Editor’s note: For the first of our periodic Road Trips articles for 2015, we suggest a trip to the small town of Senoia, the center of the action for fans of the popular television program “The Walking Dead.” Our Road Trips focus on unusual places and spaces within about a two-hour drive of Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Brookhaven and Dunwoody.
Before AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead” shuffled into the metro Atlanta area about five years ago, the town of Senoia contained little more than a hardware store and a coffee
Today, the town where the show is filmed is an international tourist destination about an hour’s drive from Atlanta’s northern arc.
In October during a recent “staycation,” I decided to take my mother and a visiting family friend – all of us are avid fans of the TV show – down to Senoia to see what all the fuss was about.
The daytrip didn’t disappoint.
The Woodbury Shoppe on Main Street was our focal destination. The shop, started by the show’s producers in 2013, sells “Walking Dead” memorabilia – anything from posters, key chains and coffee mugs to stuffed character dolls and T-shirts. The shop’s downstairs is a museum containing set pieces, props and the actors’ signatures on the walls.
Store manager Rhodena Buck says some 2,000 visitors, on average, come through the store each week. “We’ve had visitors from all over the place – Peru, Korea, Denmark, Germany and Canada,” she said, adding that one couple from Alaska took a week to drive down, just to spend one day in the store and town in between the driving to and from their home.
What we weren’t expecting on our trip was a visit from one of the show’s stars, which Buck says occasionally happens when the show is in production, usually from May to November.
As we were looking for a parking space on Main Street, a commotion was taking place in front of the shop.
Upon arrival, we learned the crowd had gathered as Norman Reedus, a.k.a. Daryl Dixon on the show, was paying the store a visit. Slash, the guitarist of Guns n’ Roses fame, accompanied him. The actor graciously signed autographs and allowed the taking of “selfies,” not leaving until every fan had their turn.
“During [the show’s] filming, the whole town fills up,” Buck said, adding that so far celebrity visits have remained “sane and safe.”
Buck said the shop in December hosted an autograph signing with Robert Kirkman, the show’s producer and creator of the comic book series that “The Walking Dead” is based on.
“A couple of things like that are in the works,” Buck said, adding that details will be posted on the store’s website at www.woodburyshoppe.com.
If you want to experience more than Walking Dead fandom in Senoia, Main Street is full of antique and gift shops and unique restaurants.
We dined just a few shops down at Southern Grounds, a Tex-Mex style restaurant and bar owned by singer Zac Brown. Proceeds from that restaurant support Brown’s Camp Southern Ground, an outdoor camp for children of all abilities.
Buck says that’s her favorite restaurant in town, but she also recommends the Irish pub Maguire’s and Small Town Pizza.
Also located near downtown are Veranda Bed & Breakfast on Seavy Street. According to the city’s website, that’s where Margaret Mitchell interviewed Civil War veterans when she was researching “Gone With the Wind.”
While my guests and I didn’t venture too far off Main Street, Atlanta Movie Tours offers bus tours of filming locations, with stops in Atlanta and Senoia. For more information, visit www.atlantamovietours.com.
Where it is:
48 Main St.
Senoia, GA 30276
How to get there:
Senoia is a little over an hour’s drive from Reporter Newspapers communities. Take I-85 South through downtown Atlanta. After it splits from the Connector, go about 25 miles before turning right onto Seavy Street. Go another half mile and a take a slight right onto Johnson Street. After another half mile, turn left onto Main Street, and the Woodbury Shoppe will be on the right. Numerous other shops and restaurants are located on Main Street. To see The Walking Dead set from afar, walk to the southern end of Main Street and look south. Lots of production trailers will be visible if the show is currently filming.