Warning- - I'm about to gush about my favorite TV show: One Tree Hill. I realize that 99% of you had no idea the series was still running until now, but that's okay. The remaining 1% of you were the ones who bawled your eyes out alongside me this past week and are more than aware that the number of days until the series finale has officially reached single digits. Seriously, nine days until there will never again be a new episode of One Tree Hill to watch. I'm trying not to think about it. In the meantime, I ventured down to "Tree Hill" this past weekend for a little bit of reminiscing and closure of my own :)
• • • • •
With that being said, here we go: I've conveyed my love for the teen drama/soap opera before. More than once. What you don't know, however, is that I'm not the only one who loves the show. Zach Jones is a One Tree Hill fan.
It's true. See that picture of my One Tree Hill Season 1 collection above? I'm willing to bet that it is one of very few OTH DVDs that has traveled from the States to Afghanistan and back again. I had tried to get Zach to watch an episode or two with me over the years, but he was never really that into it. That is... until he deployed.
The time had come for me to ship Zach's last package & I still had a little bit of empty space at the top. Glancing around my room, I saw the DVDs on my bookshelf & thought, "why not?" Worst case scenario: he doesn't watch them and they end up back on my shelf in a couple of months. Best case scenario: he is so bored out of his mind from standing on guard force for 12 hours straight every day that he watches the entire season and gets hooked. And what do you know... best case scenario totally prevailed! He's watched two more seasons completely on his own since he's been back :)
Ever since then, we've been planning a trip down to Wilmington where the series was filmed. This past Saturday, our schedules finally synched up, so I set out for Jacksonville before the crack of dawn & we made the trek to "Tree Hill" together.
First things first: coffee, obviously :) We hit up Port City Java on the corner of Front & Grace, which was actually the setting of Karen's Cafe in the pilot episode before they built the permanent set. Ironically enough, it becomes the setting of the rival coffee shop that opens in season 9: Tree Hill Cafe.
Directly across the street is the set for Karen's Cafe/Clothes over Bros:
(The outside of the building when I came with my sister three years ago // now)
(Again, the windows three years ago v. a glimpse inside now. Everything's gone!)
We did a lot more wandering around downtown Wilmington:
Row 1: the fountain from Quinn/Jamie's treasure hunt in season 7; the site of the Burning Boat Festival that will be seen in this week's episode :) [view from both sides of the river]
Row 2: tables along the Riverwalk; CD Alley where Max & Chris Keller worked; TRIC
CD Alley used to be an actual record store, but now it's a random souvenir shop. They even carry a little bit of Tree Hill memorabilia :)
After fully exhausting "tourist" mode, we kicked things up a few notches on the creeper-meter and went out in search of the houses where the characters live on the show. You can decide if that makes us a tad stalkerish-obsessive or simply awesome. I'm gonna vote awesome :)
Lucas' (and Karen's) house
Lucas & Karen on the porch during the season 6 finale
Fortunately for us, my bfsb (Lauren) went on a Tree Hill adventure of her own just a couple a weeks ago and informed us that this house is up for sale & nobody is currently living in it. (Her brother lives three doors down, score!) Permission to creep further? Don't mind if I do...
The picture on the right is the side door that was used for Lucas' bedroom.
The next stop was Peyton's house, which actually belongs to author John Jeremiah Sullivan. I took a documentary writing seminar class at Duke last semester & John Jeremiah Sullivan hung out with us for a day. We had to read some of his writings before he came to class, so I naturally selected his most recent piece published in GQ about living in the house while the One Tree Hill cast filmed (the opening line of the article is "Practically every day, cars stop in front of our house and people get out to take pictures of it...") Haha, guilty :)
Brooke & Peyton in front of Peyton's house during season 4
Look at the Sullivan family rocking the Moravian star on their front porch! My hometown is so proud :)
We continued creeping/exploring & found Brooke's house...
I loved the little ball at the bottom of the steps :)
Brooke's house with Felix/Anna's house next door
...as well as Nathan/Dan/Deb's house:
Eek, look at the basketball goal through the arch!
Next, we ventured to the 6th street bridge used in the opening credits:
Had to wait for a red light, obviously. People always leave <3
It was incredibly windy, as well as the strangest combination of nasty raining downpour/gorgeous sun/insane humidity all day long. Nothing left to say but "c'est la vie: my hair is what it is."
While on the bridge, Zach noted that things would be perfect if we had the theme song playing. Why didn't I think of that? Three seconds later, Gavin DeGraw's voice filled the air via my iPhone speakers. I may or may not have sang along...quite dramatically :)
Oops, a little blurry on the left. Gotta focus the self-timer better.
Our last stop in Tree Hill was the home of the River Court, which is super bittersweet because they actually tore it up after they finished filming back in November.
the River Court in 2009
the River Court now... as if a patch of fake grass is really going to make everyone forget it ever existed :(
We love you, River Court! Thanks for the memories & the remaining two episodes that are sure to have me bawling my eyes out all over again <3
And thus concluded our One Tree Hill adventures. No worries; our time in Wilmington was far from over. We spent the afternoon having much more "mature historical adventures" that you'll get to see later this week. Until then, teenage soap opera drama-filled adventures with a side of stalker-creeping it is :)