Real Life Locations of Towns in Jan Karon's Mitford Series

  • 01 of 05

    Where Are Mitford, North Carolina and Other Father Tim Haunts?

    Penguin Books

    Jan Karon's Mitford and Father Tim series of books have sold millions of copies worldwide. The series of seven Mitford books and two Father Tim books tell the story of a small North Carolina Episcopal priest and his daily life. While that may sound boring, the tales are anything but boring. You'd be surprised at all of the things that can happen in a town of just 1,500 residents. Fans of the books flock to North Carolina each year looking for Mitford, only to be disappointed that there is no town of Mitford, at least not by that name. If you're headed to eastern North Carolina this season, or if you'd like to know more about Father Tim's haunts, here are just a few of the real life places from the Mitford books.

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  • 02 of 05

    Where is Mitford, North Carolina?

    Look as hard as you may, you won't find Mitford, North Carolina. The small mountain town of 1,500 residents, where Father Tim, Cynthia, Dooley and all of your favorite Mitford characters live, is fictional. However, the author, a Lenoir North Carolina native herself, fashioned the town after the real town of Blowing Rock. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwest North Carolina, Blowing Rock has a historic downtown shopping area (just like Mitford) as well as a vibrant arts community. It also has a stone Episcopal church with a colorful garden (just like Mitford.) There's even a large mansion on a hill with an apple orchard (just like Sadie Baxter's Fernbank).

    Wondering about the real life locations of other towns from the Mitford books, like Wesley and Holly Springs? Click here to go to the beginning of this tour.

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  • 03 of 05

    Where is Wesley, North Carolina?

    In the Father Tim books, Wesley is the "big city" located a short drive away from Mitford. It's where the rector and his family travel for things they can't find in Mitford (which isn't very much), where Father Tim helps the childrens' hospital, and where the family attends church services after Father Tim retires. Like Mitford, Wesley is fictional, but has a real life counterpart in Boone, North Carolina, a Blue Ridge Mountain town of around 17,000 residents, located just a short drive from Blowing Rock and just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    Wondering about the real life locations of towns from the Mitford books, like Holly Springs and even Mitford itself? Click here to go to the beginning of this tour.

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  • 04 of 05

    Where is Holly Springs?

    Father Tim's hometown isn't located in North Carolina at all. The rector hails from Holly Springs, a real north-central Mississippi town of around 8,000 residents. As it was depicted in "Home to Holly Springs" (the first of the Father Tim novels), Holly Springs has an agricultural background, has a well-preserved and vital downtown business district and is home to the real Rust College, an historically black college founded by the Episcopal Church.

    Wondering about the real life locations of other towns from the Mitford books, like Wesley and even Mitford itself? Click here to go to the beginning of this tour.

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  • 05 of 05

    The Real Life Location - Blowing Rock, North Carolina

    Blowing Rock, the real Mitford, makes a delightful stop on a tour of the Blue Ridge Mountain region of North Carolina. The town is home to more than a dozen art galleries and antique stores, a summer farmers' market, a 30-store outlet shopping mall and more than a dozen restaurants. Of course, just outside of town you'll find the dramatic natural beauty, hiking opportunities and photogenic overlooks of the Blue Ridge region. Accommodations at Blowing Rock include the scenic, 87-acre Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock as well as several bed and breakfast inns.

    Wondering about the real life inspiration for Mitford and surrounding towns? Click here to go to the beginning of this tour.