Monday, August 11, 2003

Dawson's Geeks

I don't want to to wait for our lives to be over,
I want to know right now what will it be
I don't want to wait for our lives to be over,
Will it be yes or will it be... sorry?

... And so on.

For those that don't know, Wilmington, North Carolina doubles up as Capeside in 'teen-drama' Dawson's Creek. But more than that, it's also a really nice place.

It's a bit off the beaten track: the bus station is small and falling apart, public transport is sporadic and there's nowhere cheap to stay. We walked from the Greyhound station downtown, to the (very friendly) tourist information office, picking up maps, guides and timetables, and eventually settled on the Motel 6 along the highway, a bus ride out of town. As if to prove just how friendly Wilmingtonians are, a woman called Susan stopped and gave us a lift while we were waiting for the bus and dropped us off at the motel. We turned on the TV when we got into our room, flicked some channels - and can you guess what was on TBS? Yup, Dawson's Creek. Spooky, huh?

We took the bus back into Wilmington downtown, armed with a self-guided tour of sites that have appeared in the show. Intially we didn't recognise much, but apparently we saw the restaurant that was "Leery's Fresh Fish"; the restaurant where Joey worked in seasons one and two; the park where Pacey and Andie first kissed; the Capeside video store; and so on. We ate lunch opposite the theatre where Joey made her singing debut :-).

After lunch we took the bus out to UNCW, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, which doubled as, first of all, Capeside High, and later as Joey's university in Boston. After exploring the campus for an hour or two we returned to the Motel 6, ate dinner, washed our clothes and swam in the pool.

The next morning we watched a bit more TV: TBS repeated the Dawson's episode we'd watched the previous day, and this time we were excited to recognise lots of different locations. Dawson was being moody about something or other, and strolled along the boardwalk by Wilmington's river, with a road bridge we'd seen in the background.

There's a large TV and film studio in Wilmington - indeed the largest outside Hollywood - where such terrific movies as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Muppets From Space and Black Knight were filmed. More importantly, however, it was the home of many of the sets for Dawson's Creek. They offer a guided tour, which we took. Most of the sets have been dismantled or sold off (on eBay :-), but we got to see Joey and Audrey's university room in Boston and, excitingly, Dawson's room in his house, complete with Spielberg posters, fluffy ET toy and window through which Joey climbs (although the frame has been sold, for over $1,000). They also have Pacey's boat, the True Love parked outside!

The tour finished just in time for us to get a taxi back to the bus station. In the window of our (blue and white) taxi was a sticker claiming that it had been used as a Capeside police car. I suppose this might be true :-).


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