Walking Dead fans, heed this advice: STOP EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW AND GO TO SENOIA, GEORGIA. No, seriously.
The quaint little town, home to less than 4,000 people, is THE holy land for fans of The Walking Dead. My family and I found ourselves there sort of by chance recently (I’ll touch on that later), and it was one of the most memorable experiences we’ve ever had. Here are the fool-proof instructions for a once in a lifetime zombiepalooza:
Make a weekend of it.
We made the mistake of only allotting ourselves a couple of hours in Senoia, as we were just passing through on our way from Michigan to Florida. Big mistake. We easily could have spent an entire day in Senoia alone, not to mention all of the other nearby filming locations we didn’t get a chance to explore.
Book yourself a room at the Dolce Atlanta Peachtree.
There is only one bed and breakfast in Senoia, and from what I hear, it books up pretty quickly. (I also hear that it’s lovely, so it’s worth at least checking into.) Being that we were traveling with two children who’d just spent twelve hours in a car, I didn’t want to spend the whole night shushing them, so we decided to stay in a more “hotely” hotel where rambunctiousness is expected.
Peachtree City is less than a fifteen minute drive from Senoia, and has several different hotels available for your choosing. I booked our room through hotels.com, which was offering an awesome rate on rooms at Dolce. (Think less than $100 for four people on a Saturday night.) The pictures of the hotel were gorgeous, but I know looks can be deceiving. In this case, they were not. Dolce is not just a hotel, it’s a resort. Nestled deep in the Georgia woods, it has a campground feel, and offers many amenities that we simply were not there long enough to enjoy, such as an indoor pool, fitness center, restaurant, bar, biking and hiking trails, volleyball, tennis, basketball, billiards, horseshoes. Basically, you could make an entire weekend out of just staying at the resort. The rooms are nothing special, but they’re efficient enough. I was beyond impressed with Dolce, given the fact that our stay was so cost effective. (I had to show my husband the receipt, because he didn’t believe me when I told him what we paid for it.)
|Dolce Atlanta Peachtree in Senoia, GA|
Start your trip at the Woodbury Shoppe
Trust me. For us, this was not an option as we arrived in Senoia at 10am, but the Woodbury Shoppe didn’t open until 1pm, so we had to do our exploring on our own. I say to start your trip here for two reasons. One, it’s awesome. The upstairs is full of one of a kind TWD memorabilia, and the downstairs is a veritable TWD museum, complete with movie props and signatures of the show’s stars all over the walls. Two, at the shop, they sell a Locations guide for $25. I’m gonna go ahead and guess that the locations guide corresponds with the numbered plaques we found all over town, pinpointing filming locations. As we’d already done all of our exploring and the Woodbury Shoppe was our last stop, we didn’t invest in the locations guide. If we had it to do all over, though, we would have started there. It would have made things much, much easier. You also never know who you might see there! During our visit, one of the walkers was there signing autographs.
|The boys outside the Woodbury Shoppe.|
|The Hospital Doors|
|Hanging with zombies.|
|The Wall o' Norman|
|The Governor's Chair of Torture|
|The Prison Cell|
There are many different ways to do this. You can do a self-guided tour using info you’ve found online (like we did) or using the Locations Guide sold at the Woodbury Shoppe. If you choose to try to map it out yourself, one excellent site to use for that is Walking Dead Locations. There are also guided tours you can pay to take part in. I hesitate to endorse any particular tour service, as we didn’t go that route, but I imagine it would take the guess work out of things. (We got lost and turned around quite a few times.)
The first and most obvious landmark is Main Street, which served as Woodbury in season three. No mistaking it. We called this “ground zero” and visited it multiple times. From the intersection of Main St. and Travis St. (where this photo was taken), there are several exciting locations to visit, all within a short walking distance.
On the east corner of Main St. and Travis St. is Senoia Coffee and Café, awesome for lots of reasons. A.) Because when filming in Senoia (which, as I write this, they are), the cast frequents this spot in the mornings for coffee and breakfast. B.) It’s very recognizable as the Woodbury Café. C.) I hear their food is excellent. (They are closed on Sundays, so we didn’t get a chance to try it.)
Just a little further east down Travis Street is this bridge over the train tracks, which we saw in season four, episode fifteen when Glenn and Tara decided to go through the tunnel while tracking Maggie, and Abraham and his crew decided to go around it. This is the same tunnel seen in season four, episode ten when Tyrese, Carol and the girls find a Terminus sign. (Side note: Further west down these same train tracks is where Rick, Michonne and Carl saw their first Terminus sign.)
If you return to ground zero (the end of Main Street) and go west on Travis St., you’ll very quickly happen upon Milton’s lab from season three on your right.
Hang a quick left on Pylant St. to find two notable locations from season four- the house Rick and Carl take refuge in after escaping the prison:
|In the lower photo, you can see one of the numbered plaques I wrote about earlier. They are located all over town. I assume they correspond with the locations guide for sale at the Woodbury Shoppe, but I can't be sure.|
And Carl’s chocolate puddin’ house:
Now, back to ground zero for the most awesome filming location of all. I’ve saved this for last for two reasons- one, you always save the best for last, and two, depending on when you read this, it may no longer exist. Directly south of the intersection of Main St. and Travis St., visible from Woodbury itself, is what’s known as THE WALL, where they are actively filming season five. HOW EXCITING IS THAT?! While we couldn’t get too close due to security staff, we were able to see the actor’s trailers and their current set, which includes a burned out church, some half-built townhouses, and a giant aluminum wall. (For privacy, or for filming, or for both, I’m not sure.) I did hear someone say that they only film during the week, and who knows how long they’ll be there, but if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the cast where they’re currently filming, GO AND GO NOW! (And go during the week.)
Just outside the downtown area are even more filming locations, a few of which we visited.
The bar where Merle had his last stand, luring walkers to his car as he drove into the governor’s camp, can be found at 34 Chestlehurst Road, and is pretty easily recognizable.
Also located on Chestlehurst: THE PRISON (!) located at 600 Chestlehurst. Now, don’t get too excited. This is really just the location of Raleigh Studios, where the prison scenes were filmed. Rumor has it that when the prison scenes were being filmed, you could see the watch towers, the buses, the tanks, and all kinds of stuff scattered about. Now it just looks like this:
Lastly, and I shouldn’t even probably list this because I’m not sure whether we found it or not…but it’s said that Hershel’s farm is located at Chestlehurst Rd. and GA-85, with an entrance on each road. I know we must’ve driven past it, as we were all up and down both Chestlehurst and GA-85, but it’s private property and can’t be seen from the road. So whether we really found it or not remains a mystery.
|Hershel! Where are you?!|
Aside from The Walking Dead, there have been lots of other shows and movies filmed in Senoia, which are proudly boasted on their walk of fame. (My favorites: Sweet Home Alabama and Fried Green Tomatoes.) The shops are adorable, the restaurants looked interesting, and the most exciting thing of all is the feeling in the air of never knowing who you might run into. (I’ll admit, I looked for Norman every time I heard a motorcycle.)
|Hanging in a shop window in Downtown Senoia.|
Aside from Senoia, there are multiple filming locations for The Walking Dead in Georgia- Atlanta, Grantsville, Sharpsburg, and more. You could easily make an entire weekend out of it, and I wish we had.
If I had it to do all over, I would make more time to enjoy the rustic charm of the Dolce Atlanta Peachtree. I would BUY THE LOCATIONS GUIDE at The Woodbury Shoppe. I would go during the week, when everything’s open and the cast and crew are there filming.
And if I had any vacation time left at work, I would DEFINITELY do it again. With as much fun as we had in Senoia, I was worried about how the rest of our trip would measure up. And sure enough, even after a week at Disney World and Universal Studios, our afternoon in Woodbury was all the kids could talk about on the long ride home.