Recently, Expedia.com, the well-known travel website, released its annual ranking of cities in the United States that travelers must put on their to-visit lists. It’s not surprising that places such as Philadelphia, San Diego, and New York City were included as essential towns to see in 2019. Many people, however, expressed a degree of surprise (perhaps disbelief even) when our very own Peachtree City was included on the list. Well, I shouldn’t say included exactly. Peachtree City was, in fact, the number one destination. The top city to see out of all American cities. Out of every major cultural hub in the nation. The number one pick.
Why shouldn’t this be the case? I mean, there are some obvious glaring omissions from the list such as Enterprise, Mississippi with its delicious catfish restaurant, or Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of journalist Margaret Carlson and some other cool stuff, but as compared with its fellow nominees, Peachtree City stacks up great.
Number two on the list is New York City. They have the Statue of Liberty, sure, but PTC has the Manatee Mailbox, which we didn’t even have to have given to us by France. Three words: Locally Sourced Statuary.
Philadelphia is on the list. And while they have an old, cracked bell and some life-size bronzes of the Founding Fathers engaged in a tableau of the nation’s creation, PTC has its own bronze busts of Floy Farr and Joel Cowan out in front of the library (or ARE they there?). Everyone visiting PTC will surely be interested to view these in person, as common touchstones of our national history.
St. Louis, Missouri, number 15 on the Expedia list, has the famed Gateway Arch, rising 630 feet and commemorating the Louisiana Purchase and opening out upon the vast American West. But PTC has the intersection of highways 54 and 74, which represents the entrance to the wild lands of Coweta County to the west. Take time to linger at this monument to traffic congestion, whether you want to or not.
Chicago made the list, well below PTC. And no wonder, for how can one compare the art collection of the Chicago Institute of Art with the lobby of the PTC branch of the Flint River Library, which often displays pieces of its collection of Picassos, El Grecos, and Warhols. Well, one of them does anyway. I forget which.
Anchorage, Alaska came in at 19 on the list, due mostly to its proximity to some of the most stunning natural vistas on earth. But then there is our fair city of peach trees, which bests that distinction with uh…. piney woods in red clay? Probably. Glaciers suck. They do.
San Diego (on the list) has spectacular Balboa Park. But that spectacularness is quickly diffused when one gazes upon the weedy, dry bed of Lake Peachtree. “Is it half full or half empty?” you may ask, depending on your outlook.
There are some smaller towns on the list. Not all are huge metropolises. You’ve got your Tusayan, Arizona, which may be an “eyebrow raiser” until you realize it sits next to the Grand Canyon. Excuse me, ever heard of Line Creek? Talk about rock formations. Peachtree City to the top!
There’s Anaheim, California, only included because of Disneyland. Well, just the mere floating of the prospect of us hosting the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park a couple years back (and the subsequent freak-out) was enough to send PTC hurtling towards the number one spot. Who needs la Mouse when you’ve got Lagrange?
Williamsburg, Virginia has a downtown area that represents 400 years of American history, with reenactments and simulacrums that transport the visitor to an earlier age. But, even better, PTC has golf carts which will transport you from the Kroger to the Publix, in case one doesn’t have what you need. And you won’t have to get mired in all that downtown mess. Because there isn’t a downtown. Woolsey’s downtown is bigger.
That reminds me, I feel a little sorry for some of PTC’s neighbors. One thing Expedia pointed out was its nearness to Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Tyrone is actually closer. So how come they didn’t even get an honorable mention?
Expedia also pointed to PTC’s film industry ties. What about nearby Fayetteville with Pinewood Studios or Senoia in all of its infamous zombiedom? Oh right, Sweet Home Alabama starring Reese Witherspoon. I forgot. So recent.
Even poor Atlanta. Always the red-headed stepchild when it comes to PTC. I mean, who’d opt to eat at Gunshow or Bacchanalia or Antico when, as Expedia points out, any corporate chain BBQ joint will do. And who wants to see U2 or Bon Jovi in Atlanta when you might be able to see a U2 or Bon Jovi tribute band at some point in PTC? Well, that’s not totally fair. The real Don McLean came here last year and he sang the song…whoops, that was Fayetteville..
Enough kidding. Peachtree City is a great place to live, to raise kids, go to church, school…whatever. There’s a nice community atmosphere and people are rightfully proud of their home. But it certainly doesn’t belong on a list of the top places to see in the United States, much less come in at number one on that list.
It’s actually embarrassing. Imagine folks from all over flocking here to see what’s up and then the crestfallen looks as we show them the indoor pool at the hotel. (Yes, Expedia referenced this.)
Strangely, it makes us seem like less than we are, not more. If you tell a kid he’s getting the greatest gift ever and then he unwraps a pair of socks, he’s going to be disappointed, and you are going to feel like you’ve built it up too much. Awkward. I mean, socks are valuable and warm, but they aren’t Madison Square Garden.
Who owns Expedia? For a minute I figured it must be Dan Cathy, but then I thought better of it when I remembered there aren’t any half-wit farm animals begging for their lives in any of their ads.
Did Mayor Fleisch promise Lily Rogers, of Expedia, her firstborn child? Did Miss Rogers actually even visit Peachtree City or did she just Skype with the Boosters Club? We may never know the answers to these questions, but there is one thing we need to take away from this humiliating experience:
At no point should Peachtree City or the Chamber of Commerce or whatever other entity take it upon themselves to use this topmost ranking on the Expedia list for any promotional purpose to highlight the genuinely beautiful town of Peachtree City, Georgia. It would be disingenuous and shameful. We don’t need it. We are good enough without it. And, I suspect, we already knew that.
Christopher Fairchild is the editor of Panacea magazine and Welcome to Fayette magazine, and works as a photographer and graphic designer for Fayette Newspapers.