Yesterday we spent the day in Memphis, mostly in the Beale Street area.
We left about 9:00 am for the short trip over the Mississippi River and our first stop was the Visitor’s Center. When be advised it was a ‘must stop’. Once we got there we weren’t quite sure as to why it was a necessary stop…it has a couple of statues (Elvis & BB King) and the prerequisite tourist pamphlets. We didn’t find anything of use that I hadn’t already found doing my research on the internet.
Next stop was a quick run by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that was founded by actor, Danny Thomas. There is a pavilion with lots of information for visitors but it had an event going on and was closed to the public but we did stop and see the statue honoring Danny and got a quick picture.
Have you heard of the Peabody Ducks? They inhabit the water fountain of the lobby at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. The live in the duck palace on the roof but from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm they enjoy splashing around in the lobby fountain.
Each day at 11:00 am the ducks ride the elevator down to the lobby and march their way across a red carpet, laid out just for them, up a short set of steps and into the fountain. Then again at 5:00 pm they do the whole thing in reverse.
The ducks have been part of the Peabody since 1933 and their march draws quite the crowd. We were there about an hour early so we pretty much got the best seat in the house, a nice table with 4 chairs with a great view.
Shortly before the ‘show’ began I noticed our new friends, Tom & Marty, were there also and had them come over and sit with us. It was nice to get a chance to chat with them again.
The show was short and sweet and afterward all 4 of us went up to the roof to view the ‘duck palace’ and check out the awesome views of the Memphis area.
Michael and I stopped in the memorabilia room of the hotel before leaving the hotel and going off in search of lunch.
Gus’ Fried Chicken had been recommended to us and we decided it was something we wanted to try. It’s just a little place but a very busy one. Tourists and businessmen alike were there to enjoy lunch. I thought we might have a pretty long wait but surprisingly we didn’t have to wait much more than 10 minutes.
We both ordered a 2 piece white meat chicken meal, which comes with cole slaw and baked beans. We also ordered fries and deep fried pickles as appetizers. Everything was very good. The chicken was crispy and very moist with a little spice thrown in. The cole slaw was very good and a nice cool compliment to the spice of the chicken.
We both agreed it was good and that we’d recommend it to anyone but we think we enjoyed the fried chicken at Willa Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans more than we did Gus’…it was even more crispy!
We made our way to Beale Street after we found a parking spot….$5.00 for the day…not bad.
One of the main stops was at A. Schwab General Store. I had read a story on Roadside America about the original owner (back in the late 1800s) always displaying a pair of shoes on the sidewalk an d inevitably the shoes would get stolen. He decided to display just one shoe to discourage anymore theft. But it didn’t work and someone stole the single shoe. So then he thought he’d attract the thief by displaying the remaining shoe…it didn’t work….the shoe was left on display for 100 years!
The shoe was displayed in the front display window later on so when we got there I scoured the front window and found nothing! I asked someone where the shoe was and he went hunting and ended up finding out the about 3 years ago the store was sold and the shoe went missing! Perhaps the original thief’s descendants finally came back for the mate. :-/
We enjoyed relaxing in the outside garden of one blues clubs while listening to a 2 man band play some blues. There was a nice breeze, good music, good people watching and even a couple of goats to watch so we ended up wasting over an hour there.
We had an early dinner at Dyers Burgers…another recommendation. Dyer’s was opened in 1912 and had its own secret cooking process that involved using the same grease (drained daily) every day. That same grease is used today!
We each ordered a cheeseburger meal which came with fries and a drink for $6.99. Once again, while the burgers were good and we’d recommend the place to others just for the uniqueness…they don’t really compare to the burgers at Gonzales Burgers in Donna, Texas or RJs Hamburgers in Kenedy, Texas.
We stopped by the Lorraine Motel which is now the National Civil Rights Museum. The Lorraine Motel is where Martin Luther King was killed while speaking to a crowd back in 1968. In 1991 the motel was turned into a civil rights museum.
On our way home we stopped at Tom Lee Park where there is a memorial to Tom Lee who, in 1925 saved 32 businessmen after the riverboat they were on sank. He made 7 trips back and forth to the shore bringing people to safety.
We also stopped at Martyr’s Park to check out the memorial to victims of the Memphis Yellow Fever Epidemic. The huge numbers of people who died due to the disease are devastating! Many of those that died were people who were healthy and stayed behind to tend to the sick and ended up succumbing to the sickness themselves.
We got home shortly after 6:00 pm and found that Tom & Marty were outside so after grabbing something to drink and our chairs we went next door and visited with them. Tom is retired from the oil business so we did a lot of chatting about that subject as well as traveling, Heartland, the upcoming rally and all kinds of other subjects. The bugs got so bad that we finally called it a night just before 9:00 pm.
Turned out to be an awesome day!