By Emily Beckett
When Shade and Lucille Dorminey opened Peach Queen Campground in 1974, they were sure of two things: what their mission would be and what they would incorporate in the campground’s name.
The couple’s mission was to re-create for people the friendly atmosphere they had encountered at campsites they visited in their own cross-country travels, and with Chilton County’s emphasis on peaches, they knew the fruit should play a role in the name of their campground, located just off Interstate 65 Exit 219 in Jemison.
“When we named the campground, we wanted to do something with peaches,” Lucille Dorminey said. “It has really been a good trademark.”
Lucille, originally from Connecticut, met Shade while he was in the United States Navy.
The two married in 1948, and when they ventured south for their honeymoon, Lucille said they learned a popular catchphrase for Chilton’s chief fruit that made their search for a localized business name easier.
“All I heard was, ‘Chilton County peaches are tops,’” she said. “That was their slogan.”
Choosing the location for their campground was also an easy task for the couple.
Shade’s family has owned the land, originally a working farm, since 1852.
Shade and Lucille are the fourth-generation owners of the property. Their son, Donn Dorminey, and his wife, Linda, help operate the campground when they can.
“This has always been a working property,” Lucille said. “His (Shade’s) great-grandfather settled here in 1852.”
The campground is situated next to a seven-acre lake inside the Jemison city limits and features 54 full hook-up RV sites, 18 tent sites, a swimming pool, heated restrooms and showers, coin-operated laundry facilities and a pet area.
In the weeks Lucille and her husband spent traveling from New England to the Western states in their 13-foot travel trailer while Shade was on leave, the campgrounds they were able to find were filled with converted school buses, Greyhound buses or sometimes pop-up trailers.
“When we first started, there was no such thing as a motor home,” Lucille said. “We have seen the campground industry grow from 20-foot trailers to about 40 feet. It’s a different way of living. Everything they need is in their unit.”
The couple has seen their fair share of changes in camping, but the one thing they hope will stay the same – the thing that fueled their opening Peach Queen Campground in the first place – is the camaraderie shared by campers at the site.
Even the motto for the campground, “Camping is fun,” is modeled to reflect the sense of friendship Lucille and Shade set out to establish years ago after their experiences.
“We just found out how much fun it was to go (to a campground),” she said. “At a hotel, you just shut the door. Campers socialize.”
Rates at Peach Queen Campground are $10 per night for motorcyclists to park and camp, $20 for pop-up trailers, $25 for travel trailers and $30 for RVs.
For more information or to make reservations, call (855) 240-0669 or visit www.peachqueencampground.com.
“It’s a nice business,” Lucille said. “We now have second- and third-generation (customers) coming. The campers are all friendly.”