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.”
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. There’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.
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.