Road Trip - TV & Movies

I just spent a week driving from Savannah, GA to Wilmington, NC with my friend Carrie and despite the deep freeze that part of the country was in, I had such a good time. I'll get to everything we saw in future posts, but for now I want to focus on the stuff I geeked out about: TV and movie locations. I knew One Tree Hill and Dawson's Creek were filmed in Wilmington, and that was enough to make me want to visit. Not because I loved those shows exactly, but because the city was so beautiful. I can't believe how totally clueless I was about all the other movies and shows that were filmed there. It's known as Wilmywood, the Hollywood of the east, and has been the setting for over 400 projects, like Firestarter, Iron Man 3, Safe Haven, We're The Millers, The Conjuring, Tammy, Sleeping with the Enemy, A Walk To Remember, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Crow.

I was so excited to find out before my trip that my favorite movie was also filmed in Wilmington! Empire Records used the outside of a bar on Front Street for exterior shots of the record store. The building went through a makeover, adding tons of lights and a balcony. You know, the spot where Gina makes her singing debut as they all try to save the Empire. Here is a cool picture of the construction.

They also used a house on Forest Hills Drive in a super short scene where Corey
walks out with her Rex Manning Day cupcakes to get a ride to work from Gina. 

As far as TV goes, One Tree Hill and Dawson's Creek seemed to make this small town famous. The pilots of Hart of Dixie, Witches of East End, and Revenge were also shot there, though they chose to move to production to Hollywood after they were picked up. Currently Secrets & Lies, Under The Dome, and Sleepy Hollow are filmed in Wilmington. There are studio tours, downtown walking tours, and trolley tours, but none of them were running in the off-season. I had a little list of places to check out and Carrie happily drove me around town.

I have a love/hate relationship with One Tree Hill. I binge-watched it when I was pregnant with Nolan. I loved everything about Brooke Davis and my girl crush on Sophia Bush began then. I also loved Lucas, Mouth, Skills, and Rachel. But I really couldn't care less about anyone else, and I flat out hated beloved characters like Haley, Karen, and Peyton. The show lost me in the final seasons with the time jump and the addition of Jamie, Clay, Quinn, Millie, Alex, and Chase. Snore. But I was hooked and finished out the series, so I was excited to see some locations in town. We drove across the 6th Street Bridge, seen in the opening credits and in a few episodes. It's also been used on Under The Dome and Revolution.

We strolled down Riverwalk and saw where Haley and Nathan shared a few romantic moments.

We wandered around the location of Karen's Cafe and Clothes Over Bros.
It was used for filming for 14 years, but is now the home of Outdoor Equipped. 

We stopped by Lucas's house, which is currently for sale.

We cruised by B. Davis's gigantic family home.
We oohed and aahed at all the huge houses in this neighborhood.

And we quickly snapped a picture of Peyton's house because the residents were outside.
For an awesome read, check out this GQ article, written by the man who let them film in his/Payton's house.

Of course our tour of Tree Hill wouldn't be complete without a stop at River Court. Sadly, it doesn't exist anymore. The makeshift basketball court was used for nine years in all but one episode, but it was demolished shortly after the series finale. 

I loved the first season of Dawson's Creek and tolerated a few more, but it was never something I had to watch. That's partly because I was too old (I was a freshman in college) and mostly because it was annoying. But I loooved Pacey (he reminded me a little of my boyfriend at the time), I loved Joey, and really loved them together, so I stuck it out until they graduated from high school. I was still excited to check out some locations while we were there. Unfortunately, the houses are in really secluded spots on different creeks and the owners don't embrace crazy fans. We did walk through UNCW to see Alderman Hall, which was the setting for Capeside High.

We saw the building they used for Leery's Fresh Fish.

We drove by and snapped a picture of Hell's Kitchen, where Joey worked while in college. She "sang" there a few times too. The producers wanted to use a gritty bar location so often that they decided to buy a building and turn it into a bar. The new owners have kept things exactly the same and even have DC memorabilia on the walls.

We hung out on Wrightsville Beach where various scenes took place in both shows and spent some time on and under Crystal Pier where the opening credits to the second season of Dawson's Creek were filmed. Rex Manning's Say No More, Mon Amour video from Empire Records was also filmed on this beach.

Savannah, Georgia is also a pretty popular place to film. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is the movie locals love to talk about and one I apparently need to see ASAP. Others are Gator, Glory, Something To Talk About, The General's Daughter, Forces of Nature, and Magic Mike XXL. There are movie tours in this town too, but not in the winter. Boo. Our trolley tour guide was awesome about pointing stuff out though.

The movie we were most excited about was Forrest Gump. The opening scene took place in Chippewa Square. If you don't recall, a feather comes down from the sky, floats past the steeple of a church, and lands at the base of a park bench where Tom Hanks sits. The bench was built for the movie and was moved to the Savannah History Museum after filming.

The Last Song was filmed in Savannah too, though I had no idea before I got there. When I started planning this trip, I couldn't wait to Oak Avenue at Wormsloe Historic Site. The one and a half mile entrance to the plantation is lined with over 400 live oaks draped in Spanish moss. Our guide told us that in the movie, Ronnie (Miley Cyrus) and Will (Liam Hemsworth) cruise down this road used as the driveway to his family's estate. 

There are many more locations to see and tours to take, but this is all we could squeeze in. Carrie isn't a movie or TV person so I didn't want to bore her with more stops. I seriously want to go back to visit Screen Gems Studios


SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

You should definitely see Midight in the Garden of Good & Evil. It's been a long time since I've seen it but I recall liking it a lot.

I was so excited to see the Dawson's pier on your IG.

Cool tour. I've never been to either place. Savannah is on my list.

Misty, Handbags + Handguns said...

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is SO GOOD. You must see it! Kevin Spacey is amazing in it.

I never watched Dawson's Creek or One Tree Hill.

Karen M. Peterson said...

The River Court is gone??? That's so sad!!! I loved One Tree Hill. Probably much more than I should have, given that I was slightly outside the show's target demographic.

Kelly @ turned UP to ELEVEN! said...

SO awesome!! I am so sad about the River Court too! I would have never found the right "angle" for a photo without it so kudos to you and your guide!!!

I forgot that Sleeping with the Enemy was filmed there otherwise I would have mentioned it.

Little Monsters with Fred Savage was filmed there too... lots of odds n' ends. SUCH an awesome city.

Thanks for all of this! I love it!

Jana @ Jana Says said...

This was such a cool tour, even if I've never watched any of those shows. Empire Records is one of my favorites, though. And Savannah is on my list of places to go.

Allison said...

I LOVED all your Insta posts about your traveling around - so perfect! Seeing all the big pictures and how you correlate it all with the images form the shows and movies is AWESOME.
Seriously, what a fun tour to go on! I loveeee Dawson's Creek (no past tense, still love it and will ALWAYS love Pacey). I watched a shit ton of OTH in college, but gave up with the time hop and never really got back into it (maybe some day, there's always Netflix). Seriously lady, I LOVE this post and am always amazed with how creative you are in your posts :)

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I feel like I need to see One Tree Hill. I never even watched Dawson's Creek until about five years after it went off air (and I binge-watched it for a few months). So cool to see the places outside of the sets. I need to do that more in LA. Apparantly I lived walking distance from the house from Friday the 13th!

I need to add another trip to the queue for spring. Maybe I should look into this exact trip. I'll have to get info from you :)

Jodi said...

I LOVE this post. So much fun! Who needs the tour when they have you! Haha! I have been to Wilmington while in college to go to the beach but never saw any of the tv show stuff!