By Jeff Jenkins *Paid Partnership with Memphis Tourism
Y’all, when I say ”I miss traveling” is an understatement. Prior to the pandemic,, I was traveling 2-3 weeks out of the month. When the world came to a dramatic stop and travel plans turned to pipe dreams, it became a running joke between my friends that they would have to keep checking in on me, because I was confined to my house for over 5 months. Y’all, it was long and hard.
As States and cities began cautiously and consciously reopening for business, I decided it was high time I explored my own backyard, and set off on an epic road trip to America's top national parks. Memphis Tourism caught sight of my journey along the way and invited me to stop by the land of rock and roll to see how they were adapting to the ‘new normal’ and making Memphis safe to travel in again.
Of course I said “heck yeah see ya in a week” hahaha.
Now, it goes without saying that you should revise the updated CDC‘s guidelines before travelling anywhere. For extra peace of mind, my wife and I were tested before our trip and shortly after. Both tests came back negative.
I wanted to share a few highlights from my experience in magnificent Memphis. This place stands out to me because there is so much rich history and culture. There are great restaurants and things to do around the city. Better yet, the board has taken well-thought out steps to make things accessible during a tough climate.
Y'all, I fulfilled my childhood dream staying at the Peabody hotel and seeing the world famous duck walk! I was put immediately at ease with the meticulous measures the Peabody has put in place to make it the best place to stay in Memphis. Here’s the lowdown:
1. You are required to wear a mask while walking around the facilities. 2. You could see staff members cleaning and using CDC-approved hospital grade cleaners.
3. They have limited capacity and super-strict guest room inventory so that the(biohazard trained) housekeeping team can deep clean around the clock.
4. Pool capacity is capped and monitored throughout the day to avoid overcrowding. I took advantage of that!
Memphis wouldn’t be Memphis without indulging in incredible food. We visited “Gus‘s World Famous Fried Chicken,” “Central BBQ,” “The Arcade,” and “The Second Line.” Yep, we packed on a few extra pounds but it was so worth it. Restaurants in Memphis are required to operate at minimum capacity and close by 10pm. You’re also required to wear a mask inside. Some went that extra step further by making their guests sign a waiver acknowledging and accepting their COVID guidelines. All this boosted my confidence when it came to restaurant hop around town, and experiencing Memphis through my taste-buds–just as it should be!
Things to Do in Memphis
There are plenty of activities, attractions and amazing things to do in Memphis. Hospitality across the board, from the hotels and restaurants to the attractions in Memphis have adopted strict protocols to keep things clean and safe. I finally got to visit the King’s home– Elvis Presley's Gracelandv that is! One of our favorite cultural takeaways was the “The Tour of Possibilities.” A 2 1/2 hr caravan tour that gives you the backstory of the city and deep dives into the incredible history of Black Americans and their cultural impact on Memphis..
You can venture to see the hundreds of awesome murals that litter the city's buildings. It was also great catching the “Mighty Lights” which is the biggest nightly light show on the Mississippi river.
Lastly, you can’t forget Beale Street, where you can STILL CATCH LIVE MUSIC (you read that right!) with an ice-cold beer in your hand. Yes, it's a limited entry, you have to wear a mask and everything closes at 10pm, but if there’s anything I learnt during my five months indoors, it’s to appreciate the small pleasures in life. Great food, music and spending quality time with those you love–and there’s plenty of that in Memphis!
More info and to see all that Memphis has to offer visit Memphis Tourism