(This article previously appeared on Grandparents.com.)
We all love a great film and most of us tune in each week to our favorite shows. What makes us watch? It's the characters we love (or love to hate), the engaging stories and the charming towns they're set in. Here, take a trip through some of the best television and movie towns that you can actually visit. Sounds like a great excuse for a road-trip, right?
1. Modern Family
Year: 2009 – Present
Town: Los Angeles, Calif.
Format: TV show
A man, his new, younger wife, her son and the families of his two grown children intertwine in this funny, satisfyingly heartfelt take on the "modern" family dynamic. If you're in the LA area, treat yourself to a Modern Family tour of homes. Glamour.com found the real-life addresses of all three houses, one each in Century City, Cheviot Hills and Brentwood — all are within a 15-minute drive of each other. But if you're hoping to buy Phil and Claire's four-bedroom Cheviot Hills abode, you just missed the boat: It sold for $2.15 million this summer.
2. The Andy Griffith Show
Town: Mayberry, N.C. (Based on Mount Airy, N.C.)
Year: 1960 – 1968
Format: TV show
While the small town of Mayberry is fictional, the set was strongly influenced by Mount Airy, N.C., the real-life birthplace of Andy Griffith, according to Roadsideamerica.com. In tribute to its most famous resident, downtown Mount Airy boasts a day's worth of Andy Griffith tourist attractions, including an impressively detailed Mayberry Courthouse replica (which you can tour inside and out), plus a working likeness of Wally's Service Station, the Andy Griffith Museum, Andy Griffith's boyhood home and the real-life "Snappy Lunch" eatery. Just don’t expect to find the Sheriff, his son Opie, or Aunt Bee around the corner.
3. The Amityville Horror
Town: Amityville, N.Y.
Years: 1979 and 2005
If you’re a horror film buff, you’ve probably seen the 2005 film and the 1979 version. The chilling tale: A family in a new home soon becomes haunted by the events of its history — with terrifying results. Visit the town and then drive past the 10-room Dutch Colonial at 112 Ocean Avenue, whose owners lowered the asking price in 2010, reportedly because they were anxious to sell — not because it's haunted.
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Town: Forks, Wash.
This vampire film had many a teenage girl in a tizzy — and not for naught. Suspense, romantic love-triangles, mythical creatures and more all set in a town too gorgeous to believe. If you’re more inclined to the literary, read the series — or make a night of it with the movies to see what all the fuss is about. Visit the town (perhaps using a handy "Twilight map," provided by Forkswa.com), go cliff-diving at nearby La Push beach, get a peek at Bella's red truck and even order the mushroom ravioli at Bella Italia eatery just a short drive away in Port Angeles. For the addresses of these tourist attractions, visit Seattlemag.com and read its Twilight Guide to Forks.
Town: Washington, D.C.
Year: 2012 – Present
Format: TV show
Political intrigue, romance, suspense and an inside perspective glue droves of Scandal fans to their sets each week, as crisis management expert Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) struggles to maintain a positive image for the president, while keeping her extramarital affair out of the limelight. If you're in the D.C. area, schedule a tour of the White House and stroll the grounds of the Washington Monument to reminisce on some of your favorite scenes. But if you want to see the real face of Scandal, you'll have to head to Los Angeles where the show is actually filmed, says Hollywood scoop site Seeing-stars.com. Drive by the Palace Theater at 630 S. Broadway and take a look at the ornate facade. Look familiar? It's the building that houses the show's "Olivia Pope & Associates" office. And the gatehouse guarding the White House that Olivia passes through almost daily? Those scenes are shot at Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif.
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6. Safe Haven
Town: Southport, N.C.
If you’ve seen the movie Safe Haven (which was adapted from a bestselling Nicholas Sparks book of the same name), you know that Southport really does prove to be a “safe haven” for abused-wife-on-the-run Katie (Julianne Hough). She starts a new life, finds a new love, recovers from and faces her battered past. Such a charming and quintessential little town — is it any wonder she finds the peace to reflect? On the fence about visiting? Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, where the lovers share their first kiss. But if you're hungry, head to Southport's Fishy Fishy Cafe, where the film's general store scenes were shot.
Town: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Year: 2006 – 2013
Format: TV show
If you’re a fan of mysteries, we’ll bet you’re a fan of Psych. Fictional character Shawn Spencer may only be pretending to be a psychic to help solve crimes in the Santa Barbara area, but his deductive reasoning skills prove effective enough without ESP. Plan to visit the Santa Barbara Courthouse, whose exterior is featured in the show, and while you're there, don't miss the building's Mural Room, which is decorated with 6,400 square feet of historical murals. Although the show is set in Santa Barbara, die-hard fans may want to also pay a visit to Vancouver, Canada, where much of the show was actually filmed. Budget in a few extra hours to drive to White Rock, whose rocky coastal beach is the perfect stand-in for scenes portraying the Santa Barbara coastline. This USA Network forum contains a detailed list of Psych filming locations in Vancouver.
8. Love Story
Town: Cambridge, Mass.
This classic, romantic tragedy of love found young and too soon lost has been breaking hearts for decades. To revisit this "good cry" movie, head to Cambridge and the Harvard University campus, at which several scenes were filmed. Emerson Hall, which was known as Barrett Hall in the movie, served as a backdrop in many scenes, and the John W. Weeks footbridge was the picturesque site where Oliver Barrett IV (Ryan O'Neal) proposes to girlfriend Jennifer Cavilleri (Ali MacGraw). Legend has it that damage was done to some of Harvard's campus during production, leading administrators to deny filming requests thereafter.
9. Sleepy Hollow
Town: Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, N.Y.
Year: 1999 (movie); 2013 – Present (TV)
Format: Movie and TV show
If you’re a fan of the works of Washington Irving, films starry Johnny Depp, or just on a hunt for the Headless Horseman, look no further than real life Sleepy Hollow and nearby Tarrytown, N.Y. Visit the charming community and the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground, as you embrace the Legend, deeply grounded in American folklore.
10. Sleepless in Seattle
Town: Seattle, Wash.
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, in one of their best film pairings, star as Sam and Annie, wistful singletons who live on opposite ends of the country (Seattle and Baltimore). They're brought together by Hanks' adorably frank son and a call-in radio show. Do like Sam does in this film: Wander downtown to Pike Place Market, and then retire to your multimillion-dollar houseboat on Lake Union. Or rather, take a gander at the houseboat that played his in the movie, while enjoying Seattle's 2 1/2-hour Locks Cruise Tour from Argosy Cruises. If you’re on the East Coast, arrange to meet someone special at NYC’s Empire State Building, the rendezvous point for Sam and Annie when they finally meet.
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