Restaurants, events, museums, and shopping near FMCA’s 99th International Convention and RV Expo.
By Peggy Jordan, Associate Editor
Location, location, location. It’s a big factor when figuring a property’s value, and it helps explain why Perry, Georgia, is super valuable. Situated along Interstate 75 in the center of the state, the city is home to the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter, where the state fair is held each year.
It’s also where FMCA has held 10 international conventions since 1996. And where the association’s 99th International Convention and RV Expo, dubbed “Peachy In Perry,” will take place March 13 through 16, 2019.
FMCA has set a standard for putting on fantastic conventions. RVers can explore new RV exhibits and RV-related items for sale; attend seminars and craft-making sessions; take in live entertainment; and, best of all, make new friends who share the RV lifestyle. (Turn to page 62 in this issue to read about the entertainment lineup that has been scheduled for the convention.)
When it’s time to check out the town and beyond, the following information should acquaint you with what awaits.
Perry (population 16,000) has a cute downtown, with shops and boutiques lining its streets. A popular new store is Mossy Creek Natural (915 Carroll St.), which has locally made bath and body products. The wares include deliciously scented soap in bar and in liquid form; skincare and makeup items; bohemian-style clothing; and jewelry.
Two events will take place in downtown Perry Saturday, March 16, the final day of the FMCA convention. First is the 9:00 a.m. opening of the Perry Farmers’ Market, full of locally made items, fresh eggs, and produce. Another is the first-ever Mustache and BBQ Bash, which will include delicious local foods.
Restaurants in Perry offer Southern-style comfort foods, barbecue and burgers, pizza and sandwiches, and Italian and Mexican fare. Many food franchises also are represented in town.
Foods new to the Perry landscape are at Stripling’s General Store, whose motto is “You never sausage a place.” Stripling’s started as a sausage shop in the town of Cordele in 1964. The Perry location, part store and part restaurant, is the family’s fourth.
Stripling’s is famous for Brunswick stew; flavorful beef jerky, sold in more than 300 retail locations around the United States; aged steaks; bacon; ribs; and, of course, sausage. At the store you also can choose from down-home sauces, seasonings, and meat rubs, plus mason-jar-style containers filled with pickled side veggies; jams; and jellies. Even fruit cobbler is sold in a jar, ready to be spooned out as you wish.
The restaurant inside Stripling’s has a variety of hot and fresh items to choose from daily, so fill up a plate. You’ll likely need nourishment while you try to decide what to buy. Stripling’s is at 301 Agricultural Village Blvd.
Local lore and items from long ago, such as toys, books, and even medical equipment, are carefully stored at the Perry Area Historical Society Museum. The collection is open Tuesday through Thursday, and by appointment.
Perry has three golf courses, and several more can be found in the nearby Warner Robins area. Perry public parks welcome family activities; the biggest one, Rozar Park, offers an 18-hole disc golf course, picnic pavilions, and fishing ponds.
Fishing is emphasized even more at the Go Fish Education Center, located near the south entrance of the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter. It’s close enough to FMCA activities to walk to; admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors (65 or older), and $5 for children 3 to 12. You can examine aquariums full of fish and other aquatic critters, and try out a shooting gallery and a fishing simulator. Fishing poles and bait are available at the museum (free to use) so you can try your luck at the catch-and-release pond outside.
Canines and their people love to visit dog parks, and one such place is next to the Perry Area Convention & Visitors Bureau building. It’s right across the street from the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter. Even if you don’t travel with a furry friend, head to this visitors center for info, because the above is just a taste of what you can do and see in town. FMCA also will have a fenced-in dog park on the fairgrounds for attendees’ pups.
Warner Robins: Admission and parking are free at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins. The impressive collection has many planes from World War II and Vietnam, plus an assortment of related items. The museum is also home to the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame. Plan to spend several hours here; it’s open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Also free in Warner Robins are the intriguing nods to history along Depot Row. They include a 1944 train depot now called the E.L. Greenway Welcome Center, which features a 1971 Southern Railroad caboose with an exhibit inside. The beautifully restored Elberta Depot Heritage Center, opened in March 2018, has historical displays inside, too. Depot Row is located at 99 Armed Forces Blvd. Warner Robins is approximately 14 miles (23 minutes) northeast of Perry.
Macon, right up Interstate 75, invites you to “Eat, Drink, And Be Cherry!” at its annual International Cherry Blossom Festival. The fest runs March 22 through 31, 2019. Parades, fireworks, live music, and vendor and craft booths all are part of the fun. An amazing 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees line the streets in these parts!
While you’re in Macon, consider touring the Allman Brothers Band Museum, which honors the popular Southern rock group. Macon is 30 miles (32 minutes) north of Perry.
Fort Valley is home to Massee Lane Gardens, where you can walk the beautiful trails to see any remaining spring-blooming camellias. And inside, a lovely porcelain figurine collection awaits. It’s open Tuesday through Sunday; admission is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors 55 and over.
Peaches and pecans grow very well around here, too, as evidenced at Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley. Get a piece of peach cobbler there at Peachtree Café & Bakery, which is open daily year-round. Explore the Lane Farm & Market Shop for tempting pies, candies, breads, jellies, syrups, and much more — even cider made from peaches, grapes, apples, and strawberries. Fort Valley is 12 miles (19 minutes) northwest of Perry.
Before you arrive in central Georgia, be sure to do some research online or by phone to find out what else can be explored. You don’t want to miss out. As you expand your search even farther from Perry, the number of must-see stops increases exponentially. It’s going to be a peachy time, that’s for sure!
Perry Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Georgia Roads and Travel
(highway construction, traffic info, weather alerts, and more)
The following may not be a complete list, so check your campground directory or the RV Marketplace, found at FMCA.com and in the January issue of Family RVing, for additional listings.
Boland’s Perry Overnight Park
800 Perimeter Road
Perry, GA 31069
Crossroads Travel Park
1513 Sam Nunn Blvd.
Perry, GA 31069
Fair Harbor RV Park
515 Marshallville Road
Perry, GA 31069
Perry Ponderosa Park
13841 State Route 96 E.
Fort Valley, GA 31030
Twin Oaks RV Park, C6864
305 State Route 26 E.
Elko, GA 31025
Volunteer And Have Fun
FMCA conventions would not be possible without the assistance of hundreds of volunteers. You may sign up to volunteer as an individual or with an FMCA chapter; either way, it’s a great way to meet new friends. Volunteers are needed in many areas, including seminars, security, parking, trams, Information Center, and more. If you’re interested in exploring volunteer possibilities in Perry, visit the Events/Information Central page at FMCA.com and click the “Volunteers” icon, or contact the FMCA Events Department (firstname.lastname@example.org; 800-543-3622, 513-474-3622).