When I have visited this beautiful state, of Mississippi it has always been sunny and warm! But not this time! This was a trip to the Southern Travelers Explore Tupelo known simply as #STETupelo, that brought my husband Keith and I to this Mississippi town. We arrived in Tupelo, the town where Elvis was born, right on the heels of an ice and snow event. To say it lightly, Mississippi is not equipped for winter weather of this magnitude.
Bloggers conference, educational opportunities Tupelo style!
While flights were cancelled, a group of sturdy road warriors weathered the elements. We arrived ready to learn and see this beautiful southern town decked out as a glittering winter wonderland.
Our fearless leaders Melody Pittman and Taylor Hardy put on a professional show with educational presentations. Staying socially distanced and following guidelines we plodded on. I was excited to help moderate a section on working with the local community. This is something near and dear to my heart.
Some presentations were by zoom because the presenters couldn’t fly in. But it all worked out in the end, despite the amount of times #STETupelo had to PIVOT! Due to Melody’s winning personality, we even made the local news that bloggers were in town!
At the end of the event I came home with information about mead, SEO, video, and record keeping. Best of all I made new friends and saw some old friends along the way! Now I just have to wait to see where next year’s event will be.
Elvis roots run deep in Tupelo even during snowmageddon!
While many of the places to visit were closed, I was still able to see many Elvis sites. Keith and I loaded up and visited the Elvis Birth Place. While we couldn’t go in the museum or the two-room home where Elvis was born, I could see it from the outside. The home, museum and his boyhood church along with statues and more is set on this 15 acre park.
Downtown, Keith and I saw the Elvis Guitar trail where over 25 guitars offer a variety of photo ops! Then there are a few Elvis Murals with my favorite being the Jail House Rock one.
Tupelo Hardware, an interview with George Booth!
Perhaps my favorite Elvis stop was at Tupelo Hardware. Here I got a chance to speak with George Booth II the owner of the store.
He shared the story of Elvis’s mom Glayds coming into the store in January of 1946. She was there to buy Elvis a birthday present. He wanted a rifle, but got the guitar instead. You can see that guitar, or one of his early guitars on display! This is a working hardware store it is like walking back in time offering a glimpse into yesterday, but with todays conveniences.
We also saw the Elvis “Homecoming” statue. This is placed at the former fairgrounds downtown where Elvis sang in 1956 at a Homecoming Concert. The picture is based off a picture titled “the Hands”. Also, Elvis first sang in public at this fairgrounds.
We visited Relics Antique Mall where Gladys worked while pregnant with Elvis. At that time it was a Garment factory. Downtown in front of the Tupelo CVB is a tribute to Shake Rag the historic black community where Elvis was exposed to the richness of the blues that he incorporated into his style over the years! Check the upcoming issue of Senior News for a detailed story on Elvis’s Roots in Tupelo!
Tupelo Magic other stops
While Elvis is surely King, we were enamored with other Tupelo sightings as well. I loved the mural of Tupelo, and the beautiful downtown Lee County Courthouse erected in 1909. There is a lovely Temperance statue that was a former water fountain. When we visited there was also an amazing site, a fountain that was frozen. It had the appearance of a frozen ice birthday cake!
There was a very cool sign for the business district saying “Tupelo, First T-V-A City”! I learned that they were the first to receive electricity from the T-V-A.
While in town we also saw a cool car show that takes place every year. Then there were also a few antique shops open for business as well. Overall though most of the city was shut down tighter than a drum because of winter weather, so I have to come back after the thaw to really see it again!
Lodging design of yesteryear and bread pudding to die for!
We stayed at the Holiday Inn North. It is not an old hotel, but it had the old style design with everything in a circle overlooking the center. The center was a bar/dining area decorated retro! Fun place to stay that worked with us during the crazy events of the weekend.
I had my first experience of a Brick & Spoon dining and loved it. We also ate at the Blue Canoe where they offered wonderful bread pudding! Lots of fun places I look forward to checking out on my next visit!
For information on the driving and bike trails and more, be sure to either stop by, or visit the Tupelo Visitors Center!