Main and Mulberry Podcast – Joni Pitre Buford, Peachtree City CVB

You may like golf, but do you like golf…  carting? Well, you don’t have much of a choice in Peachtree City, GA. Home to 100+ miles of golf cart paths, this multi-use system accommodates golf carts, bikers, runners, all while connecting the town’s restaurants, boutiques, and various shopping districts. Some even attend drive-thrus while cartin’ around! Learn all about “life at 15 miles per hour” on this episode of the Main and Mulberry Podcast.

Transcript

Anna Bell: Hello, and welcome to this episode of Main and Mulberry. I’m your host, Anna Bell, and today I’m so excited to have with us Joni Pitre Buford. She’s the Marketing and Events Specialist for Peachtree City Convention and Visitors Bureau, in Peachtree City, Georgia. Joni, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today.

Joni Pitre Buford: Thank you for having me! I’m so excited.

AB: Oh yeah, I’m excited too. We can’t wait to learn more about Peachtree City and the area. But with a name like Peachtree, you’ve got to be able to find some fresh fruit peaches around the area, is that right?

JB: Yeah! Yes, ma’am. So we do have plenty of farmers markets that have peaches for sale when the season’s here, but the funny thing is, is that you won’t find many actual peach trees here.

AB: How fun!

JB: Yeah, yeah. It’s kind of a little, fun thing. But yeah, you can get delightful peaches at the farmers markets here.

AB: I bet, during the summertime, that is the spot. Go get you a fresh peach. I love it.

JB: Oh, it’s wonderful!

AB: Well, Joni, for our listeners who have not yet had the opportunity to come and visit you in Peachtree City, maybe you can tell us about where you are in the state of Georgia, and maybe a little make-up of the city and the area.

JB: So, Peachtree City is located about 30 minutes southwest of downtown Atlanta. So if you’re familiar with Atlanta, we’re very, very close. I think some people don’t realize we’re quite that close. The city has a population of a little bit over 30,000 people, and what’s funny is, with about 34,000 people here, we actually have about 10,000 residents who have registered golf carts. If I told you anything about us, we’re known for being Georgia’s golf cart community. Golf cart city!

AB: You’ll see more golf carts than cars is what you’re saying, right?

JB: Not quite more, but honestly, it is a very common mode of transportation for most people who live in the city and around the city, and you see golf carts just about everywhere. I can tell you when I moved here, it was so strange to me to see golf carts in drive-throughs. At grocery stores, there’s special parking for golf carts all around the city. The kids go to school on golf carts, so it’s really a golf cart culture here in Peachtree City.

AB: That is so cool, and that’s so unique. That’s not something you see everywhere. So how cool is that?

JB: Absolutely, I thought it was one of the coolest things when I got here. Really neat.

AB: Fun, that’s really fun. So, kind of the make-up of the area… You have some distinct villages, is that right?

JB: Yes, Peachtree City is… It’s a master-planned community that was actually built 61 years ago now in 2020.

AB: What does that mean, Joni? A master-planned community?

JB: A group of people planned this community around this village system with five or so distinct villages that have a multi-use pathway system to get from village to village. Each village has its own shopping centres, its restaurants, stores, things of that nature, parks. So, it’s really a unique concept. That’s why many people are very surprised to see that we don’t have a historic area, because the city itself is only about 61 years old. So you won’t find an actual historic downtown district, but you will find that village concept of the villages spread around the city, connected by over 100-miles of golf cart path.

AB: Wow, how unique. That is so fun. And so how many villages, I guess, are we talking about here?

JB: We’re talking about five villages. Some of them are… We have Glenloch and Braelinn, Aberdeen, Kedron, those are the big villages around there, but you won’t see a historic center.

AB: Wow, how neat! Well, you know what I love… I love how your website really describes you guys as a town that invites you to learn how much better life can be at 15 miles per hour.

JB: Right? 

AB: I think that’s the cutest thing. And I love that you talked about your golf carts and being a big mode of transportation and kinda unique how it connects maybe residents and visitors. They can both be on their golf carts getting to where they wanna go, right?

JB: Correct. And actually, that pathway system is multi-use, so a lot of people think that the multi-use path system is only for the golf carts, however, we have lots of bikers and walkers, runners, skaters, that use that multi-use pathway system to get around the city. That pathway system is actually gonna connect you to things like your schools, your shopping centers, your restaurants. There’s these awesome areas of beautiful scenery. It connects to Lime Creek, Black Creek nature area, it’s really amazing how this unique 100-mile pathway just brings you to places you never even knew existed right off the main highway, but also acts as a way to tie the whole community in together as one.

AB: Oh, I love that! I love that. That’s awesome. And two, really connecting people to get to where they wanna go. And speaking of getting to where they wanna go, Peachtree City has many amazing local attractions that I definitely wanna spend some time talking about for us to enjoy when we get to come and visit with you. And so, maybe we can start talking through some of those attractions. The first one being the Commemorative Air Force Dixie Wing Museum. Can we talk about that for a minute?

JB: Yes, so the CAF Dixie Wing Museum, as we know it here, is a wonderful operation. They actually have some Korean and rare World War II war planes for display right in the hangars, which is really neat, and they have a whole museum inside dedicated to different aspects of the air industry and the Air Force. It’s really something to see, they do host events throughout the year, it’s really been amazing to see them grow. And yeah, they’re a big part of the community here.

AB: And I’ll bet a lot of people do come specifically to experience that museum and some of those defining moments in American military aviation history.

JB: Correct. Yes, and they have such a great… A great group of people that work there. They were working with those hearts over Georgia and everything. If you’ve ever seen that, they were going in the sky and doing hearts over the hospitals. They just have a wonderful operation there, they are wonderful people.

AB: That’s so wonderful. So whether you’re a little young person who just thinks that airplanes are cool or you’re an older member of the community who really remembers those airplanes, maybe even flying one, that sounds like a really wonderful experience.

JB: It really is. We have a lot of aviation lovers who make their way here specifically to go there and see those things.

AB: Speaking of wonderful experiences, I bet you have some amazing live shows at the Fred Amphitheater. Maybe we can talk about that for a minute.

JB: Yes! Yes, the Fred is a… If you’ve never been it’s so cool to see. It’s about a 1,600 seater. We have live events, normally when everything’s back to normal, that go on year-round. We’ve had KC and the Sunshine Band, we’ve had tons of bands that come there.

AB: All the big names, big names.

JB: Yes, some pretty big names. Right. They do, it’s a summer concert series usually, this past year, due to COVID, we weren’t able to do that, but normally you will see some really cool headliners over there, and it’s just been a great space. It’s nice and open, you sit down, you enjoy the outdoors, and you watch these really, really cool music acts, and it’s right here in Peachtree City. It’s a wonderful venue.

AB: Kinda, tell us about, under normal circumstances, about the Summer Concert Series. That sounds really fun.

JB: Yes! So they’ve had in the past, like I said, KC and The Sunshine Band, Joan Jett has played here, I believe it was Foreigner. They have great, great names. And what they do is, every year, they compile this Summer Concert Series together, and people buy season tickets. You can buy individual tickets, but they really make sure that they pack some really good names in that couple of months period for people to enjoy.

AB: I bet, as the event specialist, that’s kind of right up your alley. Right?

JB: Oh, yeah!

AB: You get excited about those kinds of events.

JB: Yes, yes, and it’s literally right next door to the brand new visitor center. So it’s very convenient, yeah.

AB: Great! So you can just walk right over, huh?

JB: Yeah, you can walk right over.

AB: Or get in a golf cart (haha).

JB: Which is the mode of transportation for most people to the Fred. So yes, it’s neat to see.

AB: I love it. I love it. We talked a minute earlier about your local farmers markets, but I’ve heard good things about it too.

JB: Yes, the Peachtree City Farmers Market happens twice a week. It’s a wonderful place to go and just… Well, honestly, just to connect with locals who are doing fresh fruit and art and things like that, but mostly the farmers market is where you can find good fresh coffee and meats and vegetables. I personally go there once a week, usually I try to make it there. I mean, it’s perfect for you if you need fresh bread, fresh homemade bread locally for Sunday dinner, it’s a wonderful experience.

AB: Oh, a good spot to go then? 

JB: It’s nice and it’s in the open, and you can enjoy that fresh air and do some shopping.

AB: Especially after this year. Any chance to get outside and do something, that sounds like a really good spot to be. And a lot of vendors… Do you have a lot of vendors?

JB: Yes, they do have a good bit of vendors. Even with COVID going on, when they were open, we still had quite a few vendors, so you can make a little… I stay there sometimes for an hour or two, just shopping and browsing, they have a good variety. They have also… A lot of times food trucks will come in and serve some food, so you can eat. Normally, they have music also going on. So it’s really… It’s a good little outing. I know the kids love it, you’ll always see kids there and they’re enjoying themselves. It’s a fun family time.

AB: And like you said, a good way to connect with some of the locals. Right?

JB: Yeah, absolutely.

AB: That’s awesome. Another attraction that I have to ask about is the Southern Hollywood Film Tour. Can you tell us about that?

JB: Right! Actually, right now, I’m not sure their schedule because, with COVID, things kind of changed. Yes, Peachtree City is rich with movie filming. And I know a lot of movies and television and, honestly, people just don’t know about that.

AB: Wow.

JB: But we have Marvel movies that were shot around here, parts of The Walking Dead were shot here, Drop Dead Diva. All kinds of great things. So on those… 

AB: A lot of big names!

JB: Yeah, yeah, some really big ones. What they do is, this Hollywood, this South Hollywood Tour, they take you around some of those sets or where things were filmed and just give you some of the inside history of that. It’s really neat. I had no idea how many things were filmed here, and when you start listing, you’re like, “Oh wow,” and it’s always neat to turn on a show that you’re familiar with and go, “I know where that is!”

AB: I know where that is! Right?

JB: Yeah!

AB: Too fun. I love that. Okay, so we’ve talked about a good handful of fun attractions and things we should look into when we come to visit with you. But Joni, what’s one of your personal favorite things to do in Peachtree City?

JB: Honestly, from day one, it’s something we try to do as often as possible, I love to just hop on a golf cart, get on that pathway and just cruise for the afternoon. We’ll pick up a coffee of Blume Organics. We’ll stop and have lunch at one of the hundreds of restaurants in town, and then one of my children’s favorite things to do is, on the golf cart, is to count deer because a lot of times the deer are just grazing, they’re near the lake, you can pull your golf cart right up to a lot of little scenic areas. It’s just my favorite way… I agree, the best way to enjoy life is at 15 miles per hour. The golf cart makes things that are normally fun, like shopping and coffee, just even more fun. Especially if you have a family with small children, it is a great way to get outside, show them around, have a little fun, it feels a little more adventurous than sitting in the car, and it really can take you to some places that you can’t access in your car to different parts of the lake, these different little scenic areas. So, by far, it is my number one thing to do, is just spend an afternoon on the golf cart… 

AB: I love it, love it. Go for a little cruise drive, maybe not with the top down, but as close as you can get to… 

JB: As close as you can get, as close as you can get. Absolutely.

AB: How fun. Well, I’d like to switch gears for a minute and kinda talk about your dining experiences in Peachtree City, because I’ve heard you can get a taste of just about any cuisine you can imagine when we come to visit you. Is that right, Joni?

JB: Yes, and that was another thing I was floored by. As a new resident in this area, Peachtree City has done a wonderful job of getting just this really neat mix of different kinds of local cuisine. We have everything from gastropubs, like The Curious Pig with Chef Scott. We have… The Irish pub with Crosstown Grille, and then you jump over and you have first generation Americans coming from Italy cooking at Borgo Italia, the most amazing Italian food you’ve ever had and a Revolution New Italian. And then you go over across the street and there’s Pascal’s where he’s a Cordon Bleu trained chef from South France cooking American food with a French spin on it. We have… It’s crazy. We have places… 

AB: It just goes on!

JB: Yeah, like the Indian restaurant here is absolutely a fan favorite. Everybody loves that place here. You have go-to Japanese food, which is… Them too, they are first-generation Americans that are cooking Japanese food out of this world, it’s just… It’s amazing, the mix. So if you want American, pub food, Japanese food, Indian food, French, you name it, Peachtree City has got it. And then of course, we have the good tried-and-trues, a lot of chain restaurants as well, but they have… If you can’t find something to eat in Peachtree City, then you’re just not hungry.

AB: Then your eyes aren’t open, it sounds like.

JB: No, no.

AB: You got my mouth watering, Joni. I’m excited to come and try some good food.

JB: It’s wonderful here.

AB: I’m sure your nose will lead you in the right direction, huh?

JB: Exactly. The pathway will lead you just about anywhere you wanna eat.

AB: I love that. Is there one that’s one of your favorites maybe, that you might share with us? Maybe it’s somewhere we just need to try?

JB: There’s quite a few. Honestly, I love to go grab just like… If I’m in the mood for just like a coffee and some light… Like a light dessert or just even a little light eat, Blume Organics is wonderful. I thoroughly enjoy their blueberry cheesecake!

AB: Blueberry cheesecake, oh, that sounds delicious.

JB: Yeah, Crosstown Grille is a favorite of my husband and I’s as well. We love Curious Pig. Curious Pig, during COVID times, was doing these lunch specials that were really unique, like these really cool burgers, and it was so so neat to try… 

AB: You said it was a gastropub, right?

JB: Yeah, it’s a gastropub, correct. So it’s wonderful. You know, Grinds and Wines has got some wonderful salmon. So it’s just amazing to me, some of the stuff we have here and I have yet to eat at a bad restaurant.

AB: That’s awesome.

JB: In town, yeah.

AB: We talked earlier about the five different distinct villages that are in the area in the city, and when you go and visit a new place, you have to take home a souvenir, so talk with us about shopping when we come to Peachtree City.

JB: That is another big thing to do here, and I mean shopping is always fun right, we all love shopping, but shopping in a golf cart, even more fun.

AB: Even more fun.

JB: Even more fun. We have great places. The Avenue shopping center has just about everything that you’d want as far as your big names. They have your Williams-Sonoma, your Black House White Market, they have all these big names there that are all in one convenient location. You can eat, you can shop, you can get your nails done, you can grab coffee all in one area, and it’s right there on the pathway, and you have different areas that have places like Lizard Thicket (they’re a great place to shop at locally). One Magnolia is wonderful. So we have… And each of these little villages, they have these really neat little gems to shop at, and literally just about everywhere you turn, there is a place to go shopping.

AB: That sounds fun. And a lot of… 

JB: And, of course, if you’re looking for a… I’m sorry, say that again?

AB: Some small businesses too, though, are kind of incorporated with the large things.

JB: Yes! Yes, small business. And then if you are looking to get Peachtree City merchandise, here at the visitor center is where you’d get the official Peachtree City merchandise. We have T-shirts and bags and licence plates and golf cart signs. You name it, we got it.

AB: We need to come and visit you too, for sure.

JB: Absolutely! We are in a new visitor center. The new visitor center is actually located in the McIntosh Recreation Area, which has been great because now we’re right off the pathway, next door to the Fred and to the BMX Track. So, we get a lot of fun, people just coming in and realising that we’re here. So yeah, we’re here now.

AB: The BMX Track, that sounds really fun too.

JB: Yes, it’s… I love to go out on my lunch breaks and things like that and take a little walk and watch them ride their bikes. It’s really cool ‘cause they have everyone from adults riding there to these tiny, tiny kids on bikes.

AB: The little kiddies!

JB: Yeah, it’s wild to see.

AB: Speaking of, kind of adults and kids, is there any other fun, family-friendly activities that maybe I didn’t mention earlier you’d be willing to share with us?

JB: Yeah, so aside from things like the golf carts, and we have lots of wonderful parks here, beautiful parks that are… Yes, each little village has some, they’re spread out all over the place, the park system here is wonderful. But also the great thing about Peachtree City is that we are so close, like I was saying earlier, to the big Atlanta attractions, you know, the World of Coke and the aquarium and the zoo and the motor speedway. You’re only about 30 minutes from those things, and then we’re also about 10 minutes, or maybe a little bit less, from Senoia where The Walking Dead was filmed, which also has some cool little areas to check out. So, it’s really a great spot to stay and be safe and have a great hotel and access to all these great amenities, but also have access to these other areas that are very close by that you can spend the day and come back to Peachtree City.

AB: So fun! I’m so glad you mentioned that, that’s good to know. Well, we would be remiss also to not list some of Peachtree City’s highest accolades in the good talk that we’ve had about the city. Maybe you can share some of those accolades with us for our listeners as well.

JB: Absolutely. So super proud to say this, that Peachtree City was named one of the safest cities to live by SafeHome. Expedia in 2019 named us the number one city to visit, and then CNN and Money.com, we were listed as one of the best places to live. So, if all of those other things didn’t tell you lots about us, those accolades might, because this is absolutely a wonderful place, not only to visit, but live as well.

AB: Well, I’m sold. I wanna pack the kids up right now and head over and come visit with you, Joni, ’cause you’ve got me sold now, it sounds like a lot of fun in Peachtree City.

JB: It really is. It’s fun around every corner, literally.

AB: When did you say that you moved to Peachtree? 

JB: I actually moved here in March.

AB: Okay, yeah.

JB: Yeah, I’m still a newbie here.

AB: So you’re seeing it with fresh eyes, that’s great.

JB: Yeah, so I’m here with fresh eyes, and honestly, besides just the golf cart system and everything like that, that people know us for, the people here are wonderful, and it really resonates. The minute I got out the car and I started interacting with businesses and things like that, it really made it hit home for me that this was a place that I wanted to be. It’s absolutely wonderful.

AB: That’s great, I love to hear about that southern hospitality. That’s a good thing.

JB: All over the place. All over the place.

AB: Joni, as we wrap things up, and our listeners are so excited to plan a trip to visit with you in Peachtree City, where is the best place that they can go beforehand to really map out their trip? 

JB: Well, of course, if you go to our website, which is visitpeachtreecity.com, that’s gonna have literally every morsel of things that you need to plan, and in fact they have an itinerary tool, if you kinda wanna piece something together. You can check out the events calendar, things should be ramping back up for next year, so if you’re looking to visit us in 2021, absolutely, keep an eye on that events calendar, ’cause Peachtree City is known for some really neat events and concerts. And everything you need is on there and on our Facebook at Visit Peachtree City or Instagram.

AB: Awesome, wonderful. Good places to know. Well, Joni thank you so much for your time and your insight today, just sharing all the wonderful things that Peachtree City, Georgia has to offer. We really appreciate it.

JB: No, problem. Thank you, Anna, for having us, and we hope to see you soon.

AB: Yes, I know it. Kids, get ready, we’re going.

JB: We’ll have a golf cart waiting for you.

AB: Alright, thank you. Well, guys, we really hope you enjoyed this episode of Main and Mulberry. Until next time, I’m Anna Bell.

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