Gonna eat a lot of peaches (at Peach Park)

I’ve made the drive down Interstate 65 at least a dozen times in my life.  Somewhere between Birmingham and Montgomery, I often find myself passing by a giant peach.  Yes, a giant peach.  If you’ve gone down the same stretch of highway you’ve probably seen it.  If not, it’s actually a giant water tower for the city of Clanton, Alabama.  As it turns out, Clanton/Chilton County is Alabama’s “peach basket,” where a large amount of the state’s peaches are grown. As a result there are roadside stands where you can get peaches and other produce. Most times when I pass by, I think to myself, “I should stop by, but I won’t be able to get off the interstate fast enough.  Maybe next time.”

peach water tower
Photo courtesy: RoadsideAmerica.com

As it turns out, that peach water tower does not appear to be the stop for peaches.  A couple of exits down there’s a place called Peach Park.  Recently I had one of my “should have stopped” moments only to see a sign for the place right before Exit 205.  It said “Homemade Ice Cream,” so I quickly pulled off the interstate.  What awaited me was something I wasn’t fully prepared for:  a full-blown roadside attraction with a parking lot full of cars.

Next to a Whataburger, Peach Park is part Farmer’s Market/part just-about-everything-else you could imagine. You can get fresh peaches and tomatoes (at least when I went), but there’s also peach butter, muscadine cider and a whole slew of other products.  There are tourist-type t-shirts, but there’s also a little boutique clothing store and home-decor items.  You’ll also find a small deli/bakery for sandwiches and other goodies.  IMG_1737There’s a “food court” where you can get in line to grab a bowl of cobbler, a fried pie or a scoop or two of homemade ice cream in a wide array of flavors.  If you’re not feeling dessert, just go down to the other side of the counter to the Peach Pit, a barbecue restaurant serving up pulled/chopped pork, ribs and a number of southern-fried sides.

 

Oh, and then there’s the “park” part of this.  There’s a shade-filled area with tall trees and  other plants to enjoy as you stretch your legs.  People with children can take advantage of the playground that’s a little higher on the hill.

IMG_1740IMG_1747

Past that, you’ll also see a water fountain designed like a lighthouse.  This is where the little RV park is, with several spots for you to park your camper and stay for the night.

Now I will say that this place is showing its age a little bit.  Some of the ceramic decorative pieces and the playground equipment are weather-worn and could use a coat of paint.  However, I think it gives the place of a lot of character.  It reminds me of the WigWam Village I stayed at as a child in Kentucky.  It’s a piece of Americana that’s worth the visit, especially if you’re already going that direction.

 

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