Memphis can seem miraculous!

[This spring, experience the home of the blues and the
birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll on a fun, three-day excursion in the magnificent river city of Memphis, Tennessee. Parkland Community Education Program Manager John Eby, no stranger to the sights and sounds of Memphis, provides a taste of what’s to come.]

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Memphis, Tennessee, is a hard-working southern city that requires several hours of travel through relatively monotonous countryside to reach. When you approach it in the daytime, you wonder if there’s anything special about it, because it looks like many other metro areas: a little desolate, a little desperate, with a beltway around its stone, glass, and steel structures. And then, there’s the very wide and very muddy Mississippi splashing up against its western side.

But! As the sun goes down, and the neon comes on, a miraculous thing happens! Memphis transforms into one of the most fun, most delicious, and most welcoming cities in America. If you’ve been there, you know that Beale Street is lined with Blues venues, BBQ restaurants, and small-time vendors with shelves full of kitschy souvenirs, rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, and of course … everything Elvis.

If you’ve never been to Memphis, know that you arrive early, you stay late, you eat meat that’s sloppy with sauce and desserts that are rich and satisfying. Then you’re expected to hop from house to house to hear the Blues played by up-and-comers and old-timers alike. You can eat more, imbibe more, and enjoy the true heart and soul of the city until the early morning hours. (Specific recommendations from a two-time visitor: Blues City Café and King’s Palace.)

At St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, real miracles happen, and Parkland College has a unique and long-lasting connection to the medical facility’s campus. In 2011, students, staff, faculty, and affiliates—36 altogether—spent spring break completing the design and installing the landscaping for a garden outside the hospital’s main entrance and adjacent to the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion. Read a pretrip profile here. Since its completion and dedication as “The Hope Garden”, this space has served patients and their families as a place for meditation, reflection, and play. It’s a special connection to a miraculous place for the Parkland community.

Join us on a great three-day trip, April 6–8, 2016, and experience these highlights of Memphis and more! Our itinerary includes visits to Graceland (we can’t forget Elvis), the Mississippi River Museum, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Center for Southern Folklore, and the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion at St. Jude, with free time to enjoy the fantastic meals and music served up on Beale Street.

Reserve your spot today; your deposit is due Dec. 18, with the balance due Feb. 26. For more information about the trip and to complete a registration/deposit form, please contact Parkland College Community Education at 217/353-2055 or communityed@parkland.edu.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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