Memphis & the Smokies?

Old Jun 24th, 2004, 07:17 PM
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Memphis & the Smokies?

I'm taking my two sons (17 & 20) to Tennessee. Both are into music so I thought Memphis was a good choice but if I have 4-5 days, can I get in a side trip to the Gatlinburg area? How much time should I allow for seeing the major Memphis sights? How much time for the Smokies/Gatlinburg. If I can only do one, which should it be?
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 07:52 PM
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Do you have any idea how long it will take to drive from W. TN to East TN? Use mapquest.com to plot the route. Where are you driving from? I would not plan that combination of a trip (by car) with two sons. WAY too much time on the road.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 08:42 PM
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ALSO The trafffic is so bad in the Pigeon Forge area you could spend hours bumper - bumper .
Stay in Memphis..see the sights, have Bar-B-Q ribs, Beale Street Jazz, take a ride on the river, See the ducks come down from the penthouse and swim in the lobby fountain at the Peabody Hotel (also just a few miles toGraceland if you were an Elvis fan)
You will love the area...
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 08:45 PM
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What time of year are you going?
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 04:49 AM
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I would stick with Memphis. It's a pretty good ride to the Smokies from Memphis. If you still want a side trip, I would consider Nashville. Your boys may not be into country music, but they might still like to see the studios, etc., in Nashville.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 07:33 AM
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Definitely, pick one or the other. They're over 7 hours of driving away from each other. And that's all on one interstate. Each way.

I live in Memphis and I've yet to be able to figure out how to get over to the Smokies on a weekend (as much as I'd like to). Always needed more time than that. Beautiful country though.

Memphis does have a lot of things related to music though, among the other places already mentioned. Sun Studios (Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash). Stax Records (Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes) just re-opened an exhibit on the original site. There's the Gibson Guitar Factory. Isaac Hayes and BB King both have restaurants going. Clarksdale, MS - the real slice of the Mississippi Delta and legendary blues town (the famous "crossroads" of soul selling fame) is about an hour and half drive away. Morgan Freeman has a blues club there called Ground Zero, but I don't if they accept under 21. Also the Delta Blues Museum is there.

Back in Memphis, but not musical, the National Civil Rights museum is set in the hotel where ML King was shot. And the Zoo got a pair of Giant Pandas last year and is one of only a few zoos in the US to have them. A nice compact zoo with an Egyptian theme besides.

Have fun!
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 08:01 AM
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I'm planning to go at the end of August. We'll be flying in so the only drive time would be within the state of TN. I was concerned that there might not be enough to fill 5 days in Memphis alone but that the trip across the state does seem like too much Thank you Clifton for your insights as a local. It sounds to me like Memphis is the best choice.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 08:15 AM
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How about taking in a Memphis Redbirds game. Its Triple A baseball and really good. Its one of my favorite things to do in Memphis. The ball park is first rate, no bad seats and your sons would probably appreciate the cheerleaders and the barbeque nachos. Ballfield is right downtown across from the Peabody Hotel. And for pete sake, don't subject your sons to the ducks at the Peabody. They are neither old enough nor young enough to appreciate this tradition. They would definately consider it lame.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 08:20 AM
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Hi there, I just did a trip to Memphis in May. My report is called 'stormygirl tours the south!' and I just topped it for you. Hopefully it will give you some ideas for your trip
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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Thanks stormy girl, some good ideas. Can you get baseball tix at the gate?
Besides the Marriott that Stormygirl mentioned, does anyone have any other hotel recommendations in Memphis, not too pricey but centrally located? Clifton, can we expect steamy weather the last week of August?
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 10:58 AM
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Yes, I'm almost certain that it's going to be sticky. Very humid town when it's not raining. I've lived here 3 years now, moved from St. Louis and I haven't quite gotten used to it yet.

I was researching London for a trip and trying to get an comparison for the amount of rain they had (I'd always heard it was a rainy place). Turns out the rain we have here is double that of London! So we get lots of moisture in the air, coupled with southern heat.

The paper the other day had a tongue-in-cheek item that said "You are sooo Memphis when you're wishing for a tornado so that it will cool down"
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 11:01 AM
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On the other hand (especially since I think that came off on the negative side) - because of all the rain and long summers, you'll find that Memphis can appear very much like a forest. Huge trees everywhere. We can't stop our garden from getting away from us.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 11:20 AM
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Just back from a week-end trip to Memphis. Ray and I stayed at the Comfort Inn in Olive Branch, Mississippi. This is not centrally located, but I thought I'd toss out the idea because our experience there was so positive. Very clean facility and good staff. Well-kept swimming pool. Huge breakfast bar to feed the teenage sons - juice, milk, toast, bagles, pancake n sausage on a stick, cold cereal, hot oatmeal, grits, sausage biscuits, sliced peaches, biscuits n gravy, yogart, apples, bananas, oranges and more! We paid $60 for the night.

Reason we stayed in Olive Branch was Memphis hotels were unavailable because of the Baptist National Convention. I'd stay there again, because our experience was so good. It's not very far from Memphis. And, like a native once told me, half of Memphis is in Mississippi.

Can't believe no one mentioned Mud Island or a day trip to Shiloh!

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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 11:28 AM
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We bought our tickets to the Redbirds game at the gate. It was an afternoon game on a weekday so it wasn't sold out.

Also we got the Marriott on Priceline for $50 a night!
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 03:44 PM
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I just got the Radisson downtown (near Beale Street) for $89 on a weekend in July. I used the Entertainment Card for that rate. If you need more space and don't mind driving a bit to get to the downtown area, think about the Homewood Suites or the Embassy Suites. Embassy Suites has a full breakfast and Homewood has an expanded continental breakfast. Although they can be a little more expensive, you have the space of a suite, plus breakfast included (happy hour, too!). I think both of these hotels on the East side of Memphis.
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Old Jun 28th, 2004, 06:56 PM
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Thank you all. I feel much more informed now!
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