Peach World

Peach World is Fantastic

Driving through Georgia on a major interstate road you’ll likely see dozens of signs for Peach World. Like the signs for Florida Citrus Centers in Florida, or South of the Border signs in South Carolina, the repeated Peach World signs form a mantra in the mind — billboard hypnosis that compels the curious to eventually stop at one of these roadside markets.

Peach World

Georgia, of course, is known for its production of peaches, and Peach World is an orange shrine to peaches and peach-based foods.

I visited my first Peach World in December of 2019 returning from a road trip to Miami. To be honest, it wasn’t Peaches or the hypnotic, meme-mnemonics of seeing a Peach World sign every mile — it was Boiled Peanuts. Throughout my travels in the South, I saw hundreds of signs for Boiled Peanuts. Peach World had them, and that was enough for me to stop.

Peach World VW Bug

The exterior of the Peach World was what you might expect: an orange-colored (not “peach”) building (if you think about it, peaches are mostly orange & yellow, not pink/”peach”) with a sign that reads Peach World. Both the sign and the ramp needed cleaning with a power washer. The grounds featured a donkey & pony, which you’re free to feed corn and an eye-catching orange VW Bug.

The interior was very clean (no need for power-washing). One side featured the cash register and various machines to make peach-flavored ice cream and boiled peanuts. The rest of the shop was packed tight with wooden shelves & tables, packed even tighter with so much good stuff — pretty much everything you can imagine that incorporates peaches, peanuts, pecans, and anything you can bake, dry, or otherwise preserve. And a minimal amount of souvenirs — magnets, shirts, glassware. The proprietor was perfect — not pushy, but eager to entertain any question about Peach World and the confections it offers.

Much of the food I encountered was not easily found in New Jersey (where I’m from). New Jersey has its fair share of farmers markets & foods, it’s known for (tomatoes, corn, blueberries, cranberries, pork roll, salt-water taffy) — but there’s nothing like a Peach World or Florida Citrus World in New Jersey — there’s no “Jersey Corn Country” or “Jersey Pork Roll, Egg & Cheese Planet”. I purchased a case of various jarred foods — peach cobbler in a jar, peaches, okra, tiny corn cobs, & quail eggs. They were all fantastic, but the cobbler & quail eggs were a revelation — both I would definitely get again, whether on the road or via mail-order.

Now, onto the boiled peanuts — the reason I stopped in the first place. They’re literally peanuts in the shell that have been boiled. You get a heaping hot bagful — and if you let it be known that you’re eating them on a road trip, you’ll get a plastic bag and napkins so your hands, lap & car doesn’t turn into a swampy mess of hot peanut juice. I recommend giving them a try. They’re warm and soft — almost like a tiny potato — any they taste like shelled peanuts, not like peanut butter.

It’s worth contrasting Peach World with a Florida Citrus World. While I’ve only been to one of each, they’re as different as they are similar. Peach World focuses on preserved foods & baked goods, like Florida Citrus World is more bags of citrus fruit & candy. Florida Citrus World’s souvenir section of t-shirts, glassware, alligator toys & other tchotchkes dwarfs the minimal souvenir selection of Peach World. Both have animals — I’m sure it varies by location — but Florida CW’s got baby gators. I guess, if you’re like me, you have to stop at both, at least once, but because the foods are so good at Peach World, it’s more memorable.

Here’s the Peach World website. If they have it, I recommend the peach cobbler in a jar.

If you visit in person, and you visit the same location I did, be sure to feed the donkey & pony.

Donkey & Pony at Peach World

Last visit: December 10th, 2019.

Waffle House

Augusta, Georgia: golfers, cookies & grits

Augusta, Georgia is for golfers…

If you stay at a hotel in Augusta, Georgia, you will get to sleep around 1 am, and then you will wake up around 5 am. Why? Golfers. Southern golfers party hard into the night and then wake up before the crack of dawn.

I should have known. If you see a truck like this in the parking lot of your hotel, you can rest assured that you won’t get any rest…
Champagne Statement Monster Truck

This past summer I stayed at the Augusta DoubleTree, which is a truly magnificent hotel. Sure, the view from the window of my room faced a hallway, but I kept the curtains shut, so no one saw me sleeping.

Typically people stay at DoubleTree hotels for two reasons: Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005) & warm, complimentary, chocolate chip cookies.

  • Mitch Hedberg was a very funny comedian who had many jokes that referenced Double Tree hotels.
  • Double Tree hotels provide their guests with warm, complimentary, chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and they are delicious — they take the cookie out of the tiny cookie oven behind the desk, and it’s like Christmas and your Birthday and a hug, all in one. Their bus shuttles are even decorated with cookies — they are very important to their brand image.

Check out this “Sweet Ride” advertising their delicious, piping hot, complimentary cookies:
Augusta Doubletree Sweet Ride

I couldn’t bear eating dinner from the hotel vending machine, so I cruised the surrounding area for a restaurant. My two choices were a Twin Peaks, which is a strip bar/bar/restaurant…

Twin Peaks of Augusta

… or a Waffle House.

Augusta Waffle House

The first time I encountered a Waffle House was on a road trip to New Orleans back in 1995. So mysterious! A restaurant, open 24 hours a day, catering to road-weary travelers, and serving only waffles. Of course, I quickly learned that Waffle Houses are essentially diners serving a variety of foods, and at the time I was let down. Like finding out that Santa is just your parents, or that school lasts 13 long years.

Now, in 2015, there was no mystery. It was late. I knew I was hungry, and I wanted to eat. I did not want to eat at a strip bar.

Approaching the W’House, a teen called me out: “where you from, New Jersey?” “Yes”, I replied, without pride or fear. She followed me inside — my waitress. My waitress — let’s call her Miss Amazing Eye Makeup — was an amazing human being, with amazing iridescent blue, green, silver & black eye makeup. To say her eyes looked like some rare species of Costa Rican butterfly would not be an exaggeration! Miss Amazing Eye Makeup sat at my table (or did I sit at her table) and proceeded to grill me about fast food restaurants in New Jersey. We came to a conclusion that Georgia and New Jersey shared about 75% of the same eateries (the English language needs more words for “restaurant”). The whole time I felt like she was a cat, and I was a mouse — her eyes could control me — her stare, like a puppeteer’s strings — I didn’t want a large portion of grits at 10 pm, but she willed me to order it. And of course, she got a 50% tip.

I woke the next day, at 5 am. Thank you, golfers. Once the golfers discharged from the hotel (with the reticence & grace of a herd of angry cattle being washed through a gorge by floodwater), I was able to sleep again for a few hours. The hotel breakfast was expectedly bland, and a little pricey (should have gone back to the Waffle House), but satisfying. They should just serve a bottomless platter of their chocolate chip cookies for breakfast.

Thank you Double Tree, Waffle House, and Miss Amazing Eye Makeup for a memorable 12-hour stay in Augusta.