Long live the king

| October 01, 2006

Graceland may have been Elvis’ final destination, but his home in Tupelo, Miss., was only the beginning. Located at 306 Elvis Presley Drive, the modest dairy farmer’s home is open for tours year round in its original location where Gladys Presley gave birth to Elvis on Jan. 8, 1935.

Though the furniture in the home is not original, it is accurate to the time period and farming class of Elvis’ family. The hammer his father used to build the house is still hanging in the Elvis Presley Museum.

The Elvis Presley Chapel, dedicated to his fans in 1979, was Elvis’ lifelong dream come true. The Chapel features stained glass windows and is available for weddings and receptions.

Birthplace hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, log on to this site.

Tupelo Elvis Festival
Don’t even think about visiting Elvis’ birthplace unless you plan to go to the 2007 Tupelo Elvis Festival. Every year, thousands of Elvis fans flock to Mississippi to see dead-on impersonators perform favorites like, “Hounddog.” June 1 through 3, be prepared for a lot of food and music by gospel and country groups. Bring the dog and participate in the Elvis Look-A-Like Pet Parade, or jog in the “Running with The King” 5K race.

If you have an RV, take it to the campgrounds for the festival. Log on the Tupelo Elvis Festival website for campground reservations, event schedules, ticket prices and maps.

Beyond all of the well-known Elvis landmarks lies a glamorous world of impersonators, memorabilia and shuttles that takes visitors from the Las Vegas Strip straight to Elvisland. At Elvis-A-Rama, they’ve got it all, including a huge museum and daily shows. Named one of Las Vegas’ top three attractions in 2000, the museum boasts such artifacts as Elvis’ 1960 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III, 1969 Mercedes Benz limousine and original “Blue Suede Shoes.”

Tickets are $12.95 for adults and $9.95 for children. For more info, check out this site.

Elvis Wedding Chapel
Getting’ hitched? Do it at the Elvis Wedding Chapel. Or at least stop by and see the lovely blue and white chapel on Las Vegas Boulevard, where Elvis impersonators perform the ceremony.

A basic wedding package gets you use of the chapel, an Elvis escort down the aisle for the bride and a two-song concert by Elvis before the exchange of nuptials. But why go for the minimum when in the deluxe “Dueling Elvis Package,” you can have two Elvis impersonators sing different songs from eras in Elvis’ career, a dozen roses and a marriage certificate holder?

Even if wedding bells aren’t in your future, check out the chapel at this site.

Graceland Too
In a small corner of Holly Springs, Miss., exists a shrine that could possibly be the largest amateur collection of Elvis memorabilia on Earth. Graceland Too, the home of Elvis fan Paul Mcleod, is room after room of figurines, guitars and records dedicated to the King. Mcleod sleeps next to several televisions in case he hears a news anchor say the sacred name of Mr. Presley.

The house is a bubble gum pink, split-level dwelling that has been turned into a quirky, small-town museum open 24 hours a day. Mcleod only sleeps four hours a night, so if you want to visit at 2 a.m. or later, just knock hard for a non-optional guided tour through the museum. Paul’s son, Elvis Aaron Presley Mcleod, helps care for the collection that has accumulated over 50 years. People from all over the world visit Graceland Too, including celebrities and tycoons.

A quick Google search will help you locate other Elvis destinations, like cities where he filmed movies or the Hollywood Wax Museum.

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