Nicholas Sparks’s novels, truly made me a fan of the North Carolina region of the United States from the moment I first read A Walk to Rememberin 2000. I initially bought it because I liked the cover and was hooked by the very first page. I still remember reading it, even now. In the decades after, every story I read offered a beautifully romantic backdrop entwined with some of the most unforgettable love stories ever written. Having these stories turned into films was the cherry on top of an already delicious sundae for me. They made me love these stories even more.
The Notebookstory is an amazing one. But the fact that it was inspired by Sparks’s then wife Cathy’s grandparents, is even more so. When I met him and participated in a Q and A in Melbourne back when The Best of Me novel was released; he spoke about this love story, and although there was no ‘notebook’ as such, Cathy’s grandfather would tell the story to his wife about how they met and fell in love all those years ago to help her remember…and the rest is history.
Even better, there is a sequel that many people do not even know about: The Wedding, which follows life after Allie’s death (which the film’s ending of The Notebook didn’t show); and the story of one of their children and the state of his marriage. It actually is a very good book, and i really recommend Notebook fans read it. I really enjoyed the The Wedding more than I expected to.
Watching the story on screen was beautiful. Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling were electric and everything I wanted Noah and Allie to be. But aside from the sexual tension and kisses in the rain…and the ‘I wrote you every day for a year’ speeches; it was the city of Charleston, South Carolina posing as the small town of Seabrook that truly stole my heart.
I have visited this city three times now and every time I feel like I am living in The Notebook story…though seeing locations from the film only added to this feeling!
So, if you head to Charleston…what locations can you see from ‘The Notebook’?
Well, there are many to see. And while I am still yet to track down some of these because they are further out of town, (including the white house with the blue shutters which is a private residence). Here are just some of the places I have seen so far that made me love this film so much more, and are very easy to find when you visit.
The Notebook – The Intersection Noah & Allie Lay Down
This location was one of the most interesting I have seen simply because of the differences which exist between how it really looks, and how it was decorated to reflect the 1940s (if you refer to the film and then the intersection to compare it).
The attention to detail that was used is really amazing when you stand at this intersection and imagine the scene where Allie and Noah lie down and almost get run over…leading to her fit of giggles. Then…they dance in the street. I just love seeing this location, and it is so central to the main city centre that you have to stop by to see it.
This intersection is found at King St and Mary St, Charleston. ‘I’ll be seeing you’ there!
The Notebook – Theater Noah & Allie Have Their First Date
Still on King St, there is another location to see: the theater where Allie and Noah have their first date. This exterior is shown in the film when they arrive and leave the theater with their friends.
It is easy to see why this location was chosen because it is still a very historic theater, which was built in 1942. You will walk right past it to get to the intersection I just mentioned – so it is worth a stop in any case.
The ‘American Theater’ is located at 446 King St, Charleston.
The Notebook – The Street Lon Waits For Allie
Sometimes filming locations are in beautiful places, with the choice to use the ‘College of Charleston’ campus as the Sarah Lawrence college Allie attends while WWII is raging. After meeting Lon, an injured American soldier, after her Summer romance with Noah ends; Lon waits for Allie right in this very spot which sits across the road from the College entrance (in front of a pink/red coloured building) to ask her for a date.
This location can be found right before the intersection of George and Glebe Streets, right outside the College of Charleston campus entrance called Porter’s Lodge.
The Notebook – Calhoun Mansion
(Interior Of The Hamilton’s Summer House)
Now this location is one of the coolest. Not only do you get to see the interior of one of Charleston’s most beautiful historic homes, you also get to re-live the scenes set inside the Hamilton’s Summer home as they were shot right here at Calhoun Mansion.
The scenes where Noah is deemed unsuitable for Allie by her parents, leading to their demise; as well as the morning the Hamilton’s leave Seabrook to return home were all filmed right here. Seeing the dining room and walking down the staircase just like Allie is pretty cool too! I loved it!
Unfortunately, photography is prohibited once you are inside, but just being able to re-live the scenes is enough for any fan walking through this house, as it looks exactly the same as the film’s set.
Tours are available daily from 11am-5pm every 30 minutes, with an admission of $15.
Calhoun Mansion is located at 16 Meeting St, Charleston.
The Notebook – Boone Hall Plantation
(Exterior Of The Hamilton’s Summer House)
The BEST location I have ever seen is Boone Hall Plantation. Now I have seen many filming locations in my life, but this still remains the grandest of them all. I spent an hour just walking up and down the Oak Alley Avenue driveway – I loved it that much!
Boone Hall Plantation is just the loveliest place! This was the location of the exterior of the Hamilton’s Summer home in Seabrook, and the best part about it is there are many scenes to re-live at this very spot.
Whether it is the backyard party, Noah and Allie swimming in the Creek, the break-up scene or the moment Noah’s truck hits the locked gates once Allie has left Seabrook; you can imagine them all happening right here!
In an even better twist, this plantation was also the location where Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were married in 2012 (I love them!) – And on an even more relevant side note – Ryan Reynolds mentions “Nicholas Sparks’s ‘The Notebook’” in his film Just Friends…coincidence – hmm??
Boone Hall Plantation is a beautiful attraction in Charleston whether you are a fan of The Notebook or not. This was also the filming location for the classic mini-series North and South.
You really need to allow half a day to enjoy this place…and the driveway!
‘Boone Hall Plantation’ is open March-September (check for dates) 8:30am-6:30pm Monday-Saturday, and 12pm-5pm Sundays. But also be sure to check on the day, as some events may close certain areas on particular days. Admission is set at $20, and allows you entrance to everything.
‘Boone Hall Plantation’ is found at 1235 Long Point Road, Mt Pleasant.
Charleston is one of my favourite cities. I love its historic feel and the friendly people. I could live here tomorrow. Hopefully these locations make you see the value in visiting this city…and once you do, you will want to watch The Notebook again just to re-live it all.
My love for this story and this film is eternal, having experienced it all for myself.
It will never be over.