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North Carolina: Make like Katniss and Rue on 'Hunger Games' tour

March 23, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The abandoned Henry River Mill Village in Hildebran, N.C., was used in "The Hunger Games." The house on the left was outfitted as Katniss Everdeen's home.
The abandoned Henry River Mill Village in Hildebran, N.C., was used in "The… (Margo Metzger /…)

Imagine a place where people are assigned to a district by lottery, where they hone archery and slingshot skills and zip-line through dense forests to fight to the death for their own survival.

It happens in the movie "The Hunger Games," which opened Friday, but it also will start happening in the woods of North Carolina, where the movie was shot.

OK, maybe not the fight to the death part. But the much-anticipated movie has spawned a "Hunger Games" adventure weekend where children as young as 10 years old (with an adult) can role-play and learn outdoor skills at DuPont State Recreational Forest outside Asheville, which provided the backdrop for key scenes in the film.

"Fans are going to see the film, then probably want to see the film again, and then after they've seen it a couple of times, they'll want to go see the locations," says Wit Tuttell, director of tourism marketing for the state's Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development. The movie is based on the popular books written by Suzanne Collins about a dystopian society where children fight, gladiator-style, for their survival.

The tourism website outlines a self-guided "Hunger Games" tour that takes about four days to hit the highlights from Charlotte to Asheville and back. And Tuttell says he's working with a company that's promoting touring the state's "Hunger Games" side to German tourists.

Itinerary highlights include seeing the Capital (a.k.a. Charlotte), District 12 (the town of Hildebran) and the Arena (the DuPont state forest, between Brevard and Hendersonville). And of course, there's Price's Chicken Coop, where actor Lenny Kravitz fell in love with the fried chicken while on location.

Do states really draw tourists because of their movie quotient? Tuttell points to Lake Lure, southeast of Asheville, which provided the setting for the famous lift-dance scene with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the original 1987 film "Dirty Dancing." Fans have found their way to the lake ever since. "There's a Dirty Dancing Festival that happens every year at Lake Lure," Tuttell says. "And that film was made 25 years ago, before IMDB was even around."

Here are details for "Hunger Games" fans who want in on the tours.

--"Hunger Games" 4-Day Itinerary
--12 Places to Experience "The Hunger Games"
--"Hunger Games" Fan Tour Adventure Weekend runs on selected dates from April through September. The cost is $389 per person and includes two nights in a lodge, outdoor skill-building events, meals and more.

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