part of the hour gaping at the duckies in the fountain.

I don’t know if it’s the 3 am wake up, the crowd, or the lighting, but these aren’t my best photos.

Ahh, the regal duck!

 Look how excited she is. It was “Ducks, duck, Ducks!” all day long!

Once we pried her away from her new feathery friends, we headed to the trolley stop. We took the Riverfront trolley. It’s route gave us a good view of downtown and the riverfront. The trolley itself was fun, very vintage, a relic of a simpler time.

(No, I don’t know those people.)

Look at the conductor’s (Is it a conductor on a trolley?) seat. Don’t think I could handle sitting in that thing the whole day.

During the ride, some locals recommended Mud Island. Mud island is a man made island that features a museum of the Mississippi River and a scale model. It was a bit far, but we decided to walk it. (After all, we’d been sitting in the car for 6 hours.) On the way we spotted the Fire Museum and stopped there. (FYI, we lucked out, on Tuesdays the tickets are half price, so it cost 6$ instead of 12$.)

I think we were the only people in the whole museum. It was pretty neat though, they had all kinds of fire engines that you could walk into and ‘drive.’ They also had a firehouse pole. (We may now install one in our next house.)

They also had exhibits on the history and evolution of the Fire Engine.

Finally, they had a room on fire safety in the home. Kennedy found another duck.

When we made it out of the Fire Museum, it was pouring down rain. We hopped back on the trolley and regrouped. eventually we decided to head to the Civil Rights Museum (it has a reputation for being phenomenal!) ….And whomp, whomp… luck was against us this time. It’s closed on Tuesdays. (Who closes on Tuesdays!?!) I am still glad we went, though. The museum occupies the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot, and the building  that James Earl Grey was in when he shot him.

Martin Luther King Jr. was standing in front of his room, 306, when he was assassinated.

The whole area just feels heavy. The bright colors of the once hotel feel jarring and crass, it’s the very definition of juxtaposition.

The area around the Museum is nice- very artsy. I could have been happy spending the day walking in the galleries and admiring all be freshly renovated buildings. We walked around- heading loosely in the direction of the Peabody Hotel. It was around this time the baby passed out. Poor thing.

We found the infamous Beale Street.

I spotted Elvis. Sort of..

We couldn’t leave Memphis without trying the bbq. We had dinner at Rendezvous, known throughout the world for their barbecue. (To be honest- I thought it was a let down- but smoked ribs just aren’t my thing. And they didn’t have milk or juice or a kids menu or dessert)

And that as our day. I feel like we could have done more, but at the same time I feel like we did a lot. I would really love to go back. Actually go to Mud Island and the Civil War Music. Experience the legendary blues. Go to Sun Studios. See Graceland. Ahhh- I missed so much! One day ….

Have you ever been? Any recommendations?


2 thoughts on “A Day in Memphis

  1. Pingback: On The Road Again, Bones « The Schmitt House

  2. Pingback: 630 feet high « The Schmitt House

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