But visitors can't run across Triple Falls like Katniss did in the movie — she was attached to wires and ran on a board. "That's not to be done by human beings," said Tammy Hopkins, co-owner of Hunger Games Fan Tours and director of the county arts council.
Asheville is offering package deals in partnership with local businesses. Promotions include a "Walk Like a Katniss Everdeen" package that combines a stay at Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn with hiking at Chimney Rock State Park, and "The Capitol Experience" at Grand Bohemian Hotel, where the biggest adventure is a hot stone massage.
Of all the locations, the Henry River Mill Village has a backstory that's nearly as colorful as the plot of the movie. The mill, which opened in 1905, produced fine yarn. The village was designed as a planned community with company stores, walkways and green spaces. In 1966, a sheriff was shot and killed in the village by a mill worker. By the time Shepherd bought the town, three years after the mill closed, there were Thursday night poker games on the street, "and by Sunday afternoon, they were all drunk and shooting."
Shepherd lives across the river from the town, and says he bought the property "to protect my interests." He doesn't think he could make enough money to make it worth opening a tourist attraction, though he's considering a request to let a tour company bring a group through.
In the meantime, he's put the whole place — 72 acres — up for sale for $1.4 million. Potential buyers wondering about the real life-and-death stories that once unfolded here need only look at the Coca-Cola sign in front of the company store, which has a shotgun hole in it.
"This is better than the movie, isn't it?" asked Shepherd.
If You Go...
HUNGER GAMES IN NORTH CAROLINA: A variety of packages and tours are being offered in locations around the state where the movie was shot. From N.C. Division of Tourism, a four-day self-guided itinerary: http://www.visitnc.com/hungergames . Day and weekend tours in Transylvania County from a private company, http://hungergamesfantours.com. From Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau: http://www.exploreasheville.com/about-asheville/cool-asheville-stories/hunger-games/.
Martha Waggoner can be reached at: http://twitter.com/mjwaggonernc
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