The Traveling Steve's

Back to work travel: Roanoke to Memphis

After staying at my parent’s house in Roanoke for nearly a month, it was now time to travel again for work.   (My parents had both had separate falls, and have been in the rehab center there the last month.) It’s 1pm Monday afternoon, and I’m waiting on my one hour delayed flight to Charlotte, connecting on to Memphis, Tennessee.  This is a spur-of-the moment trip, just finding out about it on Friday around 4:30pm.  After being settled in one place for so long, it feels strange traveling again.  My first flight scheduled for 10:30 this morning was canceled, so I rebooked to the 12:45pm flight today, which is now leaving at 1:45pm.  I guess not much has changed in a month with the flight delay issues!  Here are a couple photos from the Roanoke, Virginia Airport, overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, and my small Dash-8 turbo prop I took first to Charlotte, before connecting on to Memphis.

Last night, my sister Jenni was in town for one day only on business today, and we had a nice evening at my brother Andy’s house, where she stayed for Sunday night.  We had some nice vino, Trefethin Cabernet, cheeses, and some hors d’oeuvres.  I must not have taken any photos of Jenni this quick trip, so here is a photo last time she was in Roanoke recently visiting Mom when she first went into Rehab.

I did manage to get a couple photos of myself, DOS, and Andy’s dog Barnabas however!  He’s such a cutie, especially now that he was just shaved and is wearing his cute Christmas dog vest to stay warm.

I also finished my huge leftover steak from our fun meal at Billy’s Friday night.

Jenni will be working at a couple different cities in Virginia this week, but is making arrangements to go with Andy to the Elk’s Retirement Home on Tuesday as we are in the process of making assisted living arrangements for my parents, when they leave the rehab center, hopefully in a month or so.  Here is a photo of the entrance to the Elk’s Home that DOS and I took on one of our two visits there, and there are also so more lower down in this post.

DOS and I have been looking at several assisted living places in the Valley, but only a couple of which we could consider, and they didn’t have any immediate vacancies.  Although we looked at but didn’t seriously consider this facility operated by the beautiful Catholic Church downtown Roanoke, it did have a beautiful view of the city, and the church itself is a landmark in Roanoke. While it was an interdenominational facility, I don’t think Mom and Dad would want to be in a downtown location.  I did get an unclose photo of the church on the way out though.

Back to the Elk’s Home . . . Steve DOS and I have  been by there twice, most recently on Saturday when Andy and Art came with us.  While it’s older and not as modern as some of the other facilities we looked at, what it lacks in modernity is made up for by the mammoth campus, and southern charm. Here is a model of the campus, and a photo of the front entrance.

 The Elk’s Home, has recently been purchased and rebranded as English Meadows in Bedford, VA, really has character, and as it’s so spread out, it doesn’t feel crowded like the other facilities; in fact it feels like a church retreat set among several acres. Mom and Dad used to drive by there every year to see the Christmas decorations, and I hope they will enjoy the home there, once we finalize arrangements. The Elk’s Home (English Meadows) already had most of the Christmas decorations up both inside and outside, which is no small feat as it takes many workers some three months to arrange the lawn items, not to mention over 30 interior Christmas trees!  

Inside the long corridors, each tree was unique, and decorated with a theme, some by staff, residents, family members, and volunteers.

The dining room at the Elk’s Home is over a hundred years old, and is grand and gorgeous.

This post updated later . . .  I started this post on Monday, and now it’s Saturday and I’m back home for the weekend in Orlando. I had a quick but busy week in Memphis, with only a couple photos I took on arrival, and later the last night I was there.

 With the exception of the last night, I worked late so didn’t have time to sightsee or go out for dinner, other than my trusty favorite dinner fast food of Taco Bell.  I stayed at the Hyatt Place Galleria, which was a decent hotel in a nice suburban area of Memphis.  The hotel was undergoing a major renovation, which I knew about both from Trip Advisor and on the Hyatt website, but other than the slow morning elevators, the renovation construction did not bother me at all.  In fact the hotel left a flyer in the room every day alerting guests to what they would be updating that day, and even left a nice construction-wrapped chocolate with the flyer as a cute gesture of the inconvenience.

By Thursday evening, I was ready to come home, and as I was flying out early on Friday, stayed out by the airport.  But not just any hotel, the Guesthouse at Graceland Hotel, just a couple blocks from Graceland!  The Guesthouse at Graceland is an upscale 4 star hotel, only about a year old, and as you guessed it, has subtle Elvis music playing throughout, but not tacky or gaudy in any way.  I have only toured Graceland once, but was by here a year or so ago and noticed the hotel, which must have just opened then.

It was really a treat staying at the hotel, if only for a night.  I was on the 4th floor, and had a nice room overlooking the large outdoor pool behind the hotel, which had 3 main cooridors.When you walk in your room, the TV is turned on with a  ‘choose your Elvis page’, as soft Elvis music plays in the background.  You can change it to 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s Elvis too, or of course just watch regular TV if you want.  I did try each of the Elvis music pages, before heading downstairs to see the hotel, as it was already 5:30pm.

The hotel was gorgeous, and it had a resort-like feel to it, but in a good, upscale way.  The hotel was already decorated for Christmas, and offered a warm and cheery feel to it as you walked up to the entrance with the wreathes and greenery hanging from the entrance columns. 

The hotel lobby was decorated with a colorful Christmas tree and gifts under it.

I had planned to have an early dinner at Della’s Restaurant, their onsite restaurant, but went to the lobby bar for a brewski, and as it was happy hour stayed quite a bit longer!  I met a nice couple from Houston, and separately a bloke from Australia (G’day to ya) who lived outside Melbourne, not too far from where my good friends Ian and Rosemary live.  I hung out in the lobby lounge area until after 9pm chatting and listening to the soft live music player on the guitar. The couple I met from Houston and I even walked down to Graceland after a break in our beverage service to the see the Mansion and grounds lit up.

 Thursday night, Nov 16th was the official tree-lighting ceremony this year, and although we didn’t get there for that, we could still see the grounds lit up from afar, just outside the gated entrance.

We didn’t go in, but it was still nice being part of the Elvis history, even from afar.  Across the street we could see the two Elvis jets which I toured last time I was there, but the automobile museum had been surprisingly torn down. I was told the cars were most likely stored in the giant warehouses behind were it stood; I’m guessing they will rebuilt it with something more grand.  Walking back to the hotel we stopped by one of the many gift shops along the way for a quick look.

Later I did make it to Della’s Restaurant, and it was completely empty at 9:10pm!  I thought it had closed as I didn’t see anyone, but the door was open and lights were on, so I walked around a bit and a nice waitress said ‘sure come on in; we’re open until 10pm’.  One other couple came in later, but I more or less had the restaurant to myself.  I had a nice steak dinner with a couple glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon, and while I don’t normally have bread, their cranberry biscuits were to die for!  I Face-Timed Steve (DOS) as the restaurant was empty except for the one couple far across the room. After dinner I headed up to my room and went to bed as I had a 9:15am flight out of Memphis.

My trip home was much better than my trip to Memphis as there were no delays to Charlotte or Orlando.  I also got upgraded to First on both segments of the trip which was nice on American Airlines.  As we taxied out, I took this photo of a Fed’x plane landing on an adjacent runway.  We have a good friend on Jekyll Island (where we are going in December) that is a pilot for Fed’x; so here’s to you Larsen!

Here’s a quick pick I took in Charlotte after I deplaned the CRJ-900 regional jet, with the skyline of Charlotte visible in the second photo.

When I got to Orlando, I could see the large Christmas trees were starting to be put up in the ‘B’ 50’s gates departure area.

DOS picked me up at the airport and we headed home. It felt a bit strange going home after being gone for a month, but I quickly adjusted.  We ate at home, and it was great to be able to grille out again.  We paired it with a nice wine from Laura Hartwig Winery, we had bought directly from the winery in Chile last year.  Decanted vino, grilled ribeye, and dinner at home for two – Welcome Home!






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