I Don't Wanna Wait for Our Lives to Be Over to Find Out I Don't Wanna Be Anyone Other Than Me

This post is very long, and most enjoyable if you ever watched and loved Dawson's Creek and/or One Tree Hill.  Full-on fangirl mode starts now.

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.
Unrelated to any television show, but still an amazing sight were these turtles all gathered up on a log in the middle of the pond.  There was a tiny turtle ON TOP OF a bigger turtle!  Double turtles!
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.

And Lucas and Karen's house!  This house is surrounded by one-way streets, not providing an easy escape route, so watch out.
Here is proof that it is Lucas' house on the show.  Notice that this is the most synergistic picture I could have possible chosen, as it is from an episode where James Van Der Beek (DAWSON LEERY) guest stars as an insane director.
So iconic:  Karen's Cafe/Clothes Over Bros. (literally a block and a half from our condo).

In the season finale, Quinn and Clay go to adopt (re-adopt?  reclaim?) Clay's son at the courthouse, and then decide to get married.  This staircase is involved.  We found it by walking into the Wilmington Courthouse and there they were.  They're really almost making this too easy.
Lucas' bridge from the opening credits is on 6th St.  As you cross, it sort of feels like you're crossing over to the bad part of town, so be forewarned.
Second best location:  Tree Hill High!  Actual location:  Wilmington Community College.  Class was in session while we were there, and I just felt like screaming at all the kids walking around, "DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHERE YOU GO TO SCHOOL?!?!"

So in the screenshot from the show above, on the very right you can see that one of the corridors is labeled "Whitey Durham Fieldhouse."  This corridor, in fact:
And would you believe it...when I opened a door, it really did lead into a basketball gym!!!!

Now, it looks basically nothing like the gym on OTH, but it's still a gym, it still counts, and we still took a picture posing as Ravens just because.
And last, but not least (we all know what I saved for last):  RIVERCOURT.

Except, it no longer exists.  Apparently they tore it down right after they finished filming.  So, here's where the Rivercourt used to be.
While we were there, a guy and a girl showed up, and the girl ran around in the grass dribbling and shooting a pretend basketball while the guy took pictures.  So we're not the only ones on a TV show location scout!  I respect her dedication but we did not do that.

The view across the river from the court is seen in almost every show as well.  Who wouldn't want to play basketball here?  Skillz, I see why you love this place.
So long, Tree Hill, off to Capeside we go!

In the series finale, Pacey owns a restaurant back in Capeside.  In real life, it is called Elijah's, our waiter was named Keith, and we ordered so much food we had to take the whole appetizer of wings home because we were stuffed.  BOOM:
In season 1, and then kind of sporadically throughout the rest of the show, Dawson and Pacey work at a video store (remember when those were successful businesses?) called Screen Play Video.  I present its storefront:
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:
We didn't take any pictures of the interior (which they did use on the show!) because we were too embarrassed that we had just gotten second-to-last place in trivia that night (other people were cheating, we know it!), but there is a big rowboat hanging on one of the walls that is, we're assuming, a boat used on the show.

Speaking of Joey's college, it's a made up university called Worthington, but was actually filmed on Duke's campus.
Um, this place.  This place is so beautiful.  If you had the good fortune to attend college here, congratulations to you, and I don't know how you got any studying done surrounded by this much magnificance.
Please notice Joey's cell phone clipped to her jeans waistband in the below picture.  She was lucky she is so pretty.

If you've read this far, first of all, I'm impressed either with the amount of free time you have or the love of DC and OTH you apparently share with me.  Also, you're in for a treat, because it is now time for the top three best locations.  DRUM ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.


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.

Capside High School!   Home of the Minutemen.  Actual location:  UNC-Wilmington.
A million things happen at school since the main characters of DC are, you know, in high school for the first four seasons.  Specifically, in the credits above (you know, waaaaay back at the top of this post), you might have noticed Dawson and Joey walking under a jacket in the rain in front of the school.  Allow me to recreate that.
Also, let's recreate the time that Dawson, Joey, Jack, and Andie plan the "Anti-Prom" whilst sitting on these very steps in one of the top 10 greatest episodes of the entire show, because it spawns Pacey's most romantic whisper of all time:  "I remember everything."
(A loyal fan may recall that this Anti-Prom took place at Dawson's parents' restaurant, Leery's Fresh Fish, on the waterfront.  We actually went there for lunch [though it is actually a Latin restaurant called Mixto], but we didn't take a picture of it, so just believe me, okay?)

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?!
Thus ends the longest post I've ever written or will likely ever write.  Rach, I'm glad we found one another, and we took this trip we've been talking about for ten years.  You are the P. Sawyer to my B. Davis.

Also, let's end with this:


  1. everything about this is so perfect.

  2. *slow clap* That might be the best post ever. Thank you.

  3. It's 5am and this just made my whole day.

  4. Oh my gosh...amazing post! Ahhhh memories.... Thanks for a great post!

  5. Wow! Beautiful pictures! I love Dawsons Creek!

  6. I'm going in a little over 2 weeks! I'm so excited!

  7. I'm going in a little over 2 weeks! I'm so excited!