Editor’s note: Emma Loggins is the editor of Fanbolt.com, an fan news site that specializes in behind-the-scenes information and interviews with the casts and crews of entertainment franchises with organized fan bases.
Atlanta, Georgia is no stranger to the supernatural when it comes to film or television. AMC’s hugely popular “The Walking Dead” and CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” both film episodes around the city. With local fans stargazing at the (heavily makeuped) undead, it was just a matter of time before their geek out sessions turned into money-making business ventures.
And that’s exactly how several Atlanta-based tour companies were born.
Carrie Sagel Burns and Patti Davis, both fans of “The Walking Dead,” recently started Atlanta Movie Tours, and launched their first tour this March. Their signature tour, the Big Zombie Tour, features a number of rotating guides – all local actors who appeared in “Zombieland” or “The Walking Dead.”
The “Big Zombie Tour” is a 3-hour walking and driving tour of Atlanta’s zombie hangouts. Fans can count on seeing locations they’ll recognize from season one and two of “The Walking Dead.”
In fact, one of the most surprising parts of the tour may be that some of those sets are still fully intact, in downtown Atlanta. Chains used to keep the zombies out of the fictional store Bradbury’s (where Andrea debates stealing a mermaid pendant for Amy in episode 2) are still wrapped around the logoed doors.
One of the show’s most recognizable locations, the Nelson Street bridge – the eerie post-apocalyptic looking bridge that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) rode his horse across – has delighted many fans on tour. But bustling cities like Atlanta are always evolving and expanding, and that’s a fact Burns and Davis have to deal with. The Nelson Street bridge is set for demolition this summer, so the Big Zombie Tour will have to leave it behind.
Even so, tours like these allow fans to view filming locations that the general public does not have access to, like the quarry seen in season 1 of “The Walking Dead.” The quarry location was actually just rented out by J.J. Abrams for filming his new NBC pilot “Revolution” which premieres on September 17th, doubling its fan voyeurism factor.
“There’s more than just zombie love in Atlanta though, CW’s The Vampire Diaries also has a rabid fan following (the series stars have over 2 million followers on Twitter) that loves to visit the set when in town, and it’s been a great business for Jessica Lowery. Since season one of the hit supernatural drama, she has been running Mystic Falls Tours which takes fans around different exterior sets used in the series.
Lowery simply wanted to share her passion for the show with other fans, and that was what inspired her to start the business.
“We had a strong following on our Vampire Stalkers website and wanted others to get to see the cool things we get to see on a daily basis.” Lowery explained.
Lowery started out with just a couple tours a week, and now she hosts two to three tours a day with six to twelve customers per tour. Mystic Falls Tours has attracted fans as far away as Australia and Austria, and domestically they’ve already hosted fans from every single state this year……”
Below is an excerpt from www.vampire-diaries.net for a past moment with Micheal Trevino and the auctioning of hand painted shoes, check out the video below!
Early on Vampire Stalkers became friends with the cast and the site owners of the BEST fan site out there, Red and Vee. (vampire-diaries.net) Here is a link to a story about us. Make sure you follow the link so you can check out a video of Jessica From Vampire Stalkers and Michael Trevino who plays Tyler on the show. In the video he is flipping out over Jessica’s awesome TVD shoes! Its a must watch.
“If you attended EyeCon this past weekend, or have watched video footage of Ian’s Q&A, you’ll know that Vampire Stalkers and Canvas Warriors have teamed up to auction off a “an exclusive pair of hand painted Chucks that will be tailor-made for the highest bidder, then be signed by Ian Somerhalder himself.” All proceeds from the auction will go to Ian Somerhalder Foundation.” (Excerpt from http://www.vampire-diaries.net/fandom/vampire-stalkers-canvas-warriors-auction-for-ian-somerhalder-foundation)
Check out the video!
Ian had a wonderful ‘thank you’ printed and inserted in the Empoweresque books done in March for his foundation’s first event.
We appreciated the thank you so very much and could never thank Ian enough for allowing us to join him in his quest to change the world!
We cannot thank them enough for including us and sending us our own personal copy from so very far away!
Having heard the reviews all the way in Brazil, Capricho Magazine featured Ian Somerhalder in a article along side us, Mystic Falls Tours. http://capricho.abril.com.br/home/
Wetpaint.com posted us thanking us from some insight into filming!
“Thanks to Vampire Stalkers, we get an early peek at of David Gallagher filming a scene from his upcoming appearance in Season 3 of The Vampire Diaries. There are also some shots of a Mystic Falls Grill encounter between a couple we really hope are on a date. Click through if you’re dying for a peek behind the scenes, but stay away if you don’t want any spoilers!” (excerpt from http://www.wetpaint.com/the-vampire-diaries/gallery/bloody-david-gallagher-behindthescenes-photos-from-season-3) To see the full gallery of images taken please follow the link!
Interview with Crissy Calhoun author of ‘The Vampire Companion’ Books & The Calhoun Tribute Takes Our Tour!
Crissy Calhoun author of all the Vampire Diaries Companion books as well as The Calhoun Tribune traveled to Covington, GA AKA Mystic Falls to take our tour and interview us for her book.
Here is a sneak peek at some of what she had to say as well as a link to get all the other details you may want: http://crissycalhoun.com/tag/mystic-falls-tours/
“The day after EyeCon, Sarah D and I traveled to Mystic Falls a.k.a. Covington, GA, to take the Mystic Falls Tours with Jess of the VRO, Vampire Stalkers, and Vampire Support fame. We arrived early and I nearly collapsed with joy when I saw the clock tower. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but a glimpse of the dreamy TVD actors didn’t make me swoon — the Mystic Falls town square did. It was very cool to stand in front of the Grill or to wander around and be like, Oh hey that’s where Caroline and Matt had their epic kiss after the Decade Dance. Jess is an amazing tour guide — she knows tons of details about the filming and has hilarious stories from her set “stalking” experiences. We got to wander around the Lockwood estate — the owner of that property is just about the nicest man ever; he protected us from Steven the Swan, a BAMF if ever there was one — and we saw some locations from upcoming episodes. (Oh yes — be warned, spoilerphobes: you’ll likely hear things that you can never un-hear.) I’ve posted some of my pics on Facebook for y’all to see. If ever you’re in Atlanta, or even the state of Georgia, the Mystic Falls Tour is a must!
One of the coolest things to ever happen to us was having the privilege to be featured in “Love you to Death 2″ In the book Crissy calls us Fandom Leaders, We were so surprised when not long after she took our tour of Mystic Falls she called and wanted to interview us. Check the results of all her hard work out here… “it’s an episode-by-episode companion guide to season 2 of The Vampire Diaries. I wrote a book on the first season that includes cast bios and info on the ‘making of’ the show. And season 2′s book has some extras in there too in addition to the longer, more in-depth episode guide — bios of the guest stars; a chapter on “doppelganger hijinks” in season 2; interviews with fandom leaders Chloe Dawn and Jess and Brannan of Mystic Falls Tours/VampireStalkers.com, Bryton James, and Tiya Sircar; chapters on the movies/books that inspired episode titles; and much more! If you’ve read any of my posts on Vampire-Diaries.net, you’ll be familiar with the basic format — in the book, I talk about those types of things as well as get into history, lore, the music, off camera fun facts, and much more.”- Crissy Calhoun To order this book head over to Amazon and get it now here. If you don’t have the first book, pick it up too here! The first book is available in Kindle edition!
This article was talking about all the fans flocking here from all over the world to attend the Eyecon Convention and get a chance to see the stars and watch them film while on our tour. Thanks again AJC!
“Sandra Lesny received an early birthday present from her husband for 2011. And 2012. And 2013. A trip to the EyeCon convention last week in Atlanta to see her favorite stars of the hit TV show “The Vampire Diaries.”
She was joined by fans from all around the United States. Lesny is from Bremen, Germany, and she was far from the only foreign citizen to make the trip.
“(The convention) was amazing. It was my first crazy trip,” Lesny said Monday. “I was just on Facebook, and I saw EyeCon and thought ‘What is this?’ But my husband had to pay for it, and he said yes, so now I’m here. It was a birthday present for the next three years.”
It was at the convention that Lesny befriended Rhonda Thomas from Oklahoma, who convinced Lesny to come out and tour the filming sites in Covington.
Jessica Lowery, the founder of Mystic Falls Tours in Covington, had an influx of tour takers, including visitors from Australia, England, France, Greece and Portugal, among others.
“It was a crazy weekend. I met lots and lots of fans that love the show so much,” said Lowery, who was of the convention’s co-sponsors.” (excerpt from covnews.com: Read the Full Story at http://www.covnews.com/archives/18645/
The Covington News joined us and got to meet fans from all over the world while here taking our tour of Mystic Falls!
People are following what is going on in Mystic Falls by reading our site! See some excerts below…
“Remember my buds Jessica and Brannan? Well they have recently started doing tours of the town where The Vampire Diaries is filmed. Taking guests around to all the famous set locations. Check it out!
Have you ever wondered what the streets look like in Mystic Falls? Do you think that you would be excited or scared? How would you like to find out? You see Jessica and her daughter Brannan actually live in a small town where you never know who you might meet walking around.” (excerpt from http://vampirediariesonline.com/news/mystic-falls-tours-by-vampire-stalkers-jessica-brannan/) - from vampirediariesonline.com
“Vampire Stalkers was on set while filming was taking place this Friday. As the crew set up at what is called the Old Lockwood Manor, we wondered how much we would see. I can tell you that they set up for what looked like a party scene. They filmed inside and outside. Beautiful lanterns and flowers along the banisters set the scene. We got really excited once they started pulling in the horse trailers. Unfortunately, it began to light and rain, so we didn’t stick it out as long as usual but we had an extra that was filming that night inside, so we still hoped for a few details.” (excerpt from http://vampirediariessource.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/vampire-diaries-cast-filming-first-season-2-flashbacks-an-extra-on-his-set-experience/) – from vampirediariessource.wordpress.com
“Whether you’re on Team Damon, Team Stefan, Team Anna, or love them all, the Vampire Stalkers can help you reach out to your favorite cast member from the Vampire Diaries.
The Vampire Stalkers are a mother daughter duo who live in Mystic Falls, aka Covington, Georgia.
Regular extras on the show, Jessica and Brannan Lowery have met with the Vampire Diaries cast while filming. VD insiders as well as stalkers, they’ve lunched with Kat Graham and partied with Nina Dobrev on her birthday.
Despite busy schedules as extras on a number of locally filmed television shows, Jessica and Brannan are preparing for their favorite show’s next season of filming, which starts in a few weeks in Covington. As a special treat for their Vampire Diaries’ pals, they’re making books for the cast members in which they’ll include fans’ personal or meaningful experiences.
If you haven’t been lucky enough to meet Kat or Nina, Ian Somerhalder, Zach Roerig, Michael Trevino, Malese Jow, Matt Davis or the rest of the crew, let Jessica and Brannan relay your thoughts to them. The books will include photos and comments as well as drawings, poems, and fan fiction. “(Excerpt from http://www.examiner.com/article/mystic-falls-vampire-stalking-duo-calling-for-fan-material) To read the rest follow the link
“Vampires continue to roam Convington, and local Jessica Lowery is making a killing. Profit wise that is: no wooden stakes are involved. At least, she didn’t mention any.
“The Vampire Diaries” TV Show became an instant hit and continues to gain in popularity in its second season on the CW network. Fans have been pouring into Covington for more than a year from as far away as Europe, but next weekend will be a whole different experience. Atlanta plays host to the first Vampire Diaries convention, organized by EyeCon, from March 25-27, The convention will feature several actors including Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Steven R. McQueen, Michael Trevino, Lauren Cohan, and Robert Pralgo.
Lowery runs both the popular blog vampirestalkers.com and a local tour company Mystic Falls Tours. She is a co-sponsor of EyeCon and has 200 people booked for….(Excerpt from Atlanta Journal Constitution)