In honor of The Notebook film’s 15th anniversary today, we’ve compiled fun facts, history, + more about the various locations of Noah Calhoun + Allie Hamilton’s iconic love story, which was mainly filmed right here in Charleston. The adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ first book written in 1996 became an extremely popular film in 2004 and still remains a favorite today.
So, why CHS for a North Carolina-based novel?
When scouting out filming locations, producers fell in love with Charleston + created the fictional town of “Seabrook, S.C.” as the main setting of the movie, despite the novel taking place in the real town of New Bern, N.C. (Although Seabrook + Seabrook Island are real places in S.C., the city in The Notebook is completely fictional. Seabrook Island even has a helpful post on its website clarifying this as it gets mistaken quite often.)
How did the Canadian actress + actor prepare for southern roles?
The film’s stars Rachel McAdams + Ryan Gosling were coincidentally both born in London, Canada. To prepare for their roles as South Carolinians, they both spent time living in Charleston to understand the southern lifestyle prior to filming. Gosling spent time rowing the Ashley River + taking woodworking classes (a table he built is actually featured in the film), while McAdams took ballet, etiquette, + southern accent coaching.
Filming locations in CHS
Boone Hall Plantation, 1235 Long Point Rd.
Used for: Exterior shots of the Hamilton’s summer house + bike ride scene
Fun fact: Photography + video recording isn’t allowed inside, so they had to use a second location (Calhoun Mansion) to film indoor scenes.
Calhoun Mansion, 16 Meeting St.
Used for: Indoor shots of the Hamiltons’ summer house
History: Built in 1876, this house has served as a private residence, hotel, filming site, + tourist attraction. Visitors can explore antique collections from the past located throughout the mansion’s interior.
Cypress Gardens, 3030 Cypress Gardens Rd.
Scene: Noah + Allie’s boat ride
Fun fact: Since swans are not native to the area, filmmakers purchased the ones seen in the movie as chicks + raised them on a nearby lake solely for this scene.
Martins Point Plantation, Private residence, Wadmalaw Island
Used for: The house Noah built Allie
Fun fact: Ryan Gosling wanted Noah to burn the house down after completing its renovations.
College of Charleston, 66 George St.
Used for: Scenes of Allie’s college
Fun fact: If you aren’t familiar with the movie, Allie’s college was Sarah Lawrence College in New York, but producers decided to utilize this Charleston-based college to stay local.
High Cotton, 199 E. Bay St.
The American Theater, 446 King St.
Scene: Noah + Allie’s first date
Fun fact: While this theater no longer shows movies, one of the most popular things it’s used for it displaying marriage proposals. (Wonder if Noah would’ve utilized this in the 21st century?)
Old Village, Old Village Dr.
William Aiken House, 456 King St.
Scene: Allie sees Noah in the newspaper while she tries on dresses for her approaching wedding.
Fun fact: You can also try on wedding dresses here, as it currently serves as a venue for weddings, receptions, + other events. (Hopefully, you won’t end up crying in a bathtub.)
Black River Plantation, Private residence, Georgetown
Used for: Allie’s nursing home
History: While this plantation home is widely known as Black River Plantation, it has held various names such as Rice Hope Plantation + Waddell Ranch, and was at one time the International Paper Company House.
Want to experience the film’s magic for yourself?
Bulldog Tours offers a mini round-up of specific locations + addresses of filming spots. There are also tours available of Boone Hall Plantation, Cypress Gardens + Calhoun Mansion, as well as pre-planned itineraries for spending a day in the life of Allie + Noah.