You’re itching to take a weekend trip, but can’t find anyone to join you. Don’t despair. There are plenty of places you can enjoy without a traveling companion. One of my favorites is Memphis, Tennessee. Due to its location, most anyone can get to Memphis for a weekend. As a former flight attendant, I spent a lot of time there by myself. I always felt safe, and I loved the Southern hospitality!
Once you arrive in Memphis, I suggest checking into the Peabody Hotel at 149 Union Ave. This top-notch hotel is the epitome of luxury. However, they usually offer great weekend rates. The famous “Peabody Ducks” live on the rooftop and make their daily waddle to the lobby fountain at 11 a.m. If you find yourself too tired to go out on Friday, the Peabody has several great restaurants to choose from. Their lobby bar is also fantastic. Locals as well as guests of the hotel enjoy the splendor of this historic hotel. You’re sure to find some great folks to visit with before you turn in for the night.
Get up bright and early Saturday morning so you don’t miss any of what Memphis has to offer. A definite must is a visit to Graceland. This 13-acre estate is home to the late Elvis Presley. Tours are offered daily, and you can see some of the famous rooms just as they were in Elvis’ day. During your tour, you can wear headsets that narrate events in Elvis’ life and explain the décor of many of the rooms. On the grounds, there is a museum that contains old costumes, gold records, and Elvis’ large car collection. People have been known to swear to a sighting of the King while taking one of the tours. I can almost promise you’ll have a lively conversation with another visitor about whether or not Elvis has really passed away! For more details, visit www.elvis.com/graceland.
After several hours at Graceland, you’ll be ready for some down home barbecue for lunch. Corky’s is located at 5259 Poplar Ave. and is worth the wait you’ll probably experience. It’s a small restaurant and has servers who still wear bow ties. All the meat is slow-cooked over charcoal and hickory wood, which gives it a very distinct flavor. You’ll have the choice of their special dry shake or their famous barbecue sauce. Rest assured, you’ll love anything you order at Corky’s.
For an afternoon adventure, how about a drive down Interstate 55? Just about an hour from Memphis in Dyess, Arkansas, you’ll find the home of Johnny Cash. As you stroll around this small country town, you’re likely to meet someone with tales of the Cash family. There are also some country stores where you may find some quaint souvenirs to take home.
Saturday night dinner should be at Rendezvous, which is located near your hotel at 52 S. Second St. Even though you had barbecue for lunch, you must get the ribs at Rendezvous. They are quite famous and are even shipped throughout the U.S. If you just can’t eat any more barbecue, try the pork loin (but ship some ribs home). It is just as delicious.
Sunday would be a great day for a trolley ride through downtown Memphis. You can catch this near the Peabody. It’s a great way to see the sights of downtown, and chances are your driver will have some historical information to share. For times, go to www.matatransit.com/trolleyService.
If you have time before leaving, a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum should be worked in. The museum is located on the site of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968 (450 Mulberry St.). The exhibits and collections do a wonderful job of detailing the Civil Rights movement from 1619-2000. As you wander around the museum, you can almost feel the passion that was there in 1968.
By the end of your weekend, I am confident that you will have had a great time despite traveling alone. Southerners are terrific about starting up conversations, and they are typically thrilled to tell guests about the history of their area. You may just find that you can’t wait to return to the Memphis area with or without a traveling mate!