Visit the Real Town Behind The Vampire Diaries' Mystic Falls
Explore the haunts of your favorite TV vampires in Covington, Georgia.
"The Vampire Diaries" is a supernatural drama television series that is based on the book series of the same name. It first aired in 2009, telling of the small-town life of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), a recently orphaned teenage girl. Set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Va., she soon meets and falls in love with Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) and his brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder), both vampires. Covington, Ga., has served as the show’s primary filming location since the first season.
Stop for a bite at the restaurant inspired by one of the settings from the television show. Mystic Grill was opened by locals to bring together the tourism from the show’s success and the products put forth by local farmers. The menu incorporates as many seasonal ingredients as possible in favorite dishes like their Mystic Burgers, steaks, and Springer Mountain grilled chicken. The setting is just as unique as the food as the restaurant is located inside a historic bank building. Grab a seat on their rooftop, which overlooks historic Covington Square, as the sun sets or enjoy live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Mystic Grill t-shirts are a popular souvenir for fans, which you can purchase at The Alley, their gift shop located under the restaurant.
In need of a sweet treat? Look no further than local ice cream shop Scoops. After opening their first shop in nearby Madison, Susan and Jim Kirk opened the Covington location, which also serves fudge and coffee. Some of their offbeat flavors include Butterfinger Swirl, Pink Cotton Candy and Yellow Cake Batter. But star Ian Somerhalder, who plays Damon, frequents Scoops in search of their banana pudding flavor. Special diets can also find something, including sorbet, sherbert and low-sugar varieties.
The Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast
Travelers in search of Southern hospitality should look no further than Covington’s Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast, an 1836 antebellum mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s been said that the home was one of the inspirations for Ashley’s home in "Gone With the Wind," and more than 90 television and film projects have been filmed here, including "The Vampire Diaries." Some of the cast and crew have also been known to stay here. Among the amenities are spa tubs, fine Turkish linens and home-cooked breakfast daily.
Mystic Falls Tours
Run by Vampire Stalkers, Mystic Falls Tours are run for fans, by fans. Guests are given unrivaled access to the filming locations of "The Vampire Diaries" from the first season to the final season. Lockwood Mansion has been used on the show countless times, and this is the only tour allowed into the home where notable scenes like the masquerade ball took place. Also included are the house used as the Gilbert House and the Mystic Falls Courthouse. They work directly with the cast and crew to provide factual information from behind the scenes. The company also runs tours that focus on the spin-off show "The Originals."
The small town vibes of Covington have been used as a backdrop in countless television and film projects over the last few decades, including memorable ones like "In the Heat of the Night," "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "My Cousin Vinny." But, of course, it’s "The Vampire Diaries" that the town is now most well-known for as it has been home to the production since 2009. When the film crews aren’t in town, visitors can enjoy browsing the shops of the historic downtown, dining at the restaurants, or even splurging on an afternoon at the luxury day spa.
On Location Gifts
Also run by Vampire Stalkers, this is the place to pick up your fan memorabilia. On Location Gifts is located across the street from the historic courthouse, which has also been used in the hit show. Among the items for sale are “fangtastic” t-shirts, life-sized cardboard cutouts of your favorite characters, and even autographed merchandise that benefits the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.