'The Vampire Diaries' Inspired the Town It Was Filmed In to Build a Real-Life Mystic Grill

The Vampire Diaries was like many vampire franchises of its time, but also found fresh, creative ways to tell new types of vampire stories. The show became so popular, in fact, that even the city where it was filmed gained acclaim from its fans. Let’s take a closer look at the town in which the show was filmed, how it became a tourist destination, and the real-life Mystic Grill that business owners opened there. 

‘The Vampire Diaries’ put a new spin on the vampire genre

Cashing in on the popularity of properties like Twilight before it, The Vampire Diaries was able to put a contemporary spin on the classic story of vampires. According to IMDb, The Vampire Diaries premiered in 2009 and was on the air until its run culminated in 2017. It tells the stories of brothers Damon and Stefan Salvatore, two vampires locked in an endless struggle. While they are related, they couldn’t be any more different with one being noble and the other self-centered.

In the 1800s, Stefan convinced Damon to become a vampire which was a constant source of resentment between the brothers. When Stefan falls in love with a girl in present, Damon tries to interfere as a way to get revenge. Relying on classic tropes while still finding inventive ways to push its story forward, The Vampire Diaries accrued quite a following. Its eight-season run was very popular, and the show continues to grow its fanbase to this day on Netflix. The show’s popularity also led to a spinoff series. 

‘The Vampire Diaries’ were filmed in Covington, Georgia

When fans fall in love with a show, it’s not uncommon for them to travel long distances to see the places where scenes of the show were filmed. Many Seinfeld fans have taken the opportunity to visit the real-life Monk’s in New York, only to find out it’s called Tom’s Restaurant, and its interior looks nothing like the place where George and Jerry sat so often.  

The Vampire Diaries was filmed in one place but said to take place somewhere else in the same way. According to The TV Traveler, it took place in Mystic Falls, Virginia, but was actually filmed in a city called Covington, Georgia. It’s located about 30 miles south of Atlanta. The Vampire Diaries wasn’t the only production to film in Covington, either. The Dukes of Hazzard and Cannonball Run both filmed here as well. Whereas some cities shy away from the infamy of being a TV hotspot, Covington has embraced its role as Mystic Falls.

The town has walking tours that enable fans to see their favorite spots from the show. One tour called “Vampire Stalkers” brings fans to some of the show’s most famous destinations, allowing them to shadow the footsteps of their favorite characters. The town also has a rather extensive gift shop where you can buy show-themed memorabilia to remember your visit. There’s one other very memorable way the town has acted to mimic its TV counterpart. It involves opening a restaurant themed after the show’s most well-known eatery. 

Covington has its own Mystic Grill

One of The Vampire Diaries’ most well-known fictional establishments is a restaurant called The Mystic Grill. It’s often featured as a place the characters hang out. Not to be outdone, Covington actually owned its own version of The Mystic Grill in their own hometown. According to the restaurant’s website, the owners set out to “create a restaurant that will not only provide the Covington community with incredible food, service, and atmosphere but also foster sustainability and local growth.” The interior may not look exactly the same — the version on the show wasn’t an actual restaurant, but a set — but it does feature a replica of the bar seen on the show and the same old Southern home cooking. 

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