Author Topic: Memphis to NY Road Trip  (Read 1471 times)

Online cgr

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Aug 2017
  • Posts: 4402
  • Total likes: 1357
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 7
    • View Profile
Memphis to NY Road Trip
« on: October 26, 2022, 04:52:45 PM »
I flew LGA to Memphis via Delta in July to pick up a long-term rental that I got a great deal on. I then drove back to NY a few days later via the i-40 and i-81, with a few stops along the way.

Temperatures in Memphis and along the i-40 were in the triple digits so my exhaustion and quick visits to some outdoor places are not indicative of how interesting those things actually are. Once I hit the i-81 temps “cooled” to a reasonable 80F, and the outdoor activities were more enjoyable.

Online cgr

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Aug 2017
  • Posts: 4402
  • Total likes: 1357
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 7
    • View Profile
Memphis
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2022, 04:53:04 PM »
Delta’s new LGA Terminal C is beautiful, but there was still a lot of construction outside and the terminal wasn’t that easy to access (the MTA SBS stops at the nearby arrivals hall, which is a 3-minute walk with no sidewalks or instructions). I took this opportunity to finally sign up for Clear via Amex Platinum, and I passed TSA precheck in less than 2 minutes. When refreshing my boarding pass, I noticed that I was upgraded to Comfort+ even though I don’t have status with Delta. I then headed to the magnificent Delta Sky Club lounge, which has an automated entry system and lots of seating options. They have kosher food available upon request, but when I was there, they only had dinner options (beef) available, which wasn’t palatable to me at 7AM. My flight was delayed by over an hour (apparently a regular occurrence on this route) but having a comfortable spot to rest helped pass the time.

Upon landing at Memphis International Airport, I headed to the Avis pickup counter. This location supposedly pre-assigns vehicles or lets you choose one from the member aisle, which was empty, and instead I had to wait about 10 minutes for them to find a car in my class and clean it for me. During that time the line behind me piled up to about 20 preferred members... some of them must have waited for over an hours to receive their vehicle.

My first stop of the day was to the National Civil Rights Museum, located at the Lorraine hotel where MLK Jr was assassinated. Definitely a Memphis’ highlight! I spent 2.5 hours here without visiting the nearby legacy building, and I could’ve easily spent 4 hours here had I gone through the exhibits more in depth. It really captures the struggle of America's Civil rights movement.



Next, I headed to the Memphis Botanic Garden, which was rather disappointing (or maybe it was the 105F temps). About 1/3 of the gardens were roped off and under "revitalization", but the Alice and Wonderland pieces were cool.



I then stocked up on kosher food at Ricki's Cookie Corner and the Kroger supermarket on Mendenhall Rd. Ricki’s cookies are delicious- I purchased 6 types of chipsticks as well as a few other cookies and muffins, and everything was divine. (They sell breads and challah as well but those aren’t made fresh daily). Kroger has a kosher deli, bakery, and sushi counter. They also have a well-stocked kosher aisle with chicken, deli meat, CY cheeses yogurts, ice cream etc, although I did not see any CY milk. The sushi was really good. The deli sandwiches were ok.

The next morning, I headed to the Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art. This is owned by a private Jewish collector who also has an affinity for Asian art, hence the odd pairing. I didn’t spend too much time in the Asian rooms, although the ivory pieces are magnificent.



The Jewish room was remarkable. The pieces that drew me most were the humorous shtetl paintings and the unique silver pieces.




Megillah holder with slots for all 5 megillos

Next, I headed to the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum where I joined a 1 hour guided tour. It’s a good place to learn about slavery and the underground railroad in Memphis.

I was told that no trip to Memphis is complete without visiting Graceland. I was reluctant to go since the entry fee is rather steep (the cheapest ticket that includes the mansion tour is $77, not including parking which is an additional $10) and I’m not particularly an Elvis fan, but I heard from other non-Elvis fans that they enjoyed the experience, so I decided to give it a try. I was rather disappointed- I ended up spending 2 hours here in an effort to justify the cost, but it didn’t improve the experience. The tour starts with a short film in the visitor center, and then guests are given a tablet which includes audio for the mansion a short bus ride away.

Note that the closing time on the website refers to the last ticket /entry. Everything in the complex remains open until later- about 7PM I believe.



The “mansion” is upper middle class at best (in terms of furnishing- not referring to music equipment)- what you’d expect to see in any nicely furnished home in the suburbs. Nothing about it is particularly beautiful.

Interesting observation: my tour group, which consisted of 30 individuals, was comprised of 28 women and 2 men😉



There are a number of exhibits and museums on the Graceland complex, but not being a huge Elvis fan, I did not feel like the admission fee justified the experience.



After leaving Graceland I spent a few minutes walking around Victorian Village, a block of 19th-century mansions. Some of them have been converted to museums and are open to visitors.



I then headed to Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid- this is one of the coolest Bass Pro Shops and even has a hotel on the premises. The theme here is aquatic, and they have alligators, ponds, and an aquarium. There’s an observation deck at the top with views of the Mississippi River and Arkansas, but it wasn’t worth the $8 fee.





My final stop of the day was at Big River Crossing, a 1-mile pedestrian bridge spanning the Mississippi River leading into Arkansas. The walk was not fun in the triple digit heat…



My final morning in Memphis before starting my drive back to NY, I scheduled a walking tour with Backbeat Tours. While my guide was informative, it was rather boring as there were no other participants. Stops included Beale Street and the Peabody hotel for the duck march, amongst others.


Online cgr

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Aug 2017
  • Posts: 4402
  • Total likes: 1357
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 7
    • View Profile
Road Trip (i-40, i-81)
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2022, 04:53:24 PM »
Tennessee

My first attempted stop was at Cypress Grove Nature Park, which was closed due to a “tornado” (there wasn’t one that day, I checked).



I had planned on doing a Nashville tour next, but the real feel was at 112F and climbing, and I couldn’t bear the heat any longer. After a quick stop at the Tennessee State Capitol, I continued my drive for the day.



Virginia

The next day my first stop was at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. The museum presents a great recap of the President's life in politics. There’s also a tour of the house where President Wilson was born, which focuses on his early and personal life.



My final stop of the day was at the Frontier Culture Museum, which is similar to Old Sturbridge Village in a way. This is a fantastic hands-on experience, and while parts of it are meant for kids, I really enjoyed. There are dwellings from Western Africa and Europe dating back to the 17th and 18th century, many of which are original structures shipped in from overseas. I arrived 2 hours prior to closing so I was not able to finish the entire circuit- 3 hours would probably have been perfect.



Pennsylvania

My final activity for this trip was Gettysburg National Military Park. If you enjoy American history, move this to the top of your list. The NPS has restored the fields to exactly how they were back in 1863 (trees, gates, boulders, etc). I visited in July, the same month as the battle took place, which heightens the experience, although any summer month when the temps and foliage are similar works if you want to get an authentic experience.



Being that it was Friday I was pressed for time and only had 5 hours to spend at the park, but it’s easy to spend a full day here. The visitor center includes a film, cyclorama, and museum, and there are 3 tour options available on the grounds, not including ranger guided tours which vary by day:
1) a two-hour guided bus tour (I went with this option)
2) a self-guided audio auto guide- this allows you to make as many stops as you want as you navigate in your personal vehicle, but there’s no one to pose questions to
3) hire a guide yourself- the park concessionaire offers custom tours

I purchased a combo ticket which included the film, cyclorama, museum, and 2-hour battlefield bus tour. They recommended 2 hours for the museum, film, and cyclorama, but I ended up needing 3.5 hours just for this, as the museum is huge and interesting. The bus tour was great as the guide was highly informative- the only downside was that I couldn’t disembark for personal points of interest as they only allow disembarking at the top 5 spots. I recommend sitting on the left side of the bus (assuming all buses follow the same route), for the best views.

I hope you enjoyed!