Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Day 4 of 9 "Spoons & Tunes": Nashville, Memphis & New Orleans

We are not even half way through this incredible trip and what we have seen and done so far has just been amazing. After spending 3 glorious nights at the sprawling Gaylord Opryland Resort, today is the day we say goodbye to Nashville, and make our way to Memphis. Before doing so however, we still had 2 more stops in Nashville on the way out.
We all enjoyed another bountiful breakfast at the hotel, and then got our bags packed to hit the road.

We treat all of our guests to baggage service. All they have to do is leave their main bag inside the door of their room (tagged of course) and we collect them all, get them on our coach, and deliver them to the rooms at the next hotel.
Our first stop of the day was the historic Ryman Auditorium - first opened their doors in 1892. You would not believe the story of this iconic building. They showed us a very well done film at the beginning of our self guided tour that explained the history and the events that went on inside this building. Again another great collection of music memorabilia and artifacts.

The lighter colour wood  along the front part of the stage is the original stage... the darker wood that makes up most of the stage is the newer part that replaced the old deteriorating wood that unfortunately could not be saved. Look up the Ryman Auditorium Nashville online when you have a moment to learn about this place. I stood on the original part of this stage - the same stage where performers like Charlie Chaplin, Harry Houdini, W.C. Fields, Louis Armstrong, Bob Hope, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and many, many more performed over the years.

Of course I got some staff members to sign my memoir cookbook.

They even had a recording studio where 2 of our guests (Tracey & John) recorded songs for them to take home, and they were kind enough to let us listen to them on the coach. This is John performing his single.

And of course they had a gift shop too. This is a common theme down here - every attraction has a gift shop.

Then we said goodbye to downtown Nashville...

...and made our way to the Beale Meade Plantation for a tour and wine tasting. Again more incredible history and it was an honour to be in these buildings and on these grounds.

Then we said goodbye to Nashville altogether and started heading our way to Memphis.

It was sure great to pull into Memphis and see the first billboard for Graceland.

Then we checked all of our Guests into The Guest House at Graceland. This was a complimentary upgrade for the Guests of the 2018 Chef Dez Culinary Tour as we were originally booked to stay at the Crowne Plaza... which is still a good hotel, but the Guest House is so much better! This property is only 1 year old and it has been designed and decorated very nicely... like a very classy Elvis style. Here are a few shots of the outside, inside, and my room.

We are not scheduled to go to Graceland officially until tomorrow, but since this hotel property is practically right next door to Graceland, I couldn't help but sneak away from the group and just go to the gates of Graceland - check out the live video on my Facebook page I did from the gates of Graceland. This was a very special moment for me. Ever since I was a little kid I have loved Elvis. It was my big brother Clayton (8 years older than me) that got me hooked and I am forever grateful. I have always wanted to be at, and touch, these gates... and today that dream just came true.

Reluctantly, I had to step away from the gates of Graceland and get back to meet our group at our coach as we were heading to downtown Memphis. The Chef Dez Culinary Tour bought everyone dinner at Charlie Vergo's Rendezvous - a Memphis tradition since 1948 and famous for their charcoal ribs! Our server "Robert Jr." has been working there now for 38 years - you will see him in the picture below of 6 staff members (3rd from the left).

When we were done our fantastic dinner, the sun had set. We then walked past Lansky Bros. (where Elvis loved to shop) on our way to the famous Beale Street.

And you cannot walk down Beale Street without having a beer in your hand!

After that we took the shuttle back to The Guest House to retire for the evening. Tomorrow we are doing a coach tour of Memphis and then Graceland! Thus, I need to go to bed now to rest up so I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for an experience of a lifetime. Until then... goodnight.

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