Hot Springs National Park is the first piece of land set aside by the federal government to be preserved for recreation. The park is located right in the middle of downtown Hot Springs, which is a huge tourist town and the childhood home of President Bill Clinton. Visitors come from all over to tour the old bathhouses and fill up their water jugs full of 143-degree spring water, and we were no exception. We visited several of the bathhouse buildings and filled two one gallon jugs at one of the public fountains. We also had a drink in the famous Ohio Club, an old gangster hangout and popular watering hole.
Memphis, Tennessee was our next stop and a mandatory one. We are both big music fans and are looking forward to exploring the musical history of Memphis. Also, I have to see Graceland so we chose the Graceland RV Park for our accommodations.
As we approached the RV park off of Elvis Presley Boulevard, I almost died when I saw the Heartbreak Hotel, sitting at the end of Lonely Street! The park was in the back of the hotel but almost directly across the street from Graceland. While checking in, we found out that the RV park offered a shuttle service to Beale Street and it was only $6 round trip! This was going to save us a bunch of money on taxis.
After hooking up Lady T, we had a bite to eat and walked to the Heartbreak Hotel. Tickets for the shuttle can be purchased at the front desk and pick up point is just outside. Unfortunately, the 7 PM shuttle was sold out so we had to wait an hour. We checked out the first floor of the hotel and visited the gift shop while we waited.
The ride to Beale was about 20 minutes and as we got closer, the neon glow was unmistakable. Arguably the most famous street in the world, Beale Street is where some of the most important American music was cultivated. Blues, Soul, Rock and Roll: it all lives here. Beale street definitely had a different vibe than Bourbon, maybe slightly too commercial. There is also a huge police presence, which I’m sure puts a cap on how festive visitors can be.
However, there are still a few authentic juke joints blasting out great local music. We must have walked up and down 10 times, stopping every so often to listen to the blended sounds emanating from the bars. There are also several gift shops and restaurants, including BB King’s Blues Café. Some places on Beale charge a cover to enter and some don’t so be sure to bring a little extra money.
We spent a good three hours downtown before the shuttle arrived at 11:30 PM to bring us back to Lonely Street. Tomorrow, we will be up early to do some laundry and visit the King’s castle!