With only a few exceptions, there is perhaps no greater warmth to a Walking Dead fan’s heart than getting to walk in the footsteps of their beloved group of characters and getting to see first hand the very grounds upon which the galaxy’s very best zombie apocalypse show is actually filmed.
For Walking Dead fans, such a place does indeed exist and could be considered to be the current day ‘Mecca‘ for all things zombie if you will. That place is a very quaint and picturesque small town about forty five minutes Southeast of Atlanta Georgia, which goes by the name Senoia.
Senoia’s most prominent resident these days is a large wall of rusty corrugated metal surrounding a small subdivision of contemporary homes and townhouses which serve as none other than the Alexandria walled safe-zone, currently at the center of Robert Kirkman’s opus and hit AMC zombie apocalypse drama The Walking Dead.
As soon as you begin to enter into the center of Senoia it is as if you are immediately transported into the world of the Walking Dead, as the unmistakable walls that protect Rick and his people majestically appear to accompany the wide child-like smile you will have on your face as soon as you see it.
Second only to the walls which Reg and Deanna built is the rolling hill of downtown Woodbury, which also functions as the main drag of Senoia. And even more captivating upon a Walking Dead fan’s senses are the unmistakable train tracks leading to Terminus, which happen to be right in between Woodbury and Alexandria in the heart of downtown Senoia, Georgia.
So as a Walking Dead fan finds them self standing right at the bottom of the Governor’s Woodbury, they can literally stand on the tracks leading to Terminus while staring at the walls protecting Alexandria and once you add in the Southern charm of the actual town of Senoia all around you, you begin to fall in love with your favorite show’s actual home town, because its just so darn cute.
If you go up the main street into the Governor’s territory, you can’t help but notice all of the cute shops, store fronts and eateries, which also happen to be the very stores visited from time to time by the actual stars of The Walking Dead. At the bottom of the street there is a cute little eatery with a perfect view of the cast trailers right across the street, which is always guarded but still fun to watch as a production bus will drive in and out from time to time with a handful of actors.
If you follow the tracks in the middle of town affectionately used to travel to the perceived safety of Terminus for just a little bit, you can actually find a number of locations used in the filming of the show, such as the house Carl ate chocolate pudding on top off, the location used as the Governor’s house, the place where Glenn and Tara enter into a caved in tunnel as well as various other locations used throughout the series.
Many of the locations used in filming The Walking Dead can be visited throughout much of Senoia as well as many of the surrounding towns and counties, including Atlanta, and will serve to make any Walking Dead fan’s experience that much richer. The following is a link to Google Maps, with all of the locations which can be visited first hand simply by clicking on the appropriate icon, which will give a brief description of the location as it was used in the series as well as the GPS coordinates needed in order to drive to any of the desired locations.
Speaking from a personal note however, the most fun had by myself and those who accompanied me during two separate visits to Senoia, did in fact center around downtown Senoia as the most magnificent of the locations were for me the actual walls of Alexandria, along with the train tracks to Terminus and downtown Senoia/Woodbury. There is also however a Walking Dead store with all manner of Walking Dead merchandise along the main street in Senoia, which not only has a coffee shop downstairs, but also serves as a museum with actual props from the show.
You can sit in Darryl’s prison cell, you can see one of the motorcycles ridden by Norman Reedus, as well as the chair Andrea lost her life in, the cage the Governor’s daughter was kept in as well as a replica of the doors from the very first episode revealing that there are in fact dead inside.
While visitors cannot get close enough to touch the walls of the zombie safe zone from the street, you can indeed walk all around the streets surrounding the walls so long as you do not pass the various barriers, no trespassing signs and security personnel.
But the more daring and creative Walking Dead fans might be able to find small nooks and crannies all along the rusty walls which allow more freedom of movement to such a degree that you may just be able to come upon less visible aspects of the walled safe zone and actually touch the hallowed walls protecting Rick and the rest of his motley crew of zombie killers.
I myself was able to get to touch and pose for pictures along the back part of Alexandria’s walled community and also made it to within twenty or thirty feet of the gated entrance to Alexandria. This was in part due to stealth and blind fan-boy devotion which was actually accompanied by a good deal of luck with respect to my actually getting close to the front gate.
As to actually getting to touch and posing in front of Alexandria’s wall, I simply asked a private property owner if I could venture through their back yard as it was my birthday; wanting nothing more than to touch the protective walls of my favorite show. Luckily, good old fashioned Southern hospitality won the day and off I went with permission to walk through someone’s property and straight on to the hollowed walls themselves.
Likewise, a pretty good place to get a glimpse at the walls of Alexandria is in the parking lot of the town post office, which has some trees which are ideal for not only hiding behind, but also poking your camera through and getting some images of what ever happened to be positioned there by the crew that day. In my case, I was able to see what we now know to be the truck that ran into the side of Alexandria’s walls, causing the tower to fall, which allowed all of the walkers into the safe zone.
Likewise, on the second weekend that I made the trek to Senoia, I was lucky enough to get in contact with the good folks at The Spoiling Dead Fans Facebook page, who helped guide me to a location that I just missed filming at hours before. I was however able to see production crews hard at work packing up assorted lights, tents and equipment at a run down and depressed gas station which is in fact operational, but looked as if it really was a part of the zombie apocalypse. This scene happened to be the scene from last week’s episode of the Walking Dead in which Paul Monroe or ‘Jesus’ was introduced into the show.
Needless to say, making the pilgrimage to Senoia Georgia is well worth the effort, especially if you are lucky enough to go when the show is in production. Apart from being able to walk in the footsteps of your favorite Walking Dead characters, you just never know what or who you will see.
While the show is not shooting at present, the new season typically has begun shooting in early May, so anytime between May and the early part of November is an ideal time to make your way to the ‘Mecca’ or the Holy Land of all things zombie. A word to the wise however, overzealous fans have in the past caused disruptions to the Walking Dead production company and as such, there are more strict rules for the crew and cast of the show, so please be respectful as you enjoy walking around in the zombie apocalypse friends.