Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The ducks go marching one by one, hurrah hooray

“The many sounds of Memphis shaped my early musical career and continue to be an inspiration to this day.” — Justin Timberlake

CAST YOUR mind back two months ago to when we, Paul and I, were on our way to Memphis on the second leg of the birthday trip. Well, we made it. 

Paul got us there Sunday night, May 10, just in time to get checked into our hotel and watch the season finale of The Good Wife. Let me tell you up front, Paul and I both thought it sucked. Symbolism, symmetry, the book-ended slap, artsy fartsy blah blah blah. Don't even bother! When you've taken loyal watchers along with you for seven years (!!), the least you can do is give them a gosh darned happy ending. You won't change our minds, so don't try. (We're so mad that as a matter of principal or retribution or whatever, we refuse to watch the new show this same writing and producing team has debuted. Nope. Not gonna watch it.)

On the up side, we liked our little hotel. We stayed 
at a new Hyatt Place in Germantownabout 20 miles east of Memphis. If we aren't going to stay in a historic, old hotel or unique bed and breakfast, this division of Hyatt Hotels is our new favorite place. Here's what we liked about it: they're small hotels, so they're not busy and hectic, the sound-proofing is excellent which makes them quiet, they're reasonably priced, sleekly modern with the latest in internet ports and charging stations all in one module (you can see it on the end of the television console), and they have a little coffee shop/cafe bar open 24/7 so you get a salad or soup or a sandwich anytime. Breakfast comes with the room, and although pretty standard fare, it's better than your average moderately-priced-hotel lobby breakfast.

Our room

Did you know Memphis has the largest city park in the whole United States? Yup. Shelby Farms Park is 4500 acres. By comparison, Central Park in New York is 843 acres. Had to go there, so an almost 6-mile walk on Tour De Wolf trail was our first outing on our first day in Memphis. It was an overcast day; perfect for hiking.

That night we were on a quest for the best barbecue in town. We asked several people and got a different answer from every one. Someone finally said, "You'll get as many best-of's as people you ask." 

Paul's solution was to research online, and he picked One and Only BBQ. And it was!!!! Hands down, it's the best barbecue either of us has ever had in our lives!! Seriously! I had the turkey breast dinner, and you know how turkey is always dry, this so wasn't! It was so so so so good that I want to go back there right now and have some more!!

Paul had the two-meat platter; one of the two meats was dry-rubbed ribs. Here in Des Moines, Kansas City-style barbecue, marinated and usually slathered in sauce — predominates, so Paul had never tried dry-rubbed beef. 
Unmasked by sauces, the meat was so richly flavorful. 

One of the sides we chose was called twice baked potato salad, and oh my lord, how good was that!! We also had baked beans which were awesome and cole slaw which was average. (We found out what exceptional cole slaw tastes like the following day.) Even though we were still theoretically on our diet, we splurged and had Millie's made-from-scratch-daily banana pudding with Nilla wafers and meringue for dessert. Yum!!

(Fortunately . . . and amazingly, we both weighed the same at the end of the trip as we did when we started out.)

After dinner we headed down to the heart of Memphis to check out Beale Street, famous for it's music, clubs and bars. I hope Memphisonians or Memphisians or whatever Memphis residents call themselves won't come after us, but we weren't terribly impressed. We've been to New Orleans and, as Paul pointed out, Sixth Street in Austin is at least 10 blocks long — a lot larger area than Beale Street.

The next morning we were off bright and early to see the famous duck march at the equally famous Peabody Hotel. A friend had gone when she was in Memphis and described it as "okay." On the other hand, I absolutely, completely and totally loved it! Paul took a video (attached below), and that's me laughing hysterically all the way through it. I just found it so funny!!!

We got there early enough to get prime seats and have an opportunity to talk to the Duckmaster, Anthony Petrina. He said there are always people from several countries besides the US at every march, and sure enough there were. We made room at our table for two women from Germany, and there were Canadians and Australians in attendance as well.

Below are photos, our little YouTube movie and screen caps about the history of the marching ducks. Stayed tuned tomorrow for the rest of the trip.

1 comment:

  1. Well, Memphis has changed a LOT since I left in late '97. That park is a stunner! And the hotel you chose is lovely. Even the restaurant you chose is new since I left. Corky's was our favorite but a lot of people swore by Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous, but it was too spicy for my taste. For me, the best things to eat in Memphis were meat (so long as you didn't want it anything but well done - so ribs, chicken, pot roast, meatloaf and so on and desserts. OMG - try some chess pie next time. And tea - even if you commit the crime of wanted unsweetened tea, it's better than you get other places. Don't know why. Plus I loved Mint Juleps. They came out during Memphis in May and oh boy!