Restaurants · travel

Day 16 & 17 of USA Road Trip – Memphis 

The 5 hour drive flew by thanks to the hilarious podcast ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’, and we were checking into our dodgy motel before we knew it. The room stank of weed and there were a couple suspicious stains on the wall, but we had arrived in Memphis! Time to go and explore. 
The hotel shuttle dropped us off on Beale Street, aka party central. It’s basically a geriatric version of Nashville, or at least it was when we were there – most of the patrons were over 60 and wearing rhinestoned Elvis shirts. To be fair, this could be because it’s the 40th anniversary of Elvis’s death this week! There were also a lot of motorbikes there for no apparent reason. 

We had a short wander around town before heading to dinner at Charles Vergos Rendezvous BBQ restaurant. EVERYTHING on the menu is gluten free except the bread, but make sure you tell your server that you’re gluten free as most of the meats are usually served on top of a slice of bread, even though it doesn’t say that on the menu. I went for the ribs with pork shoulder. The ribs were a little ‘meh’ but the pork shoulder was amazing! 

We went for a post dinner walk along the riverfront and had a drink while watching the sunset. The below bridge locals refer to as the Dolly Parton Bridge. I’ll let you guess why yourselves. 

The next morning, we headed into Memphis again to explore. We made our way to the Peabody Hotel for 11am to watch the ducks. For anyone who didn’t watch my Instagram video earlier, here’s an overview of what went down: 5 ducks come out of an elevator, waddle along a red carpet to an upbeat song, go up a set of red steps and into a fountain, where they spend the rest of the afternoon. It’s weird but I loved it. 

After the Peabody we walked to the Pro Bass Pyramid. For my UK readers, a Pro Bass shop generally sells hunting gear, weather wear, fishing apparatus…. etc. We had no need to go to this store but had been told that it used to be a sports arena so we were intrigued. If we ignored the hunting stuff, it was actually pretty cool. They had a bowling alley, a restaurant, a museum, a fudge shop and various aquariums. 

We stopped for lunch there and I was pleased to find out that they did a coeliac friendly burger with a gluten free bun. However, when it arrived, it was just a burger sandwiched between two freezing cold, rock solid slices of gluten free bread. It’s not going to win any burger awards any time soon, but I was happy to have options! 

After lunch we headed across to Mud Island Park, a very cool space that’s definitely worth checking out. You can walk back to town via the pedestrian bridge, which offers pretty great views of the city. It’s also completely free!

On our way back to town, we walked past a barber shop. Ewan’s been wanting to get his hair cut for a while, so we decided to go in while we had some free time. Ewan explained that he just wanted a 2 on the back and sides and the top trimmed a tiny bit. The barber seemed to understand and got to work. The first red flag was that the barber had Ewan facing away from the mirror, so Ewan had no idea what was happening to his hair. The second red flag was when he started shaving a crap load of hair off the top of Ewan’s head. I adopted the British plan of attack, which is to be very passive aggressive in the hope of controlling the situation. ‘Looks great but that’s probably enough off the top now?’ ‘Ewan, do you think you’d better take a look in the mirror?’ When these were ignored and he was still sheering Ewan like a sheep, I actually went over to the barber like some kind of overbearing pageant-Mom, and stopped him to say that he was taking too much off. Ewan caught sight of himself in the mirror and with a panicked expression, agreed that no more should be cut off. ‘Okay, I’ll just neaten up the front’, says the Barber, a second before he takes another 2 inches off. When he started working on Ewan’s beard, I had to avert my eyes, worried I’d be leaving the store with a 12 year old boy. THANKFULLY Ewan was a great sport about it and I actually think he looks gorgeous with her new surprise hair do! Proof of this below.

We HAD to go for an alcoholic drink after that, before heading home for an early night as we have a long drive to New Orleans tomorrow! Night all. 

Restaurants · travel

Day 8 & 9 of USA Road Trip – Smoky Mountains/Gatlinburg

We have spent the last two nights in the Smoky Mountains, staying in a cute but very touristy town called Gatlinburg. This has been our favourite stop yet! 

After a 4 hour drive from Nashville, we arrived in Gatlinburg. It was a lovely sunny day so we headed straight to the Smoky Mountains National Park to check out a couple trails. We did the small trail behind the Sugarlands Visitor Centre then the Laurel Falls trail, which had a pretty big waterfall at the end. 

After hiking, we headed into the town to check out some of the wineries and get dinner. Because we are on a budget (or just general tight arses), we chose to go to the winery offering free tastings first, as most others cost $5. The winery was called Tennessee Homemade Wines and they specialize in wines made out of fruits other than grape. We tried their strawberry wine, peach wine and blackberry wine and liked them all, but the real winner was the blueberry wine. We immediately purchased a bottle and I am SO excited to crack it open when we get to Charleston in a few days time. If you ever get the chance, try it! It’s the best. 

The gluten free options in this town are a little sparse, but we found a grill called Blaines that had a gluten free menu so we headed there for dinner. I had a delicious burger with mashed potatoes (they don’t have a separate fryer so fries were not an option) and they happen to be the only place in town that currently offer gluten free burger buns. 

We soaked up the burgers with some moonshine tasting! Sugarlands distillery was our first stop, where we tried 12 different types of moonshine ranging in flavours from maple bacon to butter pecan. The ‘plain’ moonshine tasted like petrol but all the flavoured ones were delish! We were feeling a little tipsy by the end of the tasting session. 

Buzzed from Sugarlands, we headed to Ole Smoky Distillery where we tried ANOTHER 12 shots of moonshine, all in slightly different flavours. They had a cream based, piña colada flavoured moonshine called ‘some beach’ that I could have drank a whole bottle of. 

We waddled home a bit drunk, and slept in later the next morning than we have this whole road trip! However, there’s a sodding clock that chimes on the hour, every hour from 7am just across the road from our motel, which was not appreciated!! Once we were finally awake, we went to Flapjacks Pancake House for breakfast, as I’d heard great things about their gluten free pancakes. I was not disappointed – I had their cinnamon swirl pancakes and they were insanely good! 

We spent the whole day exploring the National Park and drove up to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the Smoky Mountains. Parking was a bloody nightmare, as was the 20 minute steep hill climb, but the views were totally worth it! 

We’re off to Charlotte in the morning, excited to see a new city! 

Thanks for reading 🙂