Wholesome programming is exactly what we need right now, which is probably why so many people are tuning in to watch Netflix's newly released series Sweet Magnolias. The show, which is based on a series of romance novels by Sherryl Woods, follows the lives of three best friends as they navigate career moves, family drama, and of course, falling in and out of love. Sweet Magnolias has the pure and uplifting feel of a Hallmark Channel movie, with the added appeal of a quintessential Southern backdrop. The story's heroines, Maddie, Dana Sue, and Helen, all live in the fictional town of Serenity, South Carolina, and its charming vibe is key to bringing the story to life.
In a recent Instagram post Norman Buckley, who directed six episodes and served as a producer for the series, wrote, "[writer and producer] Sheryl Anderson repeated, throughout the shooting of the show, that it was important that everyone might see themselves in Serenity. I like that idea more than ever these days — Serenity not just as a place, but a state of mind." To capture that special essence of Serenity, the show was primarily shot in the real-world town of Covington, Georgia.
Covington, which is located about 35 miles east of Atlanta, has been the filming location for over 250 movies, shows, and shorts, per IMDB. Sweet Magnolias, which began production last summer and wrapped in the fall, is the most recent title to use the town to build its fictional world. "The beautiful, quaint downtown area provides the perfect backdrop for this new romance-drama," reads a blog post on GoCovington.com that also shares a few of the show's most important locations. First up, there's Mystic Grill, which overlooks the historic Covington Square and serves as Sullivan's, the restaurant that Dana Sue owns and works as a chef at in the show.
Recently, Mystic Grill, which specialises in "traditional southern food with a twist," shared some behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram. Accompanying the images, the restaurant wrote, "We are excited to be part of the Dana Sue storyline!" Based on other Instagram photos shared by Mystic Grill, it was also featured in several episodes of The Vampire Diaries.
The Corner Spa is another fictional spot that plays a pivotal role in the new Netflix series. Viewers see Helen purchase a breathtaking mansion which she works with Maddie and Dana Sue to convert into a spa. In real life, the Corner Spa is actually three different places. While interior scenes at the spa were shot on a sound stage, some exterior shots, according to GoCovington.com, are of a law office that's located a short walk from Covington Square. Newsweek reports that other exterior shots are of the historic Lee-Porter Mansion. Since being built in 1912, the Greek revival home has appeared in many shows and movies, including HBO's Bessie starring Queen Latifa.
The show's production team also looked to locations outside of Covington. The actual location of Serenity's high school, according to Newsweek, is Henry County Middle School in the nearby town of McDonough. Finally, scenes set at Serenity's Prince of Peace Lutheran Church were filmed at Oakhurst Presbyterian in Decatur, Georgia.
According to Instagram posts from both Anderson and Buckley, Prince of Peace was the most difficult spot to scout. "Finding the right church for #SweetMagnolias was probably our biggest location challenge," Buckley shared. "Sheryl is not exaggerating when she says we were running out of time. But this one was perfect and they were so welcoming to us. Thank you to Oakhurst Presbyterian for pretending to be Lutheran!"