Clinton Birthplace Foundation117 S Hervey St, Hope, AR 71801
On our way to Memphis, we saw the sign off the highway about #42 birthplace in Hope, AR. Having never been, we popped in for a look. Only a few miles off the highway you’ll find the home President William Clinton lived in as a kid. The park station on site also has information about him and the area. The exhibit is free, but parking is sparse. You should be able to park alongside W Division without too much trouble.
William J Clinton Library and Museum1200 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock, AR 72201
President Clinton, Ol’ 42, was my president. He was the first one I got to vote for and happily voted for him again. The library was $10 pp to get in and is filled with information. At this time, his message of hope and progress seems out of place. While there is a lot of great information here, one cannot go through and not think of what could have been with Hillary. There is a replica of his Oval office and even a few pics of buddy the dog which so many forget over Socks the cat. If you find yourself in Little Rock, take a moment to stop in.
Sheraton Memphis Downtown250 N Main St, Memphis, TN 38103
I booked the hotel using Starwood points about three weeks before our trip. I chose this hotel for its proximity downtown and low points cost. As so many downtown hotels do, they farm out their parking to a third party that charges exploitive amounts. You can park across the street, still pay and rick crossing the busy street. The location is good if you want to get on and off the highway quickly, but there isn’t really anything within walking distance save an excellent breakfast place. When we arrived Friday evening, they were busy but check-in when pretty smooth. They were unable to upgrade us (never an issue with Hilton properties) and the only king bed they had left was handicap accessible. Which is fine, just not great. They did give us two free vouchers for the bar which we used and were entertained by the parade of college kids drinking openly cans of Bud Light (gag) as they loaded on a bus waiting in the parking lot. I suspect many other bad choices were made that evening. It’s also a popular spot for moms of little kids to stash their kids while they get a drink at the bar. The A/C is a retrofit, so it’s in the room with you and a bit loud when it starts. Also, the room was right next to the elevator wall, so you can hear them going up and down. The doors are paper thin, but thankfully there were very few people in the halls at night.
Alchemy940 Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104
After getting settled in, we headed out for St. Patrick’s Day drinks. We wanted to avoid the rougher bars, so we came to Alchemy since we love a good cocktail. This place was divine. They offer small plate food, a large selection of beer and of course a wide variety of craft cocktails. I had the Alchemist, Bees Capris and Clear Boulvardier the last being my favorite. I also did the Tullahoma Tennessee flight, but I would not recommend it. The whiskeys were still quite young and rough. The food was delicious, I had the sliders and my wife had the tomato soup and grilled cheese. Both were finished off. The area around here is vibrant and quickly becoming gentrified. There are a lot of cool places to eat and drink, but for those in need of a cat fix, there is the House of Mews which is a rescue/adoption center you can visit with the lovely felines. When the place is closed, the cats draw a lot of attention as they are out roaming free in the shop.
Blue Plate Cafe113 Court Ave, Memphis, TN 38103
I looked this place up the morning of and my fellow travelers here on Tripadvisor did not let us down. It’s a little hole in the wall with three floors but only one for seating. The from foyer is big enough for about 8 people which is one tenth the space they need. I’d recommend calling ahead to try and get your name on the list, or when you arrive, get to the counter before standing in line. We waited on the stairs as many seem to do. While the line was long; and apparently shorter than their busier times, we were seated in about 10 min. It goes in waves as a bunch of people get seated then they all get ups and leave. We arrived close to 10 am and the line was still strong when we left at 11 am. The food was amazing, down home fare you’d expect. Our server Ruby was attentive and very sweet even though she was taking care of close to 20 people. This was the best part of the location we stayed in.
GracelandElvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116
What trip to Memphis would be complete without a trip to Graceland? I was there in 2014, but my wife had never been so this was mostly for her. Upon arrival, I noticed it was a lot different. They are locking parking down a lot more, so you might as well park in their paid lot, currently $10. The entire complex has been redone. They built an entirely new area behind the old shops. They haven’t quite got all the bugs works out for traffic flow and exhibits, but it looks like it will be a much bigger experience in the future. Graceland is worth walking through, but I’d aim for a time that is off peak as it can get really crowded.
Central BBQ (Downtown)147 E Butler Ave, Memphis, TN 38103
Wanting a taste of that famous Memphis BBQ we opted for this location given its proximity to other things we wanted to see. The line was long, but the reviews were good so we patiently waited our turn. There is a line because they have one cashier you place your order with then seat yourself. There is plenty of seating inside once you run the gambit. The line took about 15-20 minutes to get through then I got my food in about 15 min, which isn’t bad given how popular the place is. My wife’s food did not arrive and after 10 min waiting it required me going to the counter to be told the brisket she ordered was out and would be ready in another 20 min. We opted to just change the order. No apologies, no concessions. The food was just ok. You can get the same quality at a Dicky’s chain. I presume the people writing the reviews aren’t from the south where you can get great bbq almost anywhere so it takes a bit to wow me. My first choice was the Bar-B-Q Shop on Madison. Next time I’ll just go with the best.
The Corner Bar at The Peabody Hotel149 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103
After dinner, we went to the Corner Bar located in the Peabody to wait on the march of the ducks from the fountain to the elevator. It’s connected to the hotel at the NW corner. The drinks are downtown priced, so expect $12-15 each. We got the Peabody because we love peach, though I would have preferred it didn’t have the sour. We also got Moscow Mules, although I ordered Tennessee Mules, just to get a couple of their cups for our collection. After talking with the staff, we decided being on the mezzanine was where we would prefer to be. We ended up on the elevator side which is closer to the announcer, but you miss the view of the ducks actually getting on the elevator. For that, you’d want to be on the other side, facing the elevators and be to the left or right of center for the best view. It’s literally just ducks walking through a lobby for a few seconds, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it.
Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid1 Bass Pro Dr, Memphis, TN 38105
We ended the evening with cocktails on the balcony at The Lookout. Apparently the tallest, freestanding elevator in the world will deliver you to a very busy restaurant/bar with mediocre cocktails. The point is really to get out and see the view of the sunset over Mississippi and views of Memphis. The cost is $10 and no, they do not comp that in any way if you are just there for drinks. It’s definitely worth the trip at least once, like many attractions in Memphis.
National Civil Rights Museum – Lorraine Motel450 Mulberry St., Memphis, TN 38103
By far the highlight of the trip for me. The museum was built onto and incorporates the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was shot. While it does pay homage to his legacy, the exhibit starts with the slave trade and literally walks you through the civil rights movement. This is an informationally dense exhibit with a lot of reading, video, audio, and interactive elements. We went intending to breeze through but stayed for a little over two hours. It’s powerful and moving, a definite must for anyone who love history. We first went by on Saturday on a spring break. Don’t do that. The line was out the door. Instead go early on Sunday when they open around 9am. The door says 1 pm, that’s not correct. You’ll have the place mostly to yourself for real contemplation.