Take me to your heart, Graceland

Much like its legendary owner, Graceland makes no apologies for its all out assault on the senses.

On one level, it stands as a testament to consumerism and offers eager tourists the opportunity to purchase, view, tour, listen and celebrate all things Elvis, for an escalating price.

On another, though, Graceland offers a precious glimpse into the heart of a man idolized the world over, who loved his family and remained devoted to his hometown.

Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you can tour Elvis’ home and meditation garden, host an event, get married, see the inside of his private plane, sleep in the Heartbreak Hotel.

We chose the simple tour and that proved to be plenty for us. We saw garish decorations everywhere, except in the heart of the house. With a cast iron skillet on the stove and a small television set, Elvis’ kitchen remained remarkably simple. Said to be the busiest room in the house, thanks to the steady stream of guests and round-the-clock routines of the Presley entourage, the kitchen stood in stark contrast to more flamboyant places like the pool room, covered completely in nearly 400 yards of cloth.

Nearly every room had a mirror, and I made Molly pause in front of almost each one, which begged the question, who is vainer, the man who installs mirrors throughout his home, or the guest who photographs herself in nearly each one?

As we wound through the first floor of the house, the office, grounds, racquet ball court and meditation garden, we listened to Elvis’ voice, heard him sing, appreciated his laugh and grew to admire him more and more.

The tour ends in the meditation garden where Elvis is buried, along with his mother, father, and grandmother (who outlived them all). A grave stone also pays tribute to Elvis’ twin brother Jesse, who died at birth.

For all his human foibles, Elvis’ legacy remains that of a gifted musician and entertainer, whose expansive generosity to his friends, family and hometown has transcended his death for nearly 50 years.

Molly at Graceland
It looks stately from the outside, a regular, though lovely, home.
Peacock room
Inside is a little more Elvis, with stained glass peacocks and white shag carpeting.
Ordinary kitchen
In all of this opulence, the kitchen seemed quite understated. According to our John Stamos-voiced tour (and Thank you, Thank you very much for that Mr. John Stamos), the kitchen was the busiest room in the house. Someone was always cooking something.
Parachute room
The kitchen remains a stark contrast to other rooms, like this fabric-covered pool room.
Jungle room
Elvis recorded 16 songs in the jungle room, a weirdly cool mix of Hawaiian and jungle decor. Notice anyone you know in that center mirror?
Molly Mirror
And, speaking of mirrors, how ’bout this shot I took of Molly heading down the mirrored staircase to the basement floor.
Gold record hallway
Only a fraction of Elvis’ awards hang in Graceland, and they still fill entire hallways and rooms.
This is the view of Graceland from across the street.
Molly Artwork
I just thought this picture of Molly, waiting outside the bus boarding area at Graceland, looked cool.
Auto Museum
There are several additional tours available, including a museum full of Elvis’ cars.
Elvis'  grave
They moved Elvis back to Graceland for security reasons and he now rests in his own meditation garden, along with his grandma, parents and brother. It seems appropriate that Elvis remains in Graceland. He loved the estate for 20 years and the party continues today.


5 thoughts on “Take me to your heart, Graceland

  1. I would agree…I thought the very same when I toured just a few years ago. The kitchen just is so “simple” compared for the other gaudy rooms. I also thought that the pool would be much larger for some reason…enjoyed my tour though!

  2. Hi, I love your blog, especially the posts about Ron Kostelnik. I have a question about research I am doing, and would appreciate it if I could correspond with you a bit via email.

    Thank you,

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