It’s not often that you go on a day trip for zombies and find out that your sister is a Disney Princess, but that’s exactly what happened on my visit to Senoia, GA this week.
My baby sister, Abby, tagged along for my latest trip to the picturesque town southwest of Atlanta. I had been there once a few years ago, but I arrived late and didn’t get to see much. This time we left early enough to get there around 10:30 a.m. I picked a Tuesday to make it easier for us to socially distance while exploring too.
Our first stop when we arrived was, of course, The Woodbury Shoppe. If you watch The Walking Dead, you’ll recognize the name for the store as the name of the town from the second season. It makes sense because Senoia’s Main Street is easily recognized as the set for the town. The official shop for The Walking Dead has every single bit of merchandise you could imagine as well as costumes and set pieces from the show. I asked if we could wander upstairs, but the salespeople told me they’re working to turn that part of the store into a Walking Dead museum. It had previously been in the basement. I can’t wait to come back and see that once it’s finished. Meanwhile, Abby and I entertained ourselves by posing with the hospital doors from the first episode.
When we we’re driving into town, we spotted a place called Beez Freeze. The snowball place seemed like the perfect way to cool off, so we swung by after putting our Walking Dead goodies in the car. Since it was a Tuesday, there was only a small group of people at Beez Freeze. It made it very easy to keep six feet of distance between our groups while ordering and eating.
Normally, my go-to snowball flavor is Tiger Blood, but this time I decided to try the Georgia Peach. Abby asked the guy working the counter what flavor he recommended. He said one of his favorites was Polar Punch, so that’s what she went with. Both flavors were absolutely delicious! Mine tasted just like a peach, and Abby’s tasted like punch but not overwhelming. There was one thing on the menu we were curious about but didn’t try. It’s called a Zombee, banana with cream and chocolate syrup. Intriguing. Maybe I’ll try that next time.
Using a map we picked up at The Woodbury Shoppe, we decided to walk around town and look at spots featured in various film and TV productions. Most were from The Walking Dead, but we did see locations used for Fried Green Tomatoes, Sweet Home Alabama, Drop Dead Diva, and The Fighting Temptations (I hadn’t thought of that film in ages.).
Alexandria, one of the main locations since season five of The Walking Dead, is really easy to spot. The entire neighborhood is walled off with the windmill peaking out over the tree line. Abby and I weren’t able to go in, but we did get a few pictures outside.
One thing I learned from my time working in Seaside, Florida when I was younger is if you want to check out fun spots or delicious restaurants in the places you visit, ask salespeople for their tips. The Woodbury Shoppe employees told us to check out Starr’s Mill and Barbie Beach. Starr’s Mill was used in Fried Green Tomatoes and Sweet Home Alabama. Aside from the film ties, it looked like a cute spot to take pictures, so we hopped back in the car and headed over.
It was gorgeous! As we parked and got out of the car, it was easy to see why this location was picked for a rom-com. The sound of the waterfall flowing and the trees gently swaying around the bright red mill just scream romance. Of course, that was when it started raining. Abby and I risked getting completely soaked to take pictures and video before running back to the car. If this had been a rom-com, this is the part where Abby would’ve met her true love, but I guess our life isn’t a rom-com because that didn’t happen. Oh, well. Wet and shivering but happy with our pictures, we headed back to Senoia for lunch at Nic & Norman’s.
Earlier in the day, Abby had spotted a butterfly on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. She relocated it to a windowsill to keep it from being stepped on, but it flew away and landed back on the sidewalk. After a few more attempts to move it somewhere safer, we decided to leave it perched on a curb. I managed to get a few pictures of her looking very Disney princess-esque with the butterfly. Why am I telling you about my sister and a butterfly? Well, when we walked into Nic & Norman’s, the server and hostess squealed. They had seen Abby playing with the butterfly earlier and had hoped she would come in so they could meet a real Disney Princess. I started laughing and told them she also made friends with two cats while we were walking around. The hostess insisted that Abby needed to start randomly breaking into song for full effect.
Nic & Norman’s is owned by Greg Nicotero and Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead. The menu offers some fantastic burgers, curious entrees like brisket mac and cheese, and smooth cocktails. Abby and I tried the new vegetarian sliders (two thumbs up from me), and I had a cocktail called a Blind Squirrel. Abby was disappointed it didn’t contain any actual squirrel parts and suggested it should have eyeballs floating in it. Eyeballs in drinks really aren’t my thing, so I thought it was just fine the way it was.
Before we left town, we stopped by Barbie Beach. Years ago, my other sister and I actually ended up there when we got lost on the way to a wedding. We honestly were worried that we had hallucinated it, so we had to turn around and took a picture just to prove it was real. So what does Barbie Beach look like? It’s a fever dream with Barbie dolls, action figures, and a Britney Spears play stage.
The owners of the property said they decided to create it after their rose bushes were destroyed leaving a sandy patch that wouldn’t grow anything else. It’s just so odd that I had to take Abby there to experience the wonder (and confusion) herself.
Our day trip was so much fun! I think I’ve convinced some of my roller skating friends to come back with me when the weather is cooler. Our plan is to skate around to different filming locations. Maybe we’ll be able to go inside Alexandria this time. I mean, that’s what the zombie really apocalypse needs: roller skaters and Disney Princesses.