One of my favorite activities is visiting places where movies were filmed. In fact, I based an entire vacation around one.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Visiting Movie Filming Locations -- a Fun Vacation Idea

Yeah, try telling your friends you took a trip and went to Dyersville IA and see what kind of looks you get until you explain why.

I've also visited the main covered bridge from The Bridges of Madison County, much of the Memphis downtown area where Tom Cruise ran for his life in The Firm, and the Cleveland home used in A Christmas Story. It's one of my favorite things to do. And now--speaking of Tom Cruise--I have another one to add to my list at some point.

A Blockbuster, a Retreat Center, and a Tiny KY Town

The now-defunct but still standing St. Anne Retreat Center in Melbourne, Kentucky began its life as the St. Anne Convent, the main building having been completed in 1919. Nearly a century later, in 2012, the sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence sold what would become the retreat center to the Diocese of Covington. It remained active for a decade until its closure on December 31st, 2022 when the proprietors announced there would be no more retreats hosted there.

Six years ago, a YouTube historian visited the convent/retreat center and shined a light on its history and its place in popular culture.

St. Anne Convent/Retreat Center -- Where Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise Walked

I had never even HEARD of Melbourne KY until I was tipped off about this facility that just so happens to be a prime backdrop in a Best Picture Oscar winner that was also one of the biggest blockbusters of the 1980s.

Now that the retreat center has permanently closed, it remains uncertain whether or not visitors can go onto the grounds. And good luck finding out if you can; I couldn't. But if you're ever in the Covington area, and you're a movie buff, there's no harm in giving it a try.

If there's a gate across the entrance, then head to the Newport Aquarium.

Happy travels in 2024.

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