A very 'Walking Dead' Thanksgiving, and how to plan your own filming locations tour
Instead of spending the day after Thanksgiving standing in long lines waiting to snag deals on electronics, my dad, my boyfriend and I spent Black Friday driving around Georgia scoping out filming locations for AMC's hit show, The Walking Dead.
Yes, I'm one of THOSE people.
A disclaimer: I've done this before, and I owe much of my success at finding these spots to the ever-faithful Internet.
The Walking Dead comics, novels and show are all based in various towns in Georgia. Even though the characters are now supposed to be in Alexandria, Va., the set is still in the southern state. Right across the street from the fictional town of Woodbury actually.
Some of the locations are easy to find, and all are mostly within an hour of one another. Since season three, much of the show has been filmed in and around Senoia, a small down about an hour southwest of Atlanta.
Our first stop was where it all began: Atlanta.
The Instagram posts below are collages showing the locations in real life compared to shots from the show. Most of the spots are easily recognizable.
Most of season four was spent watching the disbanded group make its way toward supposed safety at Terminus. Unfortunately, the group found a damaged community of cannibals instead of a safe haven.
The scenes in and around Terminus were filmed at the abandoned Collier Metals factory just outside downtown Atlanta.
Next up was checking out houses used as Rick Grimes' and Morgan Jones' homes during season one. It's been almost six years since season one aired, so both homes are now occupied. Interestingly, the two homes are within two blocks of one another.
Leaving Atlanta, we headed to Peachtree City, just down the road from Senoia, to a neighborhood called Foreston Place. The community played Noah's fiction neighborhood, Shirewilt Estates/Wiltshire Estates (the names were reversed from the comic to the show) in season five. Rick's group tried to take Noah to his home, but they found the community had been trashed and overrun with walkers. Noah's neighborhood was one of the first instances of the Wolves destroying communities.
Noah's overrun neighborhood
Senoia is where all the magic happens.The quaint town became the fictional town of Woodbury, home to the Governor and his cronies who tortured some of Rick's people and destroyed their prison home.
The Walking Dead filming spots continue to be a popular tourist attraction in the small, southern town. The city has a Dead-themed cafe, a gift shop devoted to the show and a mini museum with filming props.
Woodbury and Senoia coffee shop
Tucked away on the other side of the downtown strip is the set of train tracks used to create the tunnel Tara and Glenn were trapped in before they were reunited with Maggie in season four.
Denton Zukowski and I on the train tracks used for the road to Terminus.
Across the street from the downtown Senoia strip is Alexandria, where the past two seasons have been filmed. The set of Alexandria is actually a real community, though right now it's filled with set pieces including the tower that just fell on the walls in the seventh episode of season six.
The top photo is of the entrance to the community and the bottom shows how it's still surrounded by walls constructed for the show.
Note: there were security guards at every entrance to Alexandria. When the show isn't filming, Senoia sets up walking tours through Alexandria and around the town.
Tucked away between Alexandria and Senoia's downtown strip I found the stone wall where Enid's parents were eaten by walkers. This scene was in her flashback episode, "JSS," in season five.
Hampton and Griffin
The last two stops on our trip were to Hampton and Griffin.
The infamous episode where The Walking Dead tricked us into thinking Glenn died (and Nicholas actually died) was filmed in Hampton. By sheer luck and with quite a bit of help from Internet searches, I found the alleyway where Glenn and Nicholas got surrounded by walkers.
Shout out to the huge trucks blocking my view of aforementioned dumpster.
Alleyway from "Thank You"
Lastly, we headed to Griffin, another adorably quaint small, southern town. Here we found the building/fire station used to shoot "Self Help" where Eugene, Abraham and Rosita stole a fire truck and took down a bunch of walkers with the high-pressure hose in season five.
Want to plan your own DIY filming locations tour? Here's how:
◘ RESEARCH: I planned this trip months ahead of time, and I frequently rechecked sites listing filming locations for any updates or new items. Here are just some of the sites I used: Explore Georgia, Google Maps, Thrillist, and Twitter pages @TWD_locations and @TWDlocations are filled with pictures, videos and addresses of reported filming locations.
◘ Pick a doable film or TV show in an easy-to-get-to state. Luckily for me, my dad lives in Georgia and mostly knows his way around the state. Florida and Georgia are both great places to find filming locations. Besides The Walking Dead, Georgia is home to filming sites from The Hunger Games, Forrest Gump and Vampire Diaries.
◘ Prepare to drive A LOT.
◘ Don't trespass on private property or touch anything you're not supposed to. Have some manners, people.
◘ Do take pictures and use screen shots from the film or show to compare the IRL location.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] and on Twitter @chelseatatham.