We drove to Memphis mostly in the rain, but it cleared up mostly by the time we arrived. The purpose of the trip was to stay at Big Cypress Lodge (the only 5-Star hotel in Memphis, supposedly) and see downtown Memphis. For those of you who haven't been thru Memphis, it has a Pyramid on the banks of the Mississippi River. Originally built as a basketball venue in the 90s, it lay empty for many years until it was purchased by the owner of Bass Pro Shops and turned into the largest Bass Pro Shop in the world. It also contains Big Cypress Lodge on the 2nd and 3rd floors as part of a resort system. The room wasn't ready yet so we went downtown and found a wonderful place for lunch - Huey's. If you are ever in Memphis and want a burger, this is your venue. After we checked into our room later, we wandered a bit then went up the 27 story elevator in the Pyramid to The Lookout at the top. Image 1-1 is from our table looking at the bar. Note the art deco/ultra mod metal sculptures hanging from the ceiling. 1-2 is John looking down over the glass overlook outside onto the front of the Pyramid. We got wine and appetizers and stayed until after dark so we could see the light show on the Hernando de Soto Bridge that separates Tennessee from Arkansas. Images 1-3 thru 1-5 are different light combinations that occurred. The floor of the overlook is glass and a little creepy to look down into, but we all survived.
The next morning we were up early to get coffee in the Upper Lobby of Big Cypress Lodge. It overlooks Bass Pro Shop below (1-6) and is just a wonderful area. Coffee in the morning, water all day long, bar at night (1-7). We were there to listen to a sales thing, which we did, then we went off to explore Memphis. A shuttle took us downtown to a place called Arnold's BBQ, which we almost didn't find. The entrance is in an alley, but we did get there and it was wonderful, if empty. We then headed over to Autozone Park, Home of the Redbirds. They are a minor league feeder team of the St. Louis Cardinals (1-8). As we passed the back gate, we saw it was open so we stepped in and got a view of the inside while the mowers were going (1-9). Cool!
From one sports venue toward another, we trekked off toward Beale Street by way of BB King Blvd. At the corner of BB King and Beale Street is Handy Park, where stands a statue of William C. Handy (1-10), the Father of The Blues. He didn't create the blues genre "... and was not the first to publish music in the blues form, but he took the blues form a regional music style (Delta blues) with a limited audience to a new level of popularity." Remember "St. Louis Blues"? He wrote that among others. Very interesting history and statue. The vantage point from which John took the picture of the Beale Street entry sign (1-11) was from in front of a little house that had been Handy's and was moved here and made a museum. You can see one of the many guitars we found in the Beale Street area. Image 1-12 is a composite of 4 of the many found in different places. All different, all huge, all fiberglass. There were others, but one can't show them all! The next sports venue was FedEx Forum (1-13), home of the Memphis Grizzlies and men's NCAA Div 1 University of Memphis men's basketball team. Of course there is music and other stuff, but it was fun to see the outside of.
Walked up Beale Street where there is a park in which stand a statue of Elvis (1-14) next to the Green Tiger statue (1-15). 100 tigers were installed around the City of Memphis in 2012 to commemorate the Centennial of University of Memphis. We didn't see all 100, but we did see 1 or 2! Notice the Gibson guitar logo on the building in the background. That name is on all the guitars we saw. We walked along Main Street then down to the river. On the way to Beale Street Landing, we found Dominick Distillery (1-16), which someone had told us had a great little rooftop bar where we could wait to be seated at Gus' Fried Chicken and look at the River. We didn't want chicken but did want to go in Dominick's, but it wasn't open. Phooey. Walked back along the river toward Sportsman's Paradise (1-17) and our hotel. Outside the front doors were a couple of lovely pink dogwoods (1-18).
This wasn't our most artistic trip photographically, but downtown Memphis was really neat, and we want to go back. Some good architecture, neat bars and shops, good eating, The Peabody with its ducks, and soon a better park along the river. We will go back.