It’s summer, which in my book means road trips! And when I think about road trips, I naturally think about quirky roadside attractions (and now I’m starting to sound like “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”).
Water towers are especially fun – and very noticeable from the road — when they’re painted to look like something else. We saw the world’s tallest water tower in New Jersey, but it didn’t have half the charm of the “Peachoid” in South Carolina, the world’s largest peach.
In this month’s guest post, Kelly Rae Smith, Editor of Explore Travel Guide, tells us all about it:
Where is it and how did you find it?
The Peachoid has been a part of my landscape my whole life. You see, I grew up less than an hour from this peach-shaped water tower. Four-stories tall, it sits on the side of the road on Interstate 85 in Gaffney, South Carolina (Cherokee County) where it captures the attention of every passerby. I’m from Anderson, SC, and so any time I’ve traveled to Spartanburg or Charlotte, or indeed to Gaffney, I have the pleasure of beholding this incoherent piece of fruit.
Why did you go there, exactly?
I finally decided to pull over and get this particular picture in 2010 because my friend edits a newspaper in Scotland, and this was taken for her “Where in the World” section. Scottish readers had to guess where this pic was taken. Surprisingly, many answered the call with exact highway instructions!
Okay, what was so cool about it?
Well, it’s a peach. And it’s a water tower. And it’s enormous. A water tower holding one million gallons of water and standing at 150-feet tall, it’s certainly hard to miss and is a novelty roadside attraction that should not be missed by anyone who loves a little kitsch with their roadtrip.
I also love that this stands in South Carolina despite the fact that Georgia is the Peach State. It was, in fact, erected as a loud-and-clear statement from Cherokee County regarding the fact that, at the time, more peaches came from this county than the whole of Georgia.
Another interesting fact is this: Because a great number of us have known the peach since we were children, many of us even as adults tend to have a juvenile sense of humor when we see what looks like a massive human rump on the horizon, or the “big butt,” if you will. With its remarkable cleft, you can see why it’s also known as the Moon over Gaffney.
How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):
This ain’t no puny roadside attraction.There’s nothing to do there but snap a picture (or go shopping in the neighboring outlet mall), but a great picture that will be, I promise. And there’s usually, if you visit during the steamy Carolina summer, an old fruit stand nearby complete with buckets and buckets of fresh, mouth-watering peaches. I’ll give it an 8 on that 1-10 scale.
A little background info about the place:
It was built in 1981 by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company. Made entirely of steel and concrete, it took five months to construct and design the Peachoid. A local artist, Peter Freudenberg, used 50 gallons of paint in 20 different colors to perfect the peach. He also applied a 60-foot-long leaf that weighs in at seven tons. It remains a sight to behold on I-85 in Gaffney, between Greenville and Spartanburg.