To all the Sweet Magnolias fans, here are the towns (yep, there are more than one) your favorite Netflix show is set in. Three towns of Georgia were reportedly brought together to create the town of Serenity, South Carolina that you see in the show. In more ways than one, the town itself is an important cast member with its magnolia trees and grand colonial buildings.
The show owes its feel-good spirit to the heartwarming friendship of its central trio – Maddie (JoAnna Garcia), Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott), and Helen (Heather Headley). But it but also owes it to the cosy porches and lush lawns of Serenity.
The town of Serenity in Sweet Magnolias has drawn comparisons to yet another fictional town of Stars Hollow from another Netflix favourite, Gilmore Girls.
Once the lockdown ends, I am sure these Georgian towns are going to witness quite a good number of visitors. It includes Covington, Georgia and Sumter, South Carolina. While the first two was where the show was shot, it is the last one that inspired author Sheryl Woods to write the original novels.
Is Serenity, South Carolina for real?
Nope, Serenity, South Carolina is entirely a figment of Sheryl Woods’ imagination which has been build upon by Sheryl J. Anderson, showrunner of the Netflix adaptation.
In the introduction to Stealing Home, the first book in the series, Woods wrote, “Developing Serenity for this new series had a special meaning for me. Each year as I travel from my home in Key Biscayne, Florida to my family’s summer cottage in Colonial Beach, Virginia, I make a stop in Sumter, South Carolina, to visit one of my family’s oldest and dearest friends, Donnie Clemons.”
She also explained that Clemons moved to the town from Washington, D.C.
Woods dedicated Stealing Home to Dottie and her “newly adopted community of Sumter.”
As for Serenity, as visualized by Sheryl Anderson, it was brought to life in Georgia.
“[Writer and producer] Sheryl Anderson repeated, throughout the shooting of the show, that it was important that everyone might see themselves in Serenity. I like that idea more than ever these days—Serenity not just as a place, but a state of mind,” show’s director Norman Buckley wrote on Instagram.
Nevertheless, you can visit the very spots which make up Serenity to better meditate on the idea of the small town. Like Sullivan’s or The Corner Spa. Scroll on to find out where is the actual restaurant and spa building and how you can visit it.
The show has been majorly filmed in the small town of Covington, Georgia. Now, for those, if you who may have experienced a strange sense of deja vù looking at Serenity, you’re not alone.
The town has been the background of many TV and movie productions.
According to IMDb, over 250 works have been filmed in Covington, including the beloved Sweet Home Alabama, Remember the Titans, and Ava DuVernay’s Selma. However, the most popular one is definitely The Vampire Diaries, a popular fantasy show that ran from 2009 to 2017.
It’s alright if you didn’t immediately recognize Serenity for what it was considering a lot of The Vampire Diaries happened at night. In contrast, Sweet Magnolias was only blooming in broad daylight.
Now you know that Covington was Serenity, South Carolina and it was Mystic Falls, Virginia of The Vampire Diaries.
Covington is located less than an hour east of Atlanta and is a popular filming location. So much so that it is even home to the first TV and movie-centric museum in Georgia.
Visiting Sullivan’s & The Corner Spa
The Sullivan’s restaurant from the Sweet Magnolias was also featured in The Vampire Diaries. Known as Mystic Grill, the establishment’s Instagram page recently uploaded a picture of the restaurant transformed into Sullivan’s.
However, many feel that of all the 250 productions Covington was featured in, Sweet Magnolias does the greatest justice to its beauty and small-town charm. Fans are particularly loving the soapy twists and turns that play out against the backdrop of this charming Southern town.
“The setting is perfect for the romantic twists and turns told in Sweet Magnolias,” a post on GoCovington proudly proclaims.
Meanwhile, the historic Lee-Porter Mansion provided the exterior shots for The Corner Spa. The Mansion also plays an important role in the lives of the Magnolias’ heroines. It is also depicted as the heart of the entire town.
The high school and the church are two of the most important settings for the show after Sullivan’s and The Corner Spa.
For both of these, the crew headed outside of Covington. According to Newsweek, Serenity High School is actually the Henry County Middle School in the nearby town of McDonough.
As for Serenity’s Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, these scenes were actually filmed at Oakhurst Presbyterian in Decatur.
Also, read our review of the show and the updates on a sequel season. Comment below and let us know what you think of this latest Netflix show.