Don’t look back, Carl

After chasing walkers all through backwoods Georgia today, we finally arrived -- and survived. #Terminus #TheWalkingDead

After chasing walkers all through backwoods Georgia today, we finally arrived — and survived. #Terminus #TheWalkingDead

Atlanta’s been called the Hollywood of the South. But today, backwoods Georgia took center stage.

Truly, I shouldn’t be a fan of The Walking Dead. I don’t like blood, I don’t like gore, I don’t like action. But somehow, I fell in love with the dorky little drama about Georgians caught in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. And I’m not alone. The Walking Dead is the most watched drama in basic cable history and has a fan base as passionate as any.

After doing our research and lots of free time on our hands, Andrew and I decided to take the day trip down to Griffin, Georgia, to see the filming for the upcoming season. We found we were far from the only fans crowding the small-town streets, looking out for their favorite characters. First, Carol came out to film a few scenes in her iconic station wagon, which we surmised must be a flashback.

A bit later, we moved down the street and saw none other than Norman Reedus who plays the most eccentric survivor, Daryl — one of my favorite characters. Though the alley scene was covered with a white sheet to prevent us from seeing the action, Reedus was always waving to the fans lined up on the street and mingling with his admirers. The genuine love the cast has for the fans who come out to watch them is so mutual and defies every Hollywood stereotype. This isn’t your average television show, for sure.

We made friends with a couple who had brought their two young sons to scope out the action. They told us they had made a not-to-be-missed stop on the way in Senoia, Georgia, the setting for Woodbury, a too-good-to-be-true refuge from the post-apocalyptic world swarming with zombies, and most of the regular series filming on a private, secluded property.

So after a few hours in Griffin, we made the trek a few miles west to Senoia and started squealing, seeing that the one-street town was a dead-ringer for the fictional Woodbury — absolutely nothing had been altered for filming. Following their suggestion, we headed to the Woodbury Shoppe, which in its basement housed a free, open-to-the-public collection of authentic Walking Dead sets and memorabilia.

We drove back up to Atlanta with one stop to make along the way — Terminus. In the season finale, the cast made it to the place whose motto was “all who arrive, survive”  and were promptly shoved into a rail car — cue cliffhanger. While standing on a road near Turner Field, it was incredible knowing this was the very place the new season would pick up from.

We didn’t think it could get much cooler until we wandered down the road and saw the “A” rail car — the very car the cast is currently trapped in. We were able to walk a few steps into Terminus and pointed out every major moment from the season finale — “That’s where they were shot at! That’s where Carl ran from! That’s where the room with the candles was! That’s the path they took!” It was another set completely untouched by movie magic. Even Andrew, normally reserved and near-impossible to excite, was undeniably wowed.

I may have only started watching TWD this winter, but Georgia brought one of our favorite shows to life today and October — and with it, the season five premiere — can’t come soon enough.

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