Covington, Georgia is a small town situated about thirty-five miles outside of Atlanta. Dubbed the Hollywood of the South, it’s easy to see why with as little as one visit. Once the locale for Dukes of Hazzard, Covington has grown and hosted many film crews over the years with The Vampire Diaries being the most recent. Georgia is rich with filming locations in general but in my opinion, nothing beats the small town charm of Covington.
I’ve always been fascinated by the South and when I discovered The Vampire Diaries in March of 2017, the backdrop caught my attention. Mystic Falls, as it’s called on the show and in the books, is a small town where everybody knows everybody. Oddly enough, you feel like you’ve stepped right into the fictitious town as soon as you turn into the square. Everything that is seen on screen is exactly how it truly is, and I learned while visiting that this was a conscious decision.
The first thing that might catch your eye is the Mystic Grill. While the inside layout is slightly different (there was no internal filming done in the actual Grill), the outside remains the same. Neon lights in the window boast ‘pool’ but sadly, there are no pool tables or darts. There is, however, a bar with plenty of bourbon to choose from and vampire inspired drinks. I recommend the ‘Vampire Bite’ if you’re there for the whole fan experience. There is also a bar stool with a gold plate for our dear departed friend, Alaric Saltzman. Overall, the Mystic Grill was one of my favorite spots in the square and the food is really good!
Right next to the Grill is the clock tower, possibly one of the most iconic sights to see in the entire town. Admittedly, I was awe struck when seeing it for the first time because aside from everything, it’s beautiful. It sits atop what used to be the courthouse. Built in 1884, the building is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. The tower houses a working bell that rings on the hour and it was used for internal filming as far as The Vampire Diaries is concerned. Sheriff Forbes office is located up the front steps to the right. The actors were harnessed and put on the ledge for external clocks scenes. It’s definitely top of the list of things to see when in town. Although, it would be hard to miss.
What surprised me the most about Covington, was the food. I ate somewhere different for every meal and if you can’t choose there is always friendly faces milling about in the square who will absolutely stop and give you recommendations. Based on my own personal experience, I highly recommend Bradley’s BBQ. Not only is the owner extremely friendly, but the food is very good. I had a BBQ sandwich, which they ‘vamped’ for me at no extra charge. After Bradley’s you can walk a few steps right up the street and get ice cream at Scoop’s. If you’re there for the Vampire Diaries experience, each cast member has their own special but they aren’t listed so you’ll have to ask. The ladies at the Vampire Stalkers are always willing to help and have plenty of information should you need any.
I spent two whole days exploring the town and the surrounding areas and I wasn’t disappointed once. The Vampire Stalkers tour was a lot of fun and it was nice to hear behind the scenes stories. All of the exterior shots on houses are actual homes and we were able to see most of them within a two day period. The best location was Worthington Manor, which is Lockwood Mansion on the show. It’s a ten million dollar property comprised of four separate properties purchased over time. The homeowners were very welcoming. The resident cat, Mr. George Lockwood was also happy to entertain our small group of people. It was a surreal experience to stand in the yard and recall all of the scenes shot in that location. I highly recommend the tour just for seeing Worthington Manor alone.
Covington holds a magical quality that is hard to find. There was always a friendly, smiling face wherever I went and you could feel the sense of pride that the residents have in their town. It’s a close knit community. These things are hard to come by and for that reason, I fell in love with Covington, Georgia. I went because of curiosity, because of a show that put a little joy back in my life, and left a piece of me behind. I’ve already planned my next trip.