*All Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Immortal (and the author)
When I was first told that I would be meeting a local Vampire who would show me the sights of Mystic Falls, I was a little nervous. After all, what does one wear to meet a vampire? Would a turtleneck sweater seem presumptuous and offensive? Obviously, silver jewelry was out. I figured black was a safe choice. Assailed of my fears of wardrobe faux paus, on a dark and moonlight night, I set out to meet my undead date (sans turtleneck). He was a local legend, a true Vampire icon, who knew Mystic Falls better than most mortals. He’d promised to show me all of the sites where vampires like to relax, unwind, and grab a bite to eat. I didn’t delve too deeply into that last one.
After assuring me that he was vegan (a true modern vampire), Restin Peace* and I set off for a moonlit Mystic Falls tour. Our first stop, a quick cocktail at the Mystic Grill. Or, so I thought. While the Mystic Grill is an excellent spot for delicious southern food & cocktails like a Vampire Bite or a Bloody Mary, it was the dark stairway to the left of the front entrance that drew my date instead.
Known as Murder Alley, it’s a frequent hunting spot for vampires, who immediately made their presence known. Surely, Restin wouldn’t throw me to the wolves (so to speak) so soon? I hadn’t even interviewed him yet! Instead, we stepped around the undead and inside the small shop (also called The Alley) located underneath the Mystic Grill. Inside, vampire treasures abounded, from jewelry, to coffee mugs, and every sort of vampire trinket your immortal soul could crave. Restin swears that all the best vampires buy their gifts and homegoods from the Alley, and seemed particularly drawn to a burlap pillow with Mystic Grill emblazoned on the front. (Photo Credit: http://kelseydesignss.blogspot.com/2013_04_01_archive.html)
Next up, Vampire Stalkers. This little shop of horrors is the home of the Mystic Falls Tour, where you can get insider information about the television shows The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. Visitors can tour The Mystic Grill, the Mystic Falls Courthouse, Whitmore Campus and the Lockwood Mansion, an exclusive tour only available through Vampire Stalkers, which Restin says is not to be missed. Plus, there is a good chance that you could run into Damon or Stefan! Since I had my own vampire tour guide, we skipped the tour itself, but you can book your own here.
And, since this human needed real food, Restin’s pick was the Speakeasy at 18th and 21st in nearby Porterdale. In front of the building, The Company Store Deli serves toasted sandwiches and secrets by day. And by night, this facility turns into the most elusive nightclub in Newton County. Located in the back of this historic brick building in the center of Porterdale, the Speakeasy was re-vamped and opened in October, making it the hangout for mortals and immortals alike.
A Reuben and a nod with the secret password got Restin and I into the Speakeasy bar, through a doorway concealed by a painting. I could see why this intimate tavern is a vampire’s favorite haunt: The Speakeasy at 18th and 21st is filled with Old-World charm and even older scotch. Restin informed me that he is even a member of the “Old 18th” Club, where he gets to enjoy a sip from his own personal decanter of red wine (or is it?).
As Restin and I settled in at the bar, our friendly bartender poured incredible drinks, and served up amazing appetizers like their “yankee wings” to keep the conversation flowing throughout the night. And, as Restin became the vampire he is today in the 20’s, he assured me that the elusive bar was authentic. Be sure to ask about the history of the Speakeasy. You might learn a few more of Porterdale’s secrets. If you’re lucky.
As we wrapped up the night (it was close to dawn after all), our last stop was the Jackson St. Cemetery. You might recall the cemetery, if you’re a fan of the Vampire Diaries, because it was used in some scenes during filming. Restin claims that most vampires use this space as a sort of meditation area/after party hangout. Indeed, many vampires were walking and talking between the headstones, which bear the names of Covington’s (I mean Mystic Falls) famous citizens. Here, I left Restin Peace to return to the land of the living. I figured he was safe among the dead.
Interested in your own immortal undead tour? Or how would you like to watch the final, eternal moments of The Vampire Diaries Season 7, right here in Mystic Falls? See our event page here for Friday Night Bites, and join us in Mystic Falls on Friday the 13th (May 13th, that is)!