Happy New Year Everyone!! I hope you had a super duper fantastic, totally amazing New Years Eve! Mine was pretty darn good as I was in Memphis and Nashville,Tennessee visiting a friend of my husband and I’s. It was a glorious trip filled with as much food, beer and music we could devour and most times all at once. lol! So lets what fun I got myself into shall we?
Part 1 of my blog posts: Memphis, Tennessee the home of the King of Rock N’ Roll, Sun Records Studio, Beale Street and the Peabody Ducks.
Part 2 is HERE (Nashville).
I have visited Memphis once before and on that visit we went to Graceland, Sun Records Studio and the Lorraine Motel, so this time our trip was more focused on the music and kind of just hanging out in the city. On our first day there we stopped by the very gorgeous “Peabody Hotel” for the famous “March of the Peabody Ducks” from the main lobbies fountain to their home upstairs on the roof.
The unique tradition started in 1932, when the general manager of the time, Frank Schutt, had just returned from a weekend hunting trip in Arkansas. He and his friends thought it would be amusing to leave three of their live English Call Duck decoys in the hotel fountain. The ducks became immediately popular with hotel guests, and since then, five Mallard ducks (one male and four females) have played in the fountain every day (Source).
In 1940, a Bellman by the name of Edward Pembroke volunteered to care for the ducks. Pembroke was a circus animal trainer and he taught the ducks to march into the hotel lobby, which started the famous Peabody Duck March. He served as the “Duckmaster” until his retirement in 1991.
The ducks, themselves, have been rotated over the years. In fact, each team of five ducks only work for three months before they are replaced by another set. The ducks are raised by a local farmer and are returned to the farm when they retire.
The custom of keeping ducks in the lobby fountain may date back even further than the 1930s. Researchers found a pre-1915 postcard that highlights the ducks playing in the fountain, and one source claims the custom goes back to the hotel’s opening in 1869 (Source).
It was so cute with the Duckmaster in his dapper red jacket and the kids cheering with delight as the ducks made their move. They even had a march theme play while they walked down the red carpet right into the elevators. Ahhhhh fun!
After the ducks we walked across the street to this bar that is known for their $3 Martini Mondays and proceeded to drink for around 3 hours, some of the yummiest martinis I have ever had. My 2 favorites was the “Elvis” which tasted like a peanut butter and banana sandwich AND the “Bathtub” which had a rubber ducky in it (I’m keeping with the duck theme, can’t you tell?).
The next day we were up nice and early and ready to wander the city. I really wanted to visit Beale St. during the day so I could visit the famous A. Schwabs and Lanksys which I missed my last trip.
The store which has been around since 1876 has a bunch of general merchandise, but the 2 best parts of the store was firstly the museum on the 2nd floor, which held some cool past merchandise. Like this goody from the late 1930s, early 1940s….
And the second cool part of the store was the Soda Bar!
They had so many different choices, so we settled in and decided to try the sampler because we wanted them all and this was a pretty close way to do that.
My favorite was the Sour Cherry and my husbands was the real Ginger Ale.
P.S. Can you spot the Flamingo Brooch? I just got it from Wacky Tuna Vintage and I LOVE IT!!
After that we stopped in at the famous “Lansky Brothers“-The Clothier to the King..yes the King himself, Elvis so that I could touch and ogle all the fantastic clothes. Gosh their stuff was NICE! oh so nice. I could see why Elvis was drawn to them.
Friends! When in Memphis I really suggest that you make sure you stop into their store on Beale St. Not only are the clothes fantastic but the store is filled with lots of cool memorabilia of Elvis and many other famous people who have come to Lanskys. A must see in my books.
After the ogling and the wishing I was rich so I could outfit my husband head to toe like young 1950s Elvis, we jetted off to a few other stops before hitting up Beale St. again at night for some Blues at the always popular “Rum Boogie Cafe”.
On New Years Eve we hit up my first ever live Basketball game-Memphis Tigers! It was a blast and they won!
Then we made one last stop before beginning our festivities, Joe’s Liquor store where I stumbled upon the coolest sign..ever! A Vintage “Roto-Sphere” created and produced by Warren Milks and on site since 1962 (with a full restoration happening in 1999 by the store).
It was seriously super cool and the “Sputnik” even rotated! Awesome!
New Years Day we decided to walk off our mini “champagne” headaches by heading to “Overton Park” to hit up the dog park. While the dog was being run around, I decided to slip away from the husband and our friend to explore some statues I could see in the distance.
Well the statues turned out to be a Veterans memorial park and it was very moving and well done but there was one particular statue that actually made me happy to see (as opposed to solemn and sad). The statue of the famous “Memphis Belle“.
The aircraft was one of the first B-17 United States Army Air Corps heavy bombers to complete 25 combat missions with her crew intact (Source). The name “Memphis Belle” was actually the namesake of pilot Robert K. Morgan’s sweetheart, Margaret Polk, a resident of Memphis and now forever immortalized in this statue.
And that famous Pinup girl on the side of the plane…That was a George Petty drawing which he took from a drawing he did in the 1941 Esquire magazine.
Such a cool find!
That night it was a trip to the historic and newly restored Layayette’s Music Room for some Blues, Beer and dancing. A great way to end part 1 of our journey in Memphis, indeed.
Stay tuned for part 2-Nashville!
Question time: Have you ever been to Memphis? Did you like it? What did you do? Please share because I intend on going back.