Thank you, Thank you very much!

After a one night stay in Hot Springs (which I’ll circle back to later) vacation kicked off in Memphis with a stay in The Guest House at Graceland and a visit to Graceland. I will admit I went into the experience more as a “bucket list” everyone should do it once than any real fan based desire to go or an actual knowledge of Elvis. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Our Room at The Guest House

The hotel was just phenomenal. From start to finish. The staff was thoughtful and hard working and there wasn’t one person you ran into that didn’t want to help. I didn’t really care for the food on site but I think that was more a me issue than a hotel issue. My stomach wasn’t super kind to me this trip.

We rolled into town mid-afternoon Saturday. We opted to just hang out at the hotel and chill the rest of the day. Live music in the lobby and a friendly bartender seemed like a good way to just chill out. True to bar form we made new friends and stayed up talking into the night.

Our sweet bartender Taylor at The Guest House

Sunday morning came too early after a late night of gabbing. But it was time to check Graceland off the bucket list! We had booked the “ultimate” tour which basically meant we skipped all the lines, had a very educated tour guide, and got to see some of Elvis’s personal items up close that aren’t on display. We got to hold the keys to the pink Cadillac!! I was dumbfounded at what a generous man Elvis was. I had no idea. I am scrambling to get my hands on a biography so I can learn more.

The Jungle Room

I wasn’t feeling very well after Graceland so we went back to the hotel and crashed. Hard core crashed for over two hours. It took me a couple days to shake off whatever that was about but 🤷🏻‍♀️.

We circled back to Memphis at the end of the week. Got back in Friday evening. This time we stayed at The Peabody Hotel. We had done a slow and easy drive from Nashville so we opted to eat at the hotel and hang in the lobby bar Friday night.

Saturday morning we got to see the infamous ducks March into the fountain at The Peabody fountain.

The ducks march in…

Memphis was odd as far as being able to find things to do outside of Graceland. I had felt that way since before we left on vacation and that feeling did change throughout our time there. After the ducks we wandered down to Beale St for lunch at BB King’s place and to listen to some music. We made our loop of Beale St, bought all the required souvenirs for home, and headed back to the hotel.

We had asked around and had been told several times to go to Sun Studios. I wasn’t sure what the big deal was (being honest) but we didn’t have anything else to do so we figured what the heck. I am SO glad we did. We took the tour and the feeling of standing in the same room as legends like Johnny Cash, Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis….still gives me goosebumps. It was a small place but a great tour!

We made new friends in Memphis. Both around the bar and behind the bar. Some may judge where I choose to make friends but people relax when they gather and if you have a great bartender they make people feel comfortable enough to get to know each other. I was least sure about Memphis as a pit stop coming and going on our trip but I’m glad we included it. I learned a lot there and am anxious to go back.

PS – will blog the food experience later on 😉

The Southern Napa Valley

Venture to the heart of Texas and you’ll find a sweet little town with so much charm you just don’t want to leave. Fredericksburg, Texas has become THE southern destination for girls’ trips, bridal parties, couples weekend getaways, and childless vacations. Here you can enjoy hills filled with vineyards as far as the eye can see, a Main Street full of treasures to explore, and country air to help you relax and sleep.

With four of us traveling in from Lubbock, Houston, and Dallas meeting in Fredericksburg is almost a dead center 4 to 4 1/2 hour drive for all of us. Not an unpleasant drive and not so far that you lose an entire day on either end of a trip driving.

In a single weekend we managed to do tastings at six wineries. Five of the six were laid back relaxing experiences where the mood was quiet and we were able to converse and hear the sommelier tell us about the wine we were trying. One vineyard we could have been at a bar based on the noise level of the three bridal parties not knowing how to conduct themselves as ladies. I don’t hold that against the vineyard other than management not stepping in to protect the ambience of their establishment.

I think my favorite of the weekend was a last minute edition at Texas Heritage Vineyard. Our driver recommended it after our disappointing aforementioned stop. We were pretty late in the afternoon for a tasting at Texas Heritage but they welcomed us and didn’t let on that they probably wanted to go home.

As we sat trying wines one of the owners came and sat down with us and just made conversation. He was charming and adorable. I missed the details on the last two wines because I was enjoying a totally separate conversation with him. 🙃 When our tasting was over there was one type of wine that wasn’t offered on the menu that day that my niece really wanted to try. Our sommelier was happy to bring around a taste. It was just a Texas type experience. Needless to say, they gained a couple new wine club members before we left.

We also had amazing food experiences while here. Friday night we ate at The Club at Barron’s Creekside. While I personally didn’t care for the blues music (not my fav type of music) the place was pretty much packed. The food was amazing and the sunset view over the vineyard was stunning. A wonderful start to our weekend. With the added bonus of the owners nephew being from Austria and him setting us straight on what our Saturday night dinner plans needed to be.

Saturday night we were directed to get our name on the list at a little German place called Otto’s and to head next door while we waited to a French market called La Baruche. Both experiences were mind blowing. Starting at La Baruche…the sommelier didn’t stop until she had us paired with a wine that was perfect for all four of us. (A couple of us were just about wine-d out for the day.) We then had a warm Brie that was unlike anything I have ever had as an appetizer. Since the restaurant had slowed down we got to spend some time with the sommelier getting some more recommendations on wines we might not have chosen for ourselves normally. It was wonderful.

Our call came that our table was ready at Otto’s. Whatever personality our waiter lacked was made up for by the food and drinks. Our driver for the day had told us to get the mushroom appetizer – it was great. We also got the pretzel. Still not sure what the sauce was that came with that pretzel but I will be thinking about it for weeks to come.

I got the salmon. I haven’t finished an entire plate of food in months. Save for a couple shared bites for the others to get a taste I ate the whole darn thing. It was that good. AND we got dessert. Apparently sunshine and wine drinking makes you really hungry.

Duck Schnitzel
Beef Tenderloin
Strawberry Shortcake w/Honey Lavender Ice Cream

We got the added bonus of being able to stay at a friend of mine’s home. The kind of home I dream about owning someday. Creaking original floors, wide trimmed doors and floors, sprawling garden, chickens roaming, open floor plan. If I was more educated in architecture I could tell you year and style but I can only speak from how it makes my heart beat to walk around it. Staying in a charming place instead of a box hotel definitely added to the experience!

It’ll be hotter here than Napa this summer. But it’ll make up for it with Texas hospitality and charm. I personally can’t wait to get back here. ❤️