about 10 days after i got back to memphis, ellie and ben came to town. they were in the states for 3 months while ellie completed a work exchange, and the timing worked out perfecctly for them to come down for a weekend.
before they came i sent them a list of things to do and places to eat so they could pick the things that were most important to them and we could maximize our time. their choices were the civil rights museum and graceland along with fried chicken, bbq, and beale street, all of which i was more than happy to work into our schedule.
after i picked them up from the airport and we dropped our stuff downtown, we refueled with some cheese fries at huey’s, walked along the bluffs so they could revel in the the views of the river, and made our way over to gus’s for lunch. while we waited we chatted a bit about memphis history and the immediate differences they were noticing between new york city and memphis.
once we had gorged ourselves on as much fried chicken and mac-and-cheese and baked beans as humanly possible, we made our way over to the national civil rights museum. the museum is one of my favorite places to take visitors to the city, and this was my first visit after the renovations that were completed just before i moved back to india. the updated museum is even more phenomenal than i could have imagined, and we spent over 4 hours making our way through the exhibits.
after a quick stop back at our hotel to rest our feet and freshen up, it was time to head over to beale street. our first stop was blues city cafe, home of my favorite ribs in the city. our food was great, ben got the apple crumble he had been craving, and we had some great dinner entertainment. from there we wandered along beale street, eventually stopping for a while in handey park before winding up our night at the tin roof.
our first stop on sunday was the arcade for breakfast. i knew ellie and ben would appreciate the history as well as the deliciousness, and we were not disappointed. those sweet potato pancakes are divine, and we fueled up nicely for the day ahead.
from there we headed off to say hi to elvis. by my estimate, this was my 32nd visit – give or take – to graceland, and it was just as great as each of the ones before. ellie and ben both knew who elvis was, obviously, but they didn’t know much about his life and his influence on music, so it ended up being a great visit for all of us. i especially appreciated that they let me hang out in the racquetball room watching the video of aloha from hawaii for nearly half an hour.
we wrapped up our visit with a quick stop by the gift store and then made our way over to overton square. we joined chrystal and walshie on the second line patio before moving our group over to the babalu patio. the weather wasn’t terrible, and we had a great time drinking and chatting and snacking on guacamole and street corn. after that we made our way over to the rec room to watch game 7 of the nba finals before calling it a night.
both ellie and ben had work calls on monday morning, so we hung around until they finished those and then had a great breakfast at blue plate downtown. ben couldn’t quite get over the size of the pancakes, and we once again stuffed ourselves silly. by the time we finished our breakfast it was time to head to the airport to send them back on their way.
it was so great to have them both in town and to show them around my beloved memphis. i hadn’t seen either of them since my 2012 visit to london, so we were long overdue for a reunion, and the timing could not have been better.