Welcome to Mystical Falls, Virginia. It’s a quaint gem of a town, nestled somewhere in the hills of Virginia (we think). It’s full of large families who can trace their heritage back to the town’s founding in 1860. The Lockwood’s, the Fell’s, the Forbes’, the Gilbert’s and of course the Salvatore’s have all made their mark on this town. Perhaps the last mentioned family has made the biggest splash. Stefan Salvatore’s return to town was meant to be a new beginning, a chance at a normal life with a young woman who represented both secrets of the past and hopes for the future. This journey, however, was destined for derailment as soon as Stefan’s brother, Damon showed up. Stefan tried his best to convince Damon that Mystic Falls was a boring little town with nothing to do, but of course we know Damon didn’t heed those warnings because he wanted to make Stefan’s life a living hell—he really wasn’t all that concerned about Mystic Falls being void of fun.
So, yes, Mystic Falls is a little small, but it’s not at all close to being boring. For one, there is Miss Mystic Falls, an event splashed with colorful dresses, grand entrances and historically accurate dances that would make even Jane Austin take notice. Oh, and then there is the Founder’s Day parade full of floats and opulent wardrobes that transport you back in time. The Town Square is always abuzz with commerce and camaraderie, whether buying prom dresses or meeting for coffee. There are the gala events at the Lockwood (now Donovan) Mansion, the parties at the old Salvatore Boarding House, the ballroom style soirees with the Original vampires, and of course the decade dances at MFHS.
On the flip side of all this grandeur and fun is the fact that Mystic Falls has the highest
animal vampire attack mortality rate in the country world. Local newscasters and mayors alike have fallen prey to drownings, fires, falling off catwalks, stabbings or ending up as lunch for a hungry vampire. Vampires alike may find themselves with a stake to the heart or a missing head and quick trip to The Other Side or Hell (RIP Katherine Pierce… you’re too good for TOS)! People also have a way of disappearing. Do you ever wonder what happened to April Young or Meredith Fell?
It appears then that a visit to Mystic Falls could be hazardous to your health, and yet how many of us would risk life and limb for a chance to see Stefan Salvatore in person? If you raised your hand, you’ll have to face some realities. Unless you are a traveler or a witch or an incredibly hot doppelganger that can take Stefan’s mind completely off of Elena, your chances of even getting close to the guy are quite low. Sure, it’s a small town, but it’s not that small. Yes, I’ll give it to you that you would probably run into the guy at the Mystic Grill, but how safe do you feel in using those bathrooms after chugging down two cups of coffee? You’re more likely to end up as someone’s meal than manage to snag an autograph. So, my friends, I have a more concrete approach to your touristy desires—a visit to Covington, Georgia.
It will come as a shock to a few of you who are so deep in TVD fan fics and Stelena animated gifs (*raises hand*) that Mystic Falls is not a real town. No, my friends, it’s actually a made up place filmed in a very real town called Covington in a state called Georgia. It’s a place you can visit and tour and get the feeling that you’ve actually been to Mystic Falls and seen all the places your favorite characters hang out. So, without further adieu, let’s explore!
We chose to take our tour with Vampire Stalkers at http://www.mysticfallstours.com/. For anyone planning a visit, we’d definitely recommend them.
The tour begins at the Covington/Newton County Visitor Information Center where you’ll find a large cutout of Damon, Elena and of course Stefan from Season 1 with old episodes of The Vampire Diaries playing on a mounted TV. Other shows like The Dukes of Hazzard and In the Heat of the Night were also filmed in Covington, but the emphasis is definitely on The Vampire Diaries. This is best displayed by the large Welcome to Mystic Falls, Virginia, sign outside of the center. After we’ve signed in and attached the tour flag to our car, we move just around the corner from the visitor center to the town square where the very recognizable courthouse and Mystic Grill come into view.
The Newton County Courthouse looms large over the square. It’s an architecturally beautiful building, and I don’t think Covington… or Mystic Falls… would be quite the same without it. If you get hauled in for a chat with Sheriff Forbes, this is the building you’d be taken to. In episode 8 of season 1, Sheriff Forbes grills Stefan, Elena, Matt and Jeremy about Vicki’s disappearance. Even though Jeremy was a witness to Stefan staking Vicki, all he knows is what Damon has compelled him to know. This troubles Elena, and outside of the courthouse, she tells Stefan that too many people get hurt around him and asks him to stay away from her. It was one of the many mini-breakups Stelena had in season one.
In episode 2×22, Elena breaks the windows out in the Sheriff’s office. If I remember correctly, the tour guides mentioned that Nina spent four hours “jumping” out the windows, only to have that part of the scene cut. We still get to see her do a little property damage though!
More recently, we saw the courthouse in all its nighttime glory when Katherine attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the clock tower ledge. The clock itself it set to keep a consistent time for the show when filming. It’s 2:48 a.m. when Katherine decides that she’d rather make a splash on the pavement below than endure crow’s feet and a sagging double chin. Stefan reads the suicide note Katherine has left for Nadia and is quickly on his way to save Katherine. As she jumps, we see several views of the courthouse as she goes down, it’s windows lit and clock illuminated. It’s quite a drop, and Nina herself was up on that ledge, attached by ropes for safety we hope. The plunge was left up to television magic to be pulled off.
Part 1 Extras:
We also found autographed scripts and an autographed poster at the Visitor Center!
Pics are courtesy of Grace and vids courtesy of Jaye.