“There is only one Tree Hill. And it’s your home.”
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t actually Tree Hill. But Wilmington, NC is home to the sights and sets from the hit television show, One Tree Hill. I, being addicted to a point verging on embarrassment, wanted to see it all. My mom and I made a trip down to Wilmington for one day only, so we tried to pack as many sights into our itinerary as possible. Our day was jam-packed, and it was definitely one for the books.
One of the most recognizable houses from the show, we were able to find Lucas Scott’s house located at 1829 Wrightsville Avenue. At first, our GPS took us to a house that looked similar in color and style, but it wasn’t quite right. My mom and I weren’t satisfied, so we took a stroll down the street and finally came across the real thing. We both recognized it from half a block away. It was amazing to see both the front porch, home to heartfelt talks with Lucas and Karen, as well as the entrance to Lucas’ room on the side of the house. If you are visiting these homes yourself, please keep in mind that they are privately owned and there are other people living inside them now. Be respectful and avoid entering private property.
I was more than thrilled to see that the new owners of the Scott house kept the basketball hoop intact. At 1633 Country Club Road, this is where Nathan was hammered by his father, the infamous Dan, to practice day in and day out. There are a handful of scenes that take place in this driveway, so it was surreal being able to see it come to life. I could just picture Nathan standing in front of me, practicing his free throws.
There are two prominent scenes I can remember that take place in front of Haley James’ house: Haley and Nathan’s first kiss and their kiss in the rain before he proposes. While there aren’t many scenes that capture the entire front of the house, the front walk has its own place in the hearts of One Tree Hill fans. Right next door to Peyton’s house, the James home is located at 1811 Chestnut Street.
Standing right next door at 1901 Chestnut Street, my mom and I had a good laugh in front of Peyton’s house. As we were standing in front of the house, mere seconds after taking photos in front of Haley’s, the sky began to downpour (yes, we have pictures of my face when the rain hit, but I’ll save those for our own amusement – sorry, Mom). Once we got into the safety of the car, we couldn’t stop laughing. My mind immediately went to Psycho Derek and his creepy photography habit. Apparently Peyton’s house still isn’t over it.
This was the house I was most excited to see. The Girl Behind the Red Door: Brooke Davis. The beautiful colonial style home is just as breathtaking as you would imagine. Located at 2314 Tattersalls Drive, the front door remains red, even if the girl isn’t behind it anymore. However, the home’s new owners had done something unique: they put together a lemonade stand. While many of the other homes had “Private Property” and “No Trespassing” signs, this home had a welcoming feel. At the end of the long front walk, there was a lemonade stand with a small bucket for donations and a note. The note explained that a family member of the current owners had been in distress and in need of an AED. However, there was not an AED available at the establishment. Because of this, that family member passed away. The current owners were raising money in an attempt to provide AEDs to establishments that do not have them and cannot otherwise afford them. We found this to be a moving cause and an heartening way to welcome tourists while raising money for a great cause. There are two perspectives this family could have taken: seeing tourists as annoying, invading their personal space, or as an opportunity to do something positive for a community and a good cause. They chose to spread positivity and love and that is the approach we should take towards everything in our lives.
The Riverwalk is home to the budding of Nathan and Haley’s relationship. This bench is where Nathan and Haley had their first tutoring session; the same session in which Nathan gave Haley a Cracker Jack bracelet and said, “Don’t say I never gave you anything.” Unfortunately, the area was gated off for construction during our visit, so this is as close as we were able to get. Normally, the area is open and we would have been able to sit on the bench itself, but I’ll take what I can get.
In Tree Hill, the Rivercourt is a place of healing, a foster for growth, and the foundation of many friendships. I think a lot of us wish we had a place like this to go back to; a place with incredible, positive memories and that truly feels like our home away from home. Some of you might have that place. There are so many huge moments that take place on the Rivercourt, including the original one-on-one basketball game between Nathan and Lucas in the pilot. Unfortunately, the basketball court is no longer standing; it was demolished after the show wrapped. However, you can find the Rivercourt’s grounds at 1 Battleship Road NE, next to the USS North Carolina. The Rivercourt is currently an open plot of land, right across the river from the Courthouse (featured in the scavenger hunt Quinn put together for Jamie. Yes, I know I’m a nerd – please feel free to judge me).
We arrived at TRIC and immediately knew we were in the right place. Not only did the red brick tip us off, but there were half a dozen other people there taking photos of the building, letting themselves get lost in nostalgia. The stairwell has been since been demolished and the entrance sealed, but we were still able to see the building itself. You can also see the legacy left behind by hundreds of One Tree Hill fans, names written in Sharpie, quotes and drawings telling their own stories on the bricks. I always find it fascinating to see which parts of a show (and as a writer, which quotes) are most meaningful to other viewers. We all interpret shows differently and they all mean something different to each of us. I was honored to be able to experience the show all over again from so many different points of view.
Another memorable location from the show is 694 N. 6th Street. As some of you may recall, this bridge is featured in the show’s opening credits alongside Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want to Be.” Highlighting the oldest Scott brother, the clip shows Lucas dribbling a basketball on his way home from the Rivercourt, sporting a Keith Scott Body Shop hoodie, and crossing this bridge right at sunset (right before Peyton almost hits him with a car. Don’t drive distracted, friends. I digress). While we weren’t there at sunset, I was able to wear my own Keith Scott Body Shop hoodie on the bridge, replicating the scene. This is my favorite picture from the trip (photo credit goes to my ever-so-patient mother) and I will treasure it for a long time.
While Tree Hill High School is featured in almost every episode of the earlier seasons, this entrance always takes me back to the school shooting episode. Nathan and Lucas, ignoring Whitey and Brooke’s objections, make their way under this archway and into the school to find Haley. Whitey Durham’s Field House, otherwise known as the Schwartz Center Building of Cape Fear Community College, is a heavily featured location during the show’s reign. However, this is not the front entrance to the Schwartz Center; we parked our car and walked down to a sidewalk-only rear entrance to find this gem. The Schwartz Center Building is located at 610 N. Front Street.
On the corner of Front and Grace, as promised, is Karen’s Cafe. A huge part of me wishes that the new owners had kept it a cafe, even under a different name. But, alas, we can’t always get what we want. As you can see above, Karen’s Cafe is just another retail store downtown. They’ve removed the awnings and added graphics to the windows, but it’s still easily recognizable. Across the street, you can even see where Brooke eventually opened up Baker Man.
My trip to Wilmington was more than memorable. We spent an entire day, sunrise to long after sunset, in a go-go-go state of mind. We hit location after location, driving to Wilmington and home, almost 4 hours each way, all in one day. I’m so grateful to my beautiful mother for making the trek down to North Carolina to go with me. It’s a memory I will truly cherish.
P.S. Apparently, there was a One Tree Hill convention in town beginning the day after we were there. Three days after standing in front of Brooke Davis’ house, Sophia Bush posted this photo to Instagram: