TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Graceland

Author: , June 11th, 2016

Graceland Mansion

graceland airplaneWe recently went to Memphis and toured Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. We were there about 15 years ago and wanted to see the changes that were made. Well, not many changes have been made. It is like Niagara Falls and other U.S. Monuments, it just stays more or less the same. Graceland is the second most visited home in the country as only the White House draws more visitors. The main difference is that the White House tour is free and Graceland cost money. More than 600,000 people visit Graceland every year!

When you first arrive in the area, you have to find a place to park which can be a bit tricky and expensive. Park a few blocks away on the street and park free otherwise parking lots charge $10 and up.

Graceland dining roomThere is a main lobby building where you purchase your tickets or redeem them and then you go to a ‘waiting area’ where they take your photo (of course and then try to sell them to you afterwards. A shuttle bus then takes you directly across the street to Graceland and drops you off and then you are on your own and can go thru the mansion at your own speed. Most of the interior looks like early Kmart but that is the way he lived so deal with it. At least Liberace did it with class!

graceland living roomThe upstairs of the mansion is off limits so you cannot see the bedroom where he died. Everything about Graceland is devoted to ‘early Elvis’. There are no photos of him in his later years when he got much heavier.

After you finish viewing all you want to in the Mansion then you walk out the back door to the building in the back which houses the many gold records and hundreds of photos and souvenirs from his past.

graceland graveWhen you have toured that then you follow the path to the side of the mansion where his grave is. He is buried next to his Mother and Father and his brother who died in childhood. There are always tons of flowers there from fans all over the world. Be ready to see people crying and sobbing and throwing themselves on the ground! Luckily it is fenced or else am sure that some of his fans would trample the grave.

Then a shuttle bus comes along and takes you back across the street and drops you off right in front of the gift shop. Needless to say you can buy almost anything you want concerning Elvis…… refrigerator magnets, socks, shirts, caps, dolls, cards and about anything you can think of. While you are in Memphis, be sure and check out Beale Street in downtown where they have some of the greatest music bars around.

There are four different tours and prices for Graceland. The Graceland Elvis VIP Tour plus the Airplanes tour runs $80.00 per person. The regular VIP Tour runs $75.00 per person. The Platinum plus airplanes tour runs $47.00. The regular Platinum tour runs $42.50 or just the Mansion Tour runs $38.50.

There is a 10% discount for senior citizens. The different tours allows you to just tour the Mansion itself or to view his autos and his two airplanes which you actually get to walk thru.

Before you go, be sure and check out their website, www.graceland.com You can purchase tickets online so you do not have to stand IN LINE to get your tickets. Graceland is one of those places where you really should go to once just to say you have been there. We highly suggest that you do NOT visit Graceland during Elvis’s ‘Birth Week’ or ‘Death Week’ since his hard shell fans go back year after year for those weeks.

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Tennessee Gay Travel Resources

Tennessee as a Gay Travel Destination

Author: , October 23rd, 2014

Tennessee - Debbie Pippin Photography.Tennessee is probably not the first place that comes to mind when planning a big gay holiday, but let’s think about this for a minute. Dolly Parton. Check! Corn-fed country boys and girls in tight jeans. Check! Stunning scenery. Check! Moonshine. Check! Not sounding so bad an idea now is it?

First off, Tennessee is a big ole’ state, kinda like a parallelogram, so if you are in Memphis at the west end of the state, you are a full day’s drive and a different time zone away from the Great Smoky Mountains in the East end of the state.

There are plenty of resources out there for visiting the big cities like Memphis (Elvis! Scream!!) and Nashville (Rayna James!! Double Scream!!) but I’m from the other end of the state so let’s see what goes on around there.

By Baylen Leonard – Full Story at Gay Star News | Tennessee Gay Travel Resources

Photo by Debbie Pippin Photography

Eating Out in Memphis

Author: , January 7th, 2014

Memphis, Tennessee - Apple Maps

Apple Maps

This Mississippi River city is proud of its barbecue, its fried chicken, its soul food. But the food scene here is often stereotyped because of it.

Those foods are what tourists typically obsess over, standing in line at Central BBQ for smoky ribs or Gus’s Fried Chicken for juicy drumsticks. When told that there’s a place in Memphis that makes standout Korean food like soups and noodle dishes with meat and seafood, some may scoff.

But Crazy Noodle is real, and it might be proof that people in intensely Southern cities like Memphis, where collard greens are made correctly and macaroni and cheese is listed on some menus as a vegetable dish, are welcoming the cuisine of immigrant communities.

Authored By Adrian Sainz – See the Full Story at Edge Boston

Click here for gay travel resources in Tennessee.

Gay Tennessee: Visiting Memphis and Nashville

Author: , April 6th, 2012

Knoxville, TennesseeAlthough they’re the two largest cities of a decidedly conservative state, Memphis memphistravel.com and especially Nashville visitmusiccity.com have developed into popular destinations among gay and lesbian travelers in recent years. Both cities have sizable GLBT communities, are steeped in American music lore, and have noteworthy restaurant scenes – not just barbecue and Southern fare, which is legitimately outstanding in these parts, but sophisticated contemporary cuisine. In both cities, fans of dancing and clubbing will also find a nice range of gay nightlife options.

Here are some key exploring, dining, nightlife, and hotel highlights in these two cities just 215 miles apart via Interstate 40.

Memphis

There’s much to keep visitors busy in this city famous for blues, Elvis, and the tragic assassination in 1968 of Dr. Martin Luther King. Today the Lorraine Motel, where King was shot, is the home of the National Civil Rights Museum, whose collections are the story of America’s Civil Rights history. The surrounding South Main Street neighborhood is a good spot for a stroll, with several cool shops and cafes. A short drive south, you’ll find one of the city’s lesser-known cultural gems, the National Museum of Ornamental Metal, whose galleries and outdoor sculpture garden sit on a hilltop overlooking a scenic bend in the Mississippi River.

Full Story from Pride Source

Click here for gay travel resources in Tennessee.

 

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: 40 Years of Happiness, Fun and Travel Adventures

Author: , March 5th, 2011
Email Don & Ray | Visit the Gay Travel Guys Website

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Graceland

It is VERY hard for us to believe it, but we are celebrating our 40th Anniversary on March 27th. How time has flown by!

In addition, this is the 10th year that we have been writing a monthly travel column for purpleroofs.com.

We have written about the many places around the country, from coast to coast where we have visited and the wonderful people that we have met. We have written about great Bed and Breakfasts, resorts and hotels/motels. We have written about fabulous restaurants where we have dined.

We have met so many great people both gay and straight that we have stayed in touch with thru the years.

We always tell our readers to “have fun when traveling and always talk to everyone”.

We received one email from a reader asking us NOT to tell readers to talk to everyone. When he is traveling, he said that he does not want to talk to anyone.
He wants to sun himself on the beach or at the resort swimming pool with having to be bothered talking to anyone. He doesn’t want to hear about the problems or happiness of other people. Isn’t that sad? He goes to his room and reads a book. You can read a book at home without spending all that money for traveling. However if that is the way he wants to spend his life, fine.

As for us we will continue to talk with everybody that we come into contact with when traveling. You just learn so much more about life and where to go in a particular city and where not to spend your time and money.

GracelandOn our way back from Florida this year, we did stop by Memphis and visited Graceland (pictured at top), the home of Elvis Presley and took, “the tour”. It is not for everyone but seeing how he lived in conjunction with his wardrobe, awards and trophies, autos and airplanes was extremely interesting. Check it out at www.elvis.com.

Lorraiane Motel MuseumAnd while in Memphis we visited many of the other interesting sites including Beale Street experience, the Peabody Hotel and the Lorraine Motel which is now next to the National Civil Rights Museum, www.civilrightsmuseum.org where Dr. Martin Luther King was shot.

Flamingo GardensWhile we were in Ft. Lauderdale we visited the Flamingo Gardens, www.flamingogardens.org and that was one of most pleasant surprises we have had. Located just west of Ft. Lauderdale in a 60 acre area of lush gardens showcasing rare exotic and native plants, the facility offers the perfect backdrop for hundreds of birds, alligators, flamingos, bobcats, otters and other animals. It is a walking tour. It was truly incredible.

Flamingo GardensYou walk right into a bird aviary and the birds are right there. Dozens and dozens of them for you to photograph. They walk right on the paths that you are walking on. They come in all shapes and sizes and colors.

One great aspect is that all of their animals and birds you see are permanently injured, non-releasable animals. They provide a safe refuge for these animals including some of the State’s threatened and endangered species. We were there for several hours however one could spend the entire day there.

When traveling in that area, don’t miss this exciting experience.

When traveling, always remember that most art museums offer a wonderful array of art and antiques to view. We have met a lot of very interesting people while touring museums. Plus, just by talking with other people you can find out about other places to visit including which days are free or two for one admittance.
If you do not want to talk to people when traveling, that is fine, but for us it is the ONLY way to go. As the old saying goes, getting there is half the fun and since we usually drive everywhere we like to stop along the way and “smell the roses”. We are a very “out” gay couple in the city where we live and a very “out” gay couple anywhere we travel. And why not?

Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!
TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Don & ray - Gay TravelersAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/