Eat A Peach!
In Fort Valley & Peach County
Nestled among the majestic old pecan trees and the rolling red hills of the mid-state is Fort Valley and Peach County.
Peach County is the newest and smallest county in the state with a population of just under 25,000. Chartered by the State Legislature in the mid-1920's the county is named for the then top cash crop in Georgia - the Georgia peach. Peach County hosts three localities -- Byron to the north, Powersville, and Fort Valley to the south.
Peach County and Fort Valley are a day-trip haven for the Georgia traveler. People from all areas of Georgia can access Fort Valley and Peach County in a half-day of driving or less.
For three to six weeks during late February and March, the county is aglow with the brilliant colors and smell of peach blossoms. Since different varieties bloom at different times, most of that six-week period travelers (and home folks alike) can enjoy an array of fields of color that just go on for miles and miles and miles.
One Peach County school teacher once asked her class to name the four seasons of the year. The response that she was given was fall, winter, spring and peach season! Peach packing has been a mainstay for the area for almost a century. At one point in Peach County's history, over 50 packing sheds ran during the season. Now, two ultra modern facilities handle the peaches that once took so many sheds. Peaches are generally available mid-May through mid-August. Both sheds offer tours during regular business hours.
A celebration of the harvest of the peach crop is held each year in June. Georgia's official Georgia Peach Festival is scheduled for mid-June with arts and crafts, entertainment, food, and of course, peaches, peaches, and peaches. Don't miss the world's largest peach cobbler!
But that is not all that Fort Valley and Peach County have to offer. Fort Valley State University hosts the heritage of the predominately black land-grant institution for the State of Georgia. The contrast between the ultra modern buildings of today and the history that has developed into one of the largest research institutions in the state makes FVSU a powerhouse in higher education in Georgia. The Biggs collection housed in the Anderson House Museum on campus boasts one of the finest collections of possessions from the turn of the century. The pieces were highly sought by the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. The Biggs collection is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for tours. FVSU sports including Wildcat football have long been a draw for fans from throughout the state and around the world.
Blue Bird Body Company in Fort Valley is the world's largest producer of school buses. They also manufacture transit buses and the luxury motor home, the Blue Bird Wanderlodge. Both facilities are available for tours on a pre-arranged basis.
Massee Lane Gardens, international headquarters for the American Camellia Society also brightens the landscape of Peach County with a constant change of color and foliage in its walking gardens. Peak blooming times are late November through February, but some varieties bloom throughout the year. The ACS also hosts its annual Camellia Festival in February. The gardens are open year-round for self-guided tours of the splendor. Massee Lane Gardens boasts the world's largest collection of Edward Marshall Boehm porcelains as well as its collection of porcelain figurines known throughout the world which are housed in the Stevens-Taylor Gallery and the Fetterman Museum.
The Powersville Opry plays each Saturday night to standing room only audiences of down-home music. And you never know who might sit in with them. Tickets are available at the door.
Fort Valley's historic district features homes that date back to just after the War Between the States. When Sherman burned Georgia, he skirted the little settlement of Fox Valley and the town survived and evolved into Fort Valley. Several grave markers from both sides of the war are still standing in the city's cemetery. A walking tour of the historic district can make for a nice afternoon of for viewing various types of architecture.
The Jail House Alley Art Center provides an outlet for local talent. Each year in early fall the group hosts its annual Jail House Alley Art show and sale.
Fort Valley is still a small rural southern town with strong ties to agriculture. If not for the innovations of technology that abide within the infrastructure, you might think that the 20th Century has passed Fort Valley by. The area still boasts of a small town flair with that ol' down home feeling. Fort Valley and Peach County sit in a unique location where Georgia's Andersonville Trail, Georgia's Peach Blossom Trail and Georgia's Antique Trail all meet.
Spend the day. Spend the night. Or spend a lifetime in Fort Valley and Peach County. It's a great place to visit, a great place to live, and a great place to call home.
County-Wide Events and Attractions:
American Camellia Society - $5 tours
Blue Bird Body Company
Peach Blossoms - Late February - March
Fresh Peaches - May - August
Fort Valley State University
Peach Factory Stores (exit 149 on I-75)
The Anderson Museum featuring the Biggs Collection - Fort Valley State University
Fort Valley State University Wildcat Sports
Peach packing tours during season
Camellia Festival - First full week in February
Christmas Parades - First weekend in December
Battle of Byron - First weekend in May
Georgia Peach Festival - Second weekend in June
Middle Georgia Camellia Society Show - November
Jailhouse Alley Art Show and Sale - early Fall
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