Tupelo, MS – Day 2 – Sept 2023

Hey Guys!

This post continues our time in Tupelo!

After getting up and having our coffee, we left our hotel and walked the couple of blocks to the small, historic downtown area of Tupelo.

As some of you may already know, Tupelo is the birthplace of the King of Rock n Roll and there are lots of statues, murals, museums, etc dedicated to his memory.

So, this was the main focus of our visit to Tupelo.

If you’re not a fan of Elvis, you can click here to see what else Tupelo has to offer.

Tip: Click here for a driving tour of places Elvis frequented when he lived here

The first stop on our walk was the statue of Elvis that was erected in his memory of when he returned to Tupelo in 1956 to do a concert for his hometown.

The statue is based on a famous photo called “the Hands” by Roger Marshutz that was taken of Elvis reaching into the crowd during the 1956 Homecoming Concert.

The statue stands on the site of the old fairgrounds where the concert took place and was created by Mississippi sculptor Bill Beckwith.

Click here to see pictures from that concert

There are bricks at the base of the statue that were placed here by Elvis’s fan club.

You can actually purchase a brick to be placed inside, what is called, the circle of love.

After taking our pictures, we continued our walk.

All along the sidewalks, are guitars that have been placed in Elvis’ honor.

It’s called the Elvis guitar trail.

There are more than 25 of these guitars in downtown Tupelo.

The first fifteen 6 foot guitars were unveiled in 2010 on, what would have been, Elvis’s 75th birthday.

The next 15 were unveiled the following year.

The guitars were painted by children from the Tupelo’s public schools and the themes centered around blues, jazz & rock.

Shots of the cute downtown area.

As I mentioned earlier, there are several murals located in downtown.

So, our next stop was the new mural of the Mississippi state flag.

This is the newest mural in downtown Tupelo. It was painted shortly after their flag was redesigned in 2021.

The old flag design for Mississippi was the last state flag in the US to include the Confederate emblem.

Our next mural stop was the mural of a young Elvis Presley.

The mural was painted here by artist Ryan Christenson during the 2018 Tupelo Elvis Festival.

Our next mural was called the 1970’s Jumpsuit Elvis mural.

The 3D Elvis mural was created by artist Morris McCain and was unveiled in 2020 on the side of the historic Reed’s Dept. Store.

On the way to our next mural, we passed a barber shop with an old barber’s chair sitting in the window.

Of course, my hubby had to have his picture taken under the barber’s sign. ha ha! 😉

Next, we passed an alley that had two murals on each side of the walls.

Not sure what they depicted.

We loved all of the historic buildings!

This one was the MLM Clothiers building.

The business has been opened for more than 80 years. They have been at the same location since opening. The building is more than 100 yrs old!

As we continued our walk, we passed the old Bancorp South building.

The building was built in 1899.

We spotted this old burglar alarm on the side of the bank!

The bank is now an art gallery.

You can still see the bank’s vault in the back of the building!

The building has been placed on the National Register of Historic buildings.

There are so many historic buildings in this small downtown area!

As we continued our walk, we spotted two beautiful churches.

The first one was the First United Methodist Church that was built in 1899.

It’s also been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The next was Calvary Baptist Church. The church was built in 1937.

All along the sidewalk, you will see musical notes and these blue footprints on the sidewalk.

Our next stop was the Chickasaw Heritage Mural.

The mural was painted by local artists and it honors leaders Chief Piominko and Chief Tishominko and the Chickasaw heritage.

Next, we stopped and snapped a quick picture of the historic Lyric Theater.

The theater was built in 1912 and was frequented by Elvis and a popular local legend tells that Elvis “stole” his first kiss in the balcony of the Lyric.

Read the history of the theater here

Near the theater is the beautiful courthouse that was built in 1904.

The courthouse served as the site of the WELO radio show where Elvis was allowed to sing on the radio by his friend’s brother Mississippi Slim.

Next, was the Tupelo Postcard mural..

This mural was painted by local artists in 2018 and features buildings from around downtown and even features the front porch of Elvis’ birthplace and a guitar.

Near this mural is an old Coca Cola advertising mural …I’ve read it was painted in the late 1930’s but some have said 1950….regardless, it’s old and it’s cool!

The mural was uncovered during a downtown Tupelo building remodel!

Next was the Jailhouse Rock Elvis Mural.

The mural was painted by local artist Kit Stafford in 2017 and depicts Elvis wearing standard jail-issued blues with jail cell bars behind him.

Next, was the not to be missed stop if you are an Elvis fan!

It’s the Tupelo Hardware store!

This is the store where Elvis’ mom Gladys, bought Elvis his first guitar in 1945!

The store first opened in 1926 across the street from the present location. It moved to this location in 1941.

The hardware store is a family-owned business and has been opened for almost 100 years!

You can go inside the store and stand in the spot where Elvis stood and hear the story that changed music history!

You can’t miss it … “x” marks the spot!

Here’s the story about when Elvis’ mom took him into the store to purchase the guitar and a picture of the man that sold it to them.

There were lots of pictures of Elvis hanging in the store.

A picture of the guitar that Gladys purchased for Elvis.

I loved this picture of Elvis that was painted by Ronnie McDowell..

After leaving the store, we continued our walk.

We spotted the sign to the Tupelo Fairpark.

This is the same portal that stood years ago when this area was the fairgrounds.

After all of that walking, we decided it was time for lunch!

We headed to a place I had read about called the Neon Pig.

After reading that their burgers had been voted the best burger in America, we had to try it out!

The Neon Pig is also a butcher shop and offers fresh never frozen seafood. Their seafood is delivered fresh 3 times a week.

This is not a chain restaurant….this is the only location.

After arriving, we grabbed a seat by the window.

After looking over the menu, I decided on the Famous Smash Burger and the hubby ordered the Belvis Burger and we ordered the loaded fries.

The burgers were absolutely out of this world delicious!!

My hubby is a burger connoisseur and said it was one of the best, if not the best burger he has ever eaten!

See their menu here & read reviews here

After lunch, we headed to visit Elvis’ birthplace.

This 15 acre park was created by Elvis himself. He donated the money from his 1956 coming home concert.

You can walk around and visit each place on your own but, if you want to go inside the church, the house and the museum, you will need to purchase a ticket.

The cost for all 3 is $20 per person.

You purchase your tickets inside at the welcome center which is also a gift shop.

One of the first things you will see, after arriving to the park, is a replica of the car Elvis’s parents once owned.

After purchasing our tickets, we headed to the home where Elvis was born.

Click here for a guidebook of the park

The house consisted of a front porch with a wooden swing, a kitchen and one bedroom. The house was Elvis’ home from the time of his birth until he was around 2 years old.

His dad, Vernon, built this house for $180. He borrowed the money but couldn’t pay it back so, they ended up losing the house about 2 yrs later.

Years later, Vernon came back here to help make sure that the house looked as much like it did when they lived there.

There are only 2 items in the house that were there when the Presley’s lived there…the wood burning stove and the ice box.

The park also includes his childhood Assembly of God church, the place where he first sang gospel music.

This is a timed entry. You can only enter the church during specific hours.

The tour guide for the house took everyone’s picture before we got started!

This was a super unique experience as screens come down in front of you and beside you and make you feel like you are in an actual church service! It was really cool!

You aren’t allowed to take pictures once the screens come down.

After the church, we continued our walk around the grounds.

There are several statues that depict the different ages of Elvis.

There’s also a reflection pool where small water features are located…there are several benches where you can sit and relax.

There was a replica of an outhouse that would be shared in a poor community such as the one Elvis was raised in.

There were several plaques along the walls that talked about Elvis’ life.

There was also a memorial chapel…Elvis had dreamed of having a place of meditation at the park and before his death he shared that dream with a friend who, with several other Elvis fans, made it happen. The chapel was opened in 1979.

The pulpit, where Elvis’s Bible used to rest before someone stole it, is the original pulpit from the First Assembly of God Church who donated it to the chapel.

Lastly, we headed back inside the welcome center where the small museum is located.

The museum, formerly the youth center built by Elvis before his death, contains both the spiritual and professional side of the singer, including his personal Bible, towels fans took from his hotel rooms and one of his Vegas costumes.

Some pictures from the museum

Read reviews here

Outside the museum is a hallway with windows displaying memorabilia from Elvis’s life

After leaving the park, we drove a very short distance to see the church that was rebuilt once it outgrew itself.

We then headed to Dairy Kream for some ice cream.

Dairy Kream is one of Tupelo’s oldest restaurants.…it opened in 1955.

All they had was soft serve so I ordered a swirl cone.

It was so good!

Read reviews here

After our ice cream, we headed to Reed’s Dept Store to purchase a Tupelo tshirt & coffee cup.

Reeds Dept Store has been in business since 1905.

Still a family business, the Reed family continues the Reed’s tradition started in 1905 by founder, R.W. Reed.

The store sells mostly name brand, expensive clothing and shoes.

There are several pictures hanging in the store of Elvis and his homecoming tours from 1956 & 1957.

After our purchase, we walked outside to the side of the building to take a picture of another mural called the Book Stack Mural.

This mural was painted by the same artist that painted the 3D Elvis Mural.

This mural was designed to share the story of Reed’s Department Store.

Next, we headed to the Tupelo Visitor’s Center.…sadly, it was closed.

However, there were a few historical markers near the visitor’s center that talked about the area.

From here, we headed to the nearby Veterans Memorial Park.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Veterans Park is a scaled replica of the Maya Lin-designed monument on the Mall in Washington.

The Tupelo Wall is etched with the names of the 58,318  killed or still missing from the Vietnam War.

Besides the wall, there are a few other monuments and informational plaques.

After leaving here, we headed back to the hotel and decided to eat dinner at the hotel’s restaurant called, Jobos.

On the way, we passed the popular Johnnie’s Drive In.

The restaurant opened in 1945 and is Tupelo’s oldest restaurant. There are booths in the restaurant that are dedicated to Elvis because it was a favorite hangout of young Elvis Presley before he became famous.

Read reviews here

Jobos offers breakfast (for hotel guests only), brunch and dinner.

We were seated at a table outside.

After looking over the menu, I decided on the special they were offering, Grouper over rice with a crab sauce and a side of brussel sprouts and the hubby ordered the usual burger and fries.

The food was really good!

However, they added on a “large group” tip of 20% which we didn’t appreciate…We usually always tip well, but don’t add a tip to my bill when tips are always optional!

After dinner, we called it a night.

Read reviews here

The next morning, we headed to Brick & Spoon for breakfast.

After being seated, we looked over the menu.

I decided on the pancakes with bananas and the hubby ordered the breakfast tacos with fries.

The food was average.

Read reviews here

After breakfast, we started our 4 hour drive home.

We had to drive part of the Natchez Trace Parkway on the way home.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states.

It roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace,” a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, “Kaintucks,” European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents.

People have been using the Natchez Trace for thousands of years — from the prehistoric American Indians and Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez who called the area home to the boatmen who floated supplies down to ports in Natchez and New Orleans at the beginning of the 1800s.

Click here for 30 stops along the Natchez Trace Parkway

There are 3 Indian Mounds that you can stop at along this drive – Bear Creek Mound, Emerald Mound and Pharr Mounds.

We stopped off for a quick picture of the Bear Creek Mound.

This square, flat-topped mound was built in several stages for ceremonial or elite residential use sometime between 1100 and 1300 A.D., during the Mississippian period.

You could walk right up to the mound.

The mound had been greatly reduced in height by plowing. Following excavation in 1965, the mound was restored to its estimated original dimensions of about eight feet high by 85 feet across the base.

This is only stop we did as we were ready to get home!

Thanks for reading!

Read Days 1-3 of our trip here, Day 4 here, Day 5 here, Day 6 here & Day 7 here

Click here to see links to all of my blog posts

Stay tuned for our next adventure in Rising Fawn, GA!!
















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