Where was The Notebook filmed?
Charleston, South Carolina
Architectural, American, Colonial, House, Mansions, Victorian, Restaurant, Theatres
Americana/Anywhere America, Boat Style, Bungalow, Gothic/Victorian, Georgian/Southern, Luxury Hotel
About The Notebook
The Notebook is a touching love story directed by Nick Cassavetes, based on the 1996 romantic novel by Nicholas Sparks. It revolves around the characters in the urgency of young, passionate romance and them as older people showing that passion and love know no age and time. It stars Ryan Gosling as Noah and Rachel McAdams as Allie, a young couple from South Carolina who fall in love in the 1940s.
Chances are you’ve read the book or watched the 2004 American romantic drama adaptation of the novel. Perhaps, you even did both. If not, this guide highlights some of the best scenes in The Notebook (spoiler alert!) to give you a glimpse of the famous film. We’ve also included the popular The Notebook filming locations for fans to visit and experience and see Noah and Allie’s romantic story in a new light.
The movie starts in a modern-day nursing home when an elderly man (James Garner) reads a love story from an old notebook to an Alzheimer’s-stricken woman (Gena Rowlands). He narrates the first time Noah, a local country boy, and Allie, a 17-year-old heiress, met at the carnival on June 6th, 1940. Then it brings the viewers to the night of the carnival, where Noah falls in love at first sight with Allie.
The couple spends a beautiful summer together and falls in love. But her parents are against the relationship and don’t approve of him because of his much lower socioeconomic status, calling him trash. Eventually, they break up, and Allie is sent to New York to focus on her studies. Devastated by their separation, Noah writes Allie a letter for a year, only to be intercepted by Allie’s mother.
The Notebook film delivers an emotional punch. It makes you happy and feels giddy, but it also elicits tears. Although the characters are flawed, you can’t help but root for them and their unyielding love for each other.
The Notebook Locations
The novel was set in the beautiful waterfront town of New Bern, North Carolina, but The Notebook production takes place mainly in South Carolina. Much of the movie's plot revolves around Seabrook Island, a small resort community about half an hour from Charleston. However, the town was not used in the film.
Instead, the Old Village of Mount Pleasant serves as the town of Seabrook Island, South Carolina. It is known for its historic homes, stately live oaks, and the original location of summer homes for the wealthy residents of Charleston. Its charming old neighborhood and old-school storefronts and houses create an ideal background for the film’s pre- and post-World War II setting.
The movie was primarily filmed in Charleston, featuring many landmarks that have continued to receive more visitors since its release. The exterior shots of Boon Hall Plantation were used as Allie’s family summer home. Today, it offers guided tours for movie fans and guests who want to see the Georgian-designed mansion. For the interior shots, they used the Williams Mansion, formerly known as Calhoun Mansion, located at 14-16 Meeting Street in Charleston.
Some of The Notebook locations were developed or changed for the film, while others are on private property. But there are also several places featured in the movie that you can visit anytime.
Allie and Noah are based on a real-life couple. According to Nicholas Sparks, the characters were based on his then-wife’s grandparents, who were together for more than sixty years. He was impressed by their steadfast love that some parts of their story eventually made their way into the novel.
The movie date scene in The Notebook
The American Theater, Charleston, South Carolina
At the beginning of the film, Noah, set to convince Allie she should go out with him, goes to a movie theater with his friend, whose girlfriend Sara (Eve Kagan) is friends with Allie. So they set up a ‘coincidence,’ and all went to the cinema together.
The American Theater, where Noah and Allie go on a double date, is located at King Street in Charleston. It opened in 1942 as the premier movie house in the city, characterized by regal Art Deco architecture. Due to its timeless Holywood glamour, it has been featured in many films throughout the years.
Although the building no longer operates as a public movie house, it now serves as a sophisticated event venue, featuring an 8,000-square-feet space for weddings, receptions, meetings, and corporate parties. It features a luxurious ballroom, an expansive lobby, a concessions area, and an intimate lounge with a bar. It also has a fully-equipped cinema for private film screenings and state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment.
Since it’s located in Downtown Charleston, it’s easily accessible by public transportation. Several bus lines have routes that pass near the theater, including buses number 10, 11, 33, 40, 41, and XP2. It is also close to several bus stations, such as the King St, Transit Mall, Visitors Center, and Calhoun St bus stations.
The boating scene in The Notebook
Cypress Gardens, Moncks Corner, South Carolina
If you want to visit The Notebook locations, one of the filming sites to tour around is the Cypress Gardens. It is featured in several boating scenes in the movie, including the part when Allie and Noah paddle through the swamp with tons of swans. Indeed, “It’s spectacular. It’s like a dream,” just as Allie said.
Located about half an hour from downtown Charleston, the Cypress Gardens is a 175-acre swamp garden in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. It offers an array of nature adventures and provides a perfect setting for fun and relaxation. You can stroll miles of picturesque trails, relax in a greenhouse, go on a swamp boat ride, and soak in the spectacular view of the vast garden landscape.
The Cypress Gardens has everything for adventure seekers, nature lovers, or anyone looking for an exciting family getaway. Besides its natural attractions, it also hosts parties and special celebrations with gorgeous venues suitable for your big day.
If you want to explore the gardens, the site is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fastest way to get there is by car, bus, or taxi. The bus companies that run services between Charleston and Cypress Gardens are the CARTA company and the Atlanta Tours Inc.
Noah’s plantation house scene in The Notebook
Martins Point Plantation, Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina
Noah’s plantation house plays a crucial role in the story. He first introduces it to Allie one night as The Windsor Plantation, which was built in 1772. It was a gigantic rundown house that Noah planned to “buy one day and fix it up.” When planning what they want for the mansion, Allie states, “I want a white house with blue shutters,” which you’ll see later in the film years after they separated.
The house in this scene is actually a private property at the Martins Point Plantation. It is located on Wadmalaw Island, a small, quiet island in Charleston County, about half an hour from downtown Charleston. The Martins Point Plantation features a private boat ramp for kayak, canoe, and boat access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Wadmalaw River.
Instead of using an abandoned house, the filmmakers masked the house's exterior and distressed it heavily to make it look old, abandoned, and rundown. Although Noah says it was built in 1772, the actual building was established in 1875.
After the completion of Noah’s renovation project, the house looks much like what it does today. The filmmakers only added the blue shatters and a side porch to match the characters’ vision for the house in the movie.
The restaurant scene in The Notebook
High Cotton Restaurant, Charleston, South Carolina
The first time Noah sees Allie years after their break-up is probably one of the heartbreaking scenarios for him. He’s ecstatic to finally meet the love of his life, only to see her kissing another guy inside a restaurant. This scene where he looks through the restaurant window was filmed at a local restaurant in Charleston called High Cotton.
High Cotton is a working restaurant on East Bay Street, one of Charleston’s more popular and scenic thoroughfares. It is home to several historic buildings and numerous shops, boutiques, and restaurants that significantly contribute to the city’s unique charm.
You can enjoy a happy hour or a luxury fine-dining experience at the restaurant and then explore the lines of shops around the street. Besides delicious food, High Cotton offers live music in this inviting and welcoming space.
Allie and her mama’s argument scene in The Notebook
Williams Mansion, Charleston
Remember the scene when Allie’s parents call the police because it’s already 2 a.m. and she’s still not home? Lost track of time, Noah and Allie rush back to her house, where the police and her parents are anxiously waiting. Unhappy about her daughter, Anne Hamilton (Joan Allen) tells Allie not to see Noah anymore. She calls him a “trash, trash, trash,” not meant for her daughter because he’s a laborer and a woodworker.
This and other scenes inside Hamilton’s summer home, including the part when Allie is running down the staircase the following morning, were filmed in Williams Mansion, colloquially referred to as the Calhoun Mansion in the past. It was named after the mansion’s original owner, George Walton Williams. He rose from anonymity as the son of a farmer in Northern Georgia to one of the late 19th-century Charleston’s greatest entrepreneurs.
The mansion was completed in 1878 and was described as a Magnificent Mansion. It was the most complete private home in the South and the city’s largest residence, spanning 24,000 square feet. Today, it is open for tours, allowing movie fans to relive the scenes in The Notebook and see the mansion's spectacular furniture and interior architecture.
Due to the pandemic, this Victorian house is temporarily closed today. However, you can still check out the exterior of the building. You can take bus 211 to get to the mansion, which stops at the Broad St/ Meeting St station.
Allie and Noah’s break-up scene in The Notebook
Boone Hall Plantation, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
After Allie’s argument with her mother, she chases Noah outside their home and apologizes for the things her parents said about him. But the conversation later turns into another heated fight after Noah says, “I don’t see how it’s gonna work,” referring to their relationship. Eventually, the young couple decides to break up.
In this scene, we see them go out and argue in front of a big white house. While the filmmakers used the Williams Mansion for interior scenes, they featured the Boone Hall Plantation for the exterior shots of the Hamilton summer home. The plantation was founded in 1681 and was included in the National Register of Historic Places list in 1983.
The mansion, a Colonial Revival House you see today, was established in 1936. You can visit the house through a guided tour of the first floor, featuring antique furnishings, or take a driving tour of the extensive grounds spanning 738 acres.
To head to the plantation, take Highway 17 North to Mt. Pleasant. Then go about seven miles and turn left onto the Long Point Road. Follow the road, and you’ll see signs of the plantation. The entrance to this site will be on the right.
Visiting The Notebook film set is one of the fun filming tours you can organize. It will take you to different scenic places, such as historic buildings, glorious gardens, and other beautiful attractions in and around Charleston. You will undoubtedly admire the undying love between Allie and Noah as they conquer all odds in their relationship, including Alzheimer's disease. But you’ll also fall in love with the different film sites that bring life to the story.
It also features the junction of King Street and Mary Street, where the couple lies down in the middle of the road, watching the traffic lights and then dancing without music. It’s probably not a good idea to follow their example and dance in the middle of the road even when there’s no traffic. Still, it’s a beautiful scene worth playing over and over, especially for the romantics.