Once upon a time in 2004, I signed up to help serve beverages at a College of Education event at OSU. My fellow iced tea server was a girl named Rachel, who I vaguely knew as a member of my Theta pledge class, but hadn't really gotten a chance to speak to. While we poured that tea, we somehow discovered our mutual love/obsession for the fictional character of Pacey Witter. 9 years of best-friendship and one Backstreet Boys cruise later, we made a journey to Wilmington, North Carolina, to bear personal witness to the sights and scenery of the greatest television show of our generation: Dawson's Creek, y'all! Also coinciding but actually not planned: this spring is the 10-year anniversary of the show's series finale!
Secondarily important to our mission were any places we could find also related to One Tree Hill, a somewhat inferior but still epic show that I did faithfully watch 7.5 out of 9 seasons of (and even dedicated a blog post to how perfect I thought the final episode was).
Please read on for our journey that was most certainly one of the best three days of my life.
To start, a little mood music.
(I have just realized that every single location shown in this intro is a place that we visited. WOWZA! We done good!)
First stop: the beautiful Airlie Gardens. Several things were filmed here, but perhaps the most important location of all is the "ruins" - some columns and a fountain and a bunch of idential busts meant to look like they were built long ago but since abandoned.
OTH reference: where Haley and her sisters spread their mother's ashes at her funeral in season 7.
Dawson's Creek reference: THIS MAGIC. Dawson using the pretense of filming a scene for his stupid sea creature movie to seduce Jen into a kiss, and Pacey and the scandalous Ms. Jacobs.
|Our trusty blue rental car|
Next up: the Bend on Airlie Road.
OTH reference: where Peyton's car breaks down in Season 1 (and seen in the intro clip above!)
Dawson's Creek reference:
Ice cream cone of death for Dawson's Hot Dad Mitch Leery.
Where Deputy Doug pulls Jack over in the beginning of the series finale.
Joey and Pacey's first kiss (technically second kiss, but the first one that mattered).
Oh, what the heck, I'll just give you the video.
Next let's move on to Wrightsville Beach.DC reference: anytime they are ever on a beach. The pier below (which is in disrepair from the hurricane - boo, hurricane!) is where the cast is frolicking in the intro above!
OTH reference: anytime they are ever on a beach.
The waterfront of Downtown Wilmington. We got the greatest little loft condo just a few blocks away from the wooden mile-long Riverwalk. Are you seeing these views?! Perfect for a couple morning runs. But I digress: more importantly, an endless number of scenes from both shows take place along this waterfront. Pretty much every time anyone needs to have a conversation in a picturesque place, it's somewhere along here. Look familiar?
The steps of this federal buildling masquerade as an art museum in season 2 of DC, where Dawson and Joey have a great fight about how Dawson doesn't see enough emotion in modern art. Hilarious. Also, Andie and Pacey meet here to go to the Homecoming dance in season 2 and later come back for their first kiss here. (I'm starting to get slightly self-conscious that I'm rattling off all these things from pure memory...)
Regardless of what TV shows were filmed here, I want to live in a place that looks like this:
Here is where our locations diverge, so let's head over to Tree Hill first (because Capeside is so much more epic).
Detouring over to Tree Hill for awhile, here, Brooke Davis lived out her tortured girl-behind-the-red-door existence through most of high school.
In another of my top 10 episodes from the series, "The Longest Day," the teens gather at the library on a Saturday to do a report on Watergate. Said library:
Again, TOO EASY.
In seasons 5 and 6, Joey goes to college and inexplicably gets a job as a bartender at a place called Hell's Kitchen, even though she is presumably only 18 and 19 years old, and I'm pretty sure there are laws about those things. Nonetheless, here it is:
Which now looks like:
This hurts my heart a little bit, but at least whoever did this had the sense to leave a little of that brick exposed. Future generations need to know what happened here.
AND NEXT DOOR IS JEN LINDLEY'S AND GRAMS' HOUSE.
Quick story (who am I kidding, none of this has been quick): We didn't know how often people still come since the show has ended 10 years ago at this point, so Rachel and I decided to be really overly nice about it and bought some tulips and some scones to take with us as peace offerings. The house is down a private drive that is very clearly labeled with the address number and the people's names on it, so you can't really even pretend you're meaning to go somewhere else. As we were driving up the one-lane drive, we were met with an oncoming car. Immediately, panic set in, and we tried to decide if we were going to act like we were lost or not, but the woman driving rolled down her window and said, "Are you guys Dawson's Creek fans?" ...Guilty. She said we were free to walk around the yard and down the dock and take pictures! So sweet! We didn't even need our bribe, though we still left it on the front porch with a note (the screened in porch where so much drama goes down!!!).
Also at the house: this dock...where this now infamous face happened:
Have you ever seen such unbridled giddiness on two grown women's faces?!
Also, let's end with this: