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Christa Settle: A #TouristTale in Her Own Words

tourist talesChrista Settle, from Annapolis, Maryland, had a few things to say about Covington, Georgia. Settle is a huge fan of The Vampire Diaries so, naturally, she ventured out to Mystic Falls. Her story was so compelling that we decided to let her tell you her Tourist Tale.  

“In March, my boyfriend, Scott, and I were in town for a few days, a Saturday – Monday. From the moment we drove up after our 10+ hour drive and saw the clock tower, I fell in love with Covington. Of course, our trip included dining and drinking at the Mystic Grill many times. The bar and the rooftop were my favorite spots. The cuisine is top notch! Shrimp and grits in Maryland will never compare to the shrimp and grits I had at the Mystic Grill. On Monday, March 14, we had an amazing eventful TVD filled day. We were so lucky to have picked a day when they were filming! It started with the Mystic Falls tour with Jessica. The tour team's insight on the locations and behind the scenes tidbits was amazing, and the Lockwood Mansion was to die for.

After our tour, we met up with a local Covington wedding photographer, Jessica Worsham Photography, for [the] “Mystic Falls Couples session.” Being a wedding photographer myself, I knew I couldn't come home satisfied with just iPhone photos of Scott and me so I hired Jessica for this session, and these photos are my most precious souvenirs I have of our trip. My boyfriend and I had our photos taken at many film locations around town – like in front of the Mystic Grill, The Alley, the Town Square, in front of Elena's house, and the park where they filmed the “Delena” rain kiss scene.

tourist taleWhen we arrived back to the square after our session, we were lucky to see that filming had begun! Seeing TVD being filmed was actually something I had on my bucket list for years that I never expected to actually be something I would cross off! We watched them film the scene of Matt leaving Mystic Falls in the last episode of season seven. After Zach Roerig was done with filming, he came up to the fans hanging outside of the Mystic Grill watching the filming and took photos, which was really nice of him! He seemed to be really down to Earth, and I'm so happy to have met him and get a photo with him.

This night was also when they filmed the scene at Elena's house with Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham, and a body double for Elena in the window. Paul Wesley was directing this episode. My boyfriend and I found a way to be only a block away from filming. This was such a crazy scene to watch being filmed. I loved seeing every aspect of how they set the scene with the fog and lighting on the street around Elena's house. It was also amazing that just hours before filming, we stood there getting our photo taken.

I was sad to leave Covington. I have to say that Georgia is such a welcoming state for tourists as compared to others that I've been a tourist in. I even felt more welcomed and at home there that I do in my own home state! Southern hospitality is really a thing, especially in Covington. When I came home, I couldn't stop sharing my experiences, and my photos from Jessica! When some of my friends heard all about my adventure, a few asked me to take them if I ever went back! And so I did! I grabbed two of my girlfriends who also watched the show and we headed back down in July.

tourist talesIn July, we, unfortunately, were a week too early to see filming, but nonetheless, it's just simply amazing to be in town no matter what is going on. My friends and I went on the Mystic Falls tour and ate at the Mystic Grill probably 7-8 times during our 5-day stay. It was prime time for hanging on the rooftop. Again, we felt like regulars in this small town and so welcomed. By day 3 of our trip, the bartenders (Angie was the sweetest!!) and servers at the Mystic Grill knew us and chatted with us about everything and anything. It was just great to be back and experience everything again and see more. We took trips out to Atlanta and to other film locations, like Wickory Bridge. We ate ice cream at Scoops and had lunch at the Thai restaurant that was Ian's favorite. We had a crazy and amazing night at The Depot, which is another location that they've filmed in Covington.

Covington has a special place in my heart, as does The Vampire Diaries. I started watching it the day it aired, and it has been a staple in my life for 8 years. When I had bad weeks in college, it was there on Thursday nights to brighten things up for me. I always look forward to the next episode and I can't believe there are only a few episodes left. I can't wait to be back in Covington in the future. I feel that I have made some genuine friendships in Covington and Atlanta, and am thankful for the hospitality that everyone showed us on both of my trips.”

*Photographs courtesy of Christa Rae Photography and Jessica Worsham Photography

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