As part of our trip through Georgia earlier this summer, we spent a night in Covington, GA. We’d been there before in 2011, and had longed to return when we could spend a little more time. For us, Covington is somewhat of a ‘holy grail’ site to visit, as it was the home to the first 5 episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard (which were the best ever), several seasons of In the Heat of the Night, the scene in Cannonball Run where Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise land their plane off the town square to grab more beer, and countless other shows and movies. If any single one of these productions had been filmed there, it would be worth the trip for us, but all combined makes this an even more special place. The Dukes of Hazzard was first broadcast in January of 1979, and ran through 1985. In the Heat of the Night premiered in 1988 and ran through 1995. The first few episodes of HOTN were filmed in other cities, but by December of 1988, all future episodes were in Covington. So, what this means for me is that except for a three year gap in the mid 1980’s, I was watching shows filmed in or originally based in Covington from the ages of 3 to 19. Add in anything Burt Reynolds, and we have a winner!
‘The Old Mill’ – In the Heat of the Night – Main Street, Porterdale, GA
Our first stop on the way into town was at a location often referred to in Heat as ‘the old mill’. This is actually in Porterdale, GA just outside of Covington. Several events throughout the filming of the series occurred in or around this site. To me, the mill site is very iconic just from the surrounding nature and the angles that the crew would film from. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a still image from the show to compare what it looked like back then to today, and it is also private property so it is difficult to get close to the site. We pulled off the road into a driveway blocked by a fence, but i was enough to get a good image of the site.
The square was the site of so many scenes from so many shows. I could write for days about all of the scenes I remember that included the square. You just need to go there, park your car, and walk all around to capture all of it. A few of my favorite scenes around the square are in an early episode of Dukes where the boys and Jesse go to the courthouse, a chase in early Dukes around the square, Chief Gillespie sitting on a bench next to the old war statue, Bubba and the gang patrolling the streets around the square, and of course JJ McClure landing his plane so that Victor could run into a store for more beer.
After stopping at the square, it was time for some rest, as we had driven down to Atlanta, gone all around town stopping at other sites, and then came out to Covington. We headed out to our motel, had a DoorDash driver bring us some dinner, and got some much needed sleep. Our Challenger even got to spend the night next to a relative in the parking lot.
Covington / Newton County Visitors Bureau – 2101 Clark Street SW
The next morning we stopped at the Visitors Center in town. Inside there is a treasure trove of information about the town and filming sites, in addition to tons of artifacts from the film productions. One thing that we learned, was that the The Vampire Diaries was also filmed in Covington. It seems as this is now by far the most popular show filmed there, as it was more recent and has a huge following. The morning we stopped at the Visitors Center, there was a group of about 40 people embarking on a guided tour of the The Vampire Diaries sites. Outside the center are town signs from ‘Sparta’ from Heat, as well as ‘Mystic Falls’ from The Vampire Diaries. I don’t know anything about The Vampire Diaries other than when I got back home and told the rest of the family it was filmed there, my 17 year old daughter was not happy that she wasn’t with us. Also within the visitors center, you can get maps and information about filming locations and a walk of stars that they have through town.
Police Station – In the Heat of the Night – 1174 Monticello Street SW
The police station from Heat is located just south of the town square. Today, this is a medical supply business. Every episode filmed in Covington included multiple shots around this building.
The Boars Nest – The Dukes of Hazzard – 290 Flat Rock Road, Oxford, GA
Just outside of Covington is the location of The Boars Nest, Boss Hogg’s fine dining and entertainment establishment! Well, maybe not so fine. Today, this is a church. Hard to believe that! The gates are normally locked, and you should remember to be respectful if you visit the site. We snapped a quick photo from the top of the driveway and were on our way.
Jesse Duke Farmhouse – The Dukes of Hazzard – 2201 Lenora Rd, Loganville, GA
Our last stop in the area was to see the Duke Farmhouse. We were lucky in 2011, as we were through the area just before the cabin portion of the building was demolished. From what we have learned, the farm house seen in the show had been built around a civil war era cabin. When the house was torn down, the cabin was discovered and was kept for a few years, until it became too dangerous to leave. Today all that is left is the chimney, but it is still cool to drive by and see. It may be difficult to pick up in the image below, but the chimney is just to the left end of the growth you see in the middle of the picture.
And with that, we were off! Next week’s blog post will conclude this three part trip recap, and will include our stops in Dawsonville, GA and Gatlinburg, TN, as well as our ride up ‘The Dragon’.
We really enjoyed our time in Covington and will be back soon, as we left much undiscovered. Visit www.gocovington.com for more information about all things Covington!