What's New In NC
12 Places To Experience 'The Hunger Games'
Even without peacekeepers, mockingjays and nightlock, visitors can connect to the world of Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch in North Carolina. The film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ popular dystopian novel was shot on locations and soundstages in the western half of the state, and The Hunger Games pilgrims can take travel cues from the sites that frame the action, the stars’ favorite off-duty spots and attractions that District 12 denizens would love.
DuPont State Recreational Forest
Brevard / Hendersonville
Welcome to the arena, a dramatic landscape of waterfalls, pines and poplars, hideaway lakes and fishing streams. Hit the trails and see if you can spot Katniss’ pond, the place where Peeta camouflaged himself and traces of the pyrotechnics from the fireball sequence. Shots of the airstrip were fashioned into the aerial view of the train speeding toward the Capitol.
Note: Waterfalls should be enjoyed from a safe distance. Do not attempt to climb or cross them. For waterfall safety tips, click here.
Henry River Mill Village
Pull off Interstate 40 at Exit 119 and drive by the abandoned Henry River Mill Village, which stands in for the Seam and the Mellark family bakery. Beware: The village is private property and posted as such, but the new Hildebran Heritage Museum can help satisfy curiosity.
With its urban sheen, North Carolina’s largest city presents the Capitol’s over-styled residents and the unlucky District tributes at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center’s Knight Theater and other locations. It’s quite a show.
Private warehouses west of the South Lafayette Street hub accommodated the Reaping, the Hob and other District 12 sites (plus the paparazzi’s would-be perch). Visit the restaurants and shops that served the Hollywood visitors — Pleasant City Wood Fire Grille was a favorite. Ask locals about their encounters and keeping mum about Miley Cyrus’ visit to see beau Liam Hemsworth (Gale).
Craggy Pinnacle Trail
Blue Ridge Parkway
The lake beside the Cornucopia quenched the Career Tributes’ thirsts, and so it is with the North Fork Reservoir, where the Games’ bloodiest action was filmed. Because the reservoir is tapped for drinking water, access is restricted, but hikers can catch a glimpse or two from the Craggy Pinnacle Trail, accessed at the Craggy Gardens visitor center above Asheville. The trail leads to a grassy area with a view of the reservoir, then to the pinnacle, where the crystal blue water is part of the panorama. Visitors are advised to follow the law and stick to the established trail, the better to minimize damage to the environment.
Navitat Canopy Tour
Rue would have loved soaring through the trees at Navitat, one of a dozen or so ziplines in Western North Carolina. In real life, Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) climbed aboard with then-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens. Another reason to visit: Pre-games scenes with Katniss and Gale were filmed nearby at Coleman Boundary in Pisgah National Forest.
Nantahala Outdoor Center
A Hunger Games tribute would do well to attend Survival School at the NOC, which has 40 years of experience teaching people to thrive in the great outdoors. Wilderness first aid, animal tracking and trapping friction fire, wild foods and medicinal plants are among the topics covered.
U.S. National Whitewater Center
Gamemakers would no doubt love to tap the talent behind this multi-adventure wonderland, home of the world’s largest manmade river. The long list of activities includes survival programs for adults and families as well as rock climbing, which reportedly enticed Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) during the “Hunger Games” shoot.
On North Davidson Street, the historic NoDa neighborhood has become Charlotte’s hippest, most artsy destination, home of galleries, bars and lively restaurants. “Hunger Games” cast members found their way to Cabo Fish Taco and Amelie’s French Bakery, among other places.
Lexington Avenue Brewery, Wasabi, the Laughing Seed … there’s a long list of spots that attracted cast members during their stay in Asheville. And the trio of young stars stayed at Hotel Indigo.
Troy & Sons
With his craving for white whiskey, Haymitch would have stashed case upon case of the moonshine made here from heirloom Crooked Creek corn, grown on a nearby farm. And Haymitch wouldn’t have broken the law to buy it.
Nature Research Center
Anyone looking for the lowdown on jabberjays and tracker jackers is advised to try the new wing of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Opened in April 2012, the Nature Research Center offers a Meet the Scientist experience, in which visitors can pick researchers’ brains. And who knows? If these lab wizards can reverse-engineer a dino-chicken (yes, they’re working on one), they might know how to go about making …… or stopping … a hissing humanoid reptile or wolf mutt.
Photo Credit: Lionsgate and Murray Close
Photo Credit: Lionsgate and Murray Close
added: February 20, 2012
updated: August 21, 2012