Thursday, August 30, 2012

MEMPHIS - A CITY GUIDE

FAIR WARNING: There are a LOT of ducks in this post.  

As I mentioned before, we celebrated Mr. Squareview's birthday in Memphis over the weekend.  The BBQ was fantastic, the music was wonderful, and the National Civil Rights Museum was a must see.  Our only regret is that our schedule didn't mesh with the restaurant hours of operation of the BBQ legend, Rendezvous (note to self: figure out that a place you are dying to go to is closed both Sundays and Mondays and adjust accordingly).  We were so bummed.

The lobby of The Peabody (where we stayed) has been know as "The Living Room of Memphis" for over century and I can see why.  The elegance of the hotel and the wonderfully courteous and attentive staff make it a go to destination to enjoy a cocktail or several while watching Memphis go by.


Here is where the duck discussion begins....

As the story goes, sometime in the 1930's the Manager of The Peabody (one Frank Schutt) went duck hunting with some pals in the country outside of the city.  Apparently, the hunt wasn't very great on that chilly day and to kill some time, the fellas started sipping some good Tennessee whiskey.  By the end of that long day, they had killed the bottle, but no ducks.  On the way back to the hotel, they got the wonderful idea that it would be HILARIOUS to release their duck decoys (during that time they used live decoys instead of the fake ones you see today) loose in the hotel's lobby fountain.  They proceeded to do just that and then went to sleep it off.

When day broke, ol' Frank woke up, remembered what he had done and raced down to the fountain to see what kind of mess his prank had made.  Instead of the chaos he expected, he found the ducks still in the fountain to the delight of the many hotel guests gathered to watch.  A few years after this happened, a young bellman by the name of Edward Pembroke approached the management team and convinced them that he, as a former Ringling Bros animal trainer, could get the ducks to march from their home on the roof (lovingly call the Duck Palace) to the lobby fountain in the morning and back again in the evening. They agreed and so the legend of march of the ducks begins....



THIS IS NOT DUCK SIZED BUT ACTUALLY A 3 STORY HOUSE - THOSE LANTERNS ON EITHER SIDE ARE NORMAL SIZE


As the ducks are so beloved, you'll find their likeness everywhere.  In the room alone, we lost count - duck soaps, ducks on the towels, pillows, sheets, bathrobes... you get the picture.

My favorite was the duck atop the swizzle stick in each of our drinks.
PHOTO OF MY FIRST COCKTAIL
OUR SWIZZLE STICK SHRAPNEL AT NIGHT'S END
Besides the cocktail consumption, we we took in a lot of great music.  Between Saturday & Sunday I think we had the pleasure of listening to no less than 7 bands - and they were all great.

The musicians on Beale Street are world class and the music plays... 

Our last day was spent at the National Civil Rights Museum which is located at the site of the former Lorraine Motel.  It was on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.  They have converted the entire building into the museum which follows the fight for civil rights from the 1600's to the present day.  They left two of the motel rooms (one occupied by Dr. King) preserved to look as they did on the day of the assassination.  It was very moving to stand there and have that experience.  I would recommend everyone go if they are in Memphis. 



It was a fun weekend away for Mr. SV and I.  Maybe next time we'll make it to Graceland.  I'm already missing the BBQ.  Yum.

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