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Hey everyone! I recently spent a weekend in Atlanta visiting some family and finally doing my MUCH anticipated Vampire Diaries tour! If you know me, you know that TVD has been the highlight of my 2020, so I was very excited to do the tour after finishing season 8 (*cries*) just a few days prior. If you’ve never heard of Vampire Diaries (~leave~), let me explain!
It’s a supernatural drama series that aired on the CW back in 2009 and wrapped up in 2017. It’s now on Netflix (thank god). The show is about a group of high school students who get involved with two vampire brothers, Stefan and Damon, and later become intertwined with the supernatural world as more vampires, witches, wolves, heretics, and others gradually take over the small, southern town of Mystic Falls. Mystic Falls is a make-believe town in Virginia that’s based on the real-life town of Covington, Georgia. Covington is located an hour outside of Atlanta. Now that you’re caught up, let’s hop into the details of my weekend in Atlanta!
Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by Been There Done That. They gifted me one of their CITYLOGUES, which I’ll be discussing in detail toward the end of this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.
A Weekend In Atlanta: Visiting Mystic Falls
On Thursday, November 12 I flew 2.5 hours down to Atlanta, Georgia! My first stop was Covington, aka Mystic Falls! I booked a 2 pm tour and had a few hours to kill in the town. I was dropped off in the town square, the show’s most popular filming location, and after I was done *freaking out*, I took myself out to lunch at the Mystic Grill!
The Mystic Grill
The Mystic Grill is a popular hangout spot in the Vampire Diaries and was a much-needed stop during my weekend in Atlanta. Filming only took place outside of the Mystic Grill, as all interior scenes were shot at a sound stage. I didn’t realize this until I walked into the restaurant and didn’t recognize it, but it’s still cool! And the food was incredible. After I ate, I was told to explore the rooftop to get a good view of the town’s clocktower and to see some of the menus that were signed by the cast. Definitely do this if you visit!
The Vampire Stalkers Tour
After lunch I made my way to the Covington Visitors Center for the Vampire Stalkers tour. If you love the Vampire Diaries as much as I do, you NEED to do this tour. It’s the only tour in town that brings you to all of the major filming locations, including exclusive access to the Lockwood Mansion! The founder of Vampire Stalkers, Jess, has met several of the cast members and even works for the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. You can ask her anything!
Our tour kicked off in a park in Covington that was used for several scenes throughout the 8 seasons, including many scenes that took place at Whitemore College, the cemetery, and best of all, the famous Delena rain kiss!!! Next up were visits to Elena and Caroline’s homes!
Fun fact: They are actually right next to each other. You’d never know that in the show, but they’re neighbors! The homes were also only used for exterior filming, but so many iconic scenes were shot here…
Like when Damon and Elena kissed for the first time on her porch, but it was really Katherine. If you know you know.
Visiting The Lockwood Mansion
After we got photos here, we made our way to the Lockwood Mansion! This was my favorite part of the tour because we had exclusive access to the mansion and could explore the grounds! We walked through the barn where the cast often hungout, walked through the backyard where SOOO many iconic party scenes were filmed, including the second Miss Mystic Falls, the Masquerade ball, and the June Wedding *cries*. Seeing this with my own eyes was… iconic (to say the least). We also checked out the front and learned several fun facts about the show, including that the cast members never actually drank while filming. The brothers are always shown drinking bourbon, but it was actually just tea. The blood bags were a gross mix of cornstarch, water, and red food coloring.
Fun fact: Paul and Ian now have their own bourbon line called Brother’s Bond. How cute.
From here we retuned to the town square where we found out the clocktower’s bell was actually used when filming (season 8) and that Ian (Damon) was actually suspended from the clocktower when he was looking down at the destruction of Mystic Falls at the end of season 6.
The Stars & Gift Shop
At the end of the tour, we checked out the various stars throughout the town (Covington is known as the Hollywood of the South), the alleyway near the Mystic Grill (you know, the one where everyone dies), and the gift shop! The gift shop was super cool because it had several props on display, including the actual safe that Stefan was locked in (that was such a bad summer for him), the boy’s daylight rings, and outfits worn by the actors!
So that’s my day in Mystic Falls! For all those wondering, I DID do this alone. I love doing tours alone and found some other solo travelers who were as obsessed with the show as I was. If you’re a fan I couldn’t recommend this tour more! I actually finished season 8 the night before the tour, so everything was fresh… including my emotions.
After my tour I made my way to Atlanta to see my family! Let’s get into that!
A Weekend In Atlanta: Exploring The City
I’ve been to Georgia several times because my uncle, aunt, and cousins live there! Growing up, we’ve done the iconic Georgia Aquarium together (they have dolphins), and the World of Coca-Cola, two of Atlanta’s most famous attractions.
Pro-tip: Aside from these top two recommendations, also be sure to set aside some time to check out the Museum of Illusions in Atlanta!
This time around, I wanted to explore new parts of the city. On Friday morning, my aunt and I walked around Piedmont Park! This park is a huge city park with great views of downtown ATL. It’s also where Music Midtown takes place each fall! We got lunch in the nearby area of Virgina Highland afterwards. For dinner, my family took me out for some classic southern BBQ, a must when spending a weekend in Atlanta!
Sweetwater Creek & Ponce City Market
On Saturday, we got up and explored Sweetwater Creek! There’s an abandoned paper mill here and many scenic hiking trails.
For my last night in town, my family took me to Ponce City Market! This is my number one recommendation for a weekend in Atlanta, aside from seeing the dolphins in the aquarium of course! Ponce City Market is a giant, indoor/outdoor food market with shops and a unique rooftop. You can find any kind of food you want here! We got Chinese, but there was also Cuban, Japanese, American, Italian, French, and more! The BeltLine, a former railway corridor around downtown Atlanta, connects to Ponce City Market.
Above all, the roof is the BEST part of this place! There’s mini golf, arcade games, a bar overlooking Midtown, and even an ice skating rink during the winter months! It’s 21+ after 5 pm on the weekends.
To sum up, I had such a good weekend in Atlanta visiting my family and was so glad to finally visit Mystic Falls! Binging all 8 seasons of the Vampire Diaries has been the epitome of my quarentine, so this tour was a 2020 highlight for sure.
Been There Done That
Now let’s wrap up with the sponsor of today’s post, Been There Done That!
Been There Done That is a series of interactive posters designed to inspire you to reignite your passion. Their products are part bucket list, part journal, and a part of your life. Their posters feature authentic “100 Best” lists, curated based on reviews and ratings. Not only are the posters fun to scratch off, they have stunning artwork underneath, motivating you want to scratch of all 100. Whether it’s reading 100 books, visiting 100 cities, or watching 100 movies, Been There Done That helps you take your passion from 0 to 100.
I was fortunate to receive the CITYLOGUES Poster, a 100 incredible cities bucket list scratch poster, from Been There Done That. It’s been so fun to reflect on past travels during this time and to look forward to adventures to come! If you’re interested in purchasing a scratch poster for yourself or a loved one, check out Been There Done That!
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