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Posted: May 31, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Movie-based tourism thrives

Vampire tours receives certificate of excellence; antebellum B&B tops travel list

Covington filming locations have grown in popularity as local businesses have capitalized on the success of popular shows and films. The Mystic Falls/Vampire Stalkers tour recently received a 2014 certificate of excellence from trip advisor, while 12 Oaks Bed and Breakfast topped Fox News’ top destinations for readers list.

Vampire Stalkers: Mystic Falls Tours

Jessica Lowery hires her tour guides based on strict criteria: they have to know cast members of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, they have to work for the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and they have to have actually spent time on the shows’ sets.

Lowery said this strict criteria needs to be met so guides can provide fans with an experience they would not be able to get on their own.

Reviews on TripAdvisor.com note the expertise of the guides and satisfaction of each person’s experience.
Lowery said they recently had actor Chase Coleman from The Originals stop by Mystic Falls Tours with his mom and take photos with fans.

And while fans come to the tours with big hopes of seeing their favorite actors, Lowery said there is no guarantee due to schedule changes.

“Book a tour during filming season, and if they are filming it’s kind of like Santa Claus came that day,” Lowery said of the advice she gives to fans.

Either way, she said Mystic Falls Tours makes sure everyone has a great time taking photos, reenacting scenes from the shows and tweeting their favorite moments of the day.

Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast

Nicole Smith, owner of Twelve Oaks, said the bed and breakfast’s proximity to Atlanta is a major draw for travelers looking to experience an antebellum home to stay in. Since Atlanta was burned during Sherman’s March to the Sea, there are little to no historic antebellum homes left in the city.

The home is on the National Register for Historic Places. Smith bought it in November 2011 and began renovations to the property, which had been foreclosed on. Six bathrooms were added, more than 20 boarded windows were replaced and electrical and plumbing work was redone before the Twelve Oaks opened its doors in October 2012.
In addition, there are modern amenities including flat screen TVs and gas fireplaces in the rooms.

“You have this modern feel, but you also get to experience this historic home,” Smith said.
The location has been featured in many films and shows, including “The Vampire Diaries.”

Smith explained it is one of the only places in Covington that you can actually go inside of that has been filmed inside of. Because the home has a lot of wide spaces and natural light, Smith said its ideal for indoor filming, which is usually challenging in older homes.

Film crews have even rented the entire space to stay while filming in Covington, whereas in the past crews stayed in Atlanta.

“We’ve been told it’s a great place to accommodate actors and producers and directors,” Smith said. “It helps the local economy to have people stay when they’re actually filming.”

For more information on Twelve Oaks, visit thetwelveoaks.com.


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