In the end, the Gilmore Girls team built sets in Burbank, Calif. to look like Yale’s campus, which Valerie noted was closer to Rory’s fictional home in Stars Hollow, Conn. to allow more onscreen interactions with her family.
At the time, production designer Lauren Crasco explained why they chose Rory’s specific dorm, telling Yale Alumni Magazine in 2003, “Calhoun was easiest to replicate. Plus, it has these high wood panels and stone arches that play great on film.”
They ultimately used a material similar to bulletin boards to build walls, with crushed walnut shells for additional texture, according to the outlet.
“Rory’s crucial visit was actually filmed at Pomona College, and despite the crew’s best efforts to avoid shots with palm trees, the classic Southern California architecture looked absurdly unlike New England,” reporter Michael Taylor wrote at the time. “But with Rory slated to be a full-time student, it made fiscal sense to build a more authentic slice of Yale.”