It’s no secret, at least in this house, that I LOVE young adult literature. It is one of my guilty pleasures. In fact, I read The Hunger Games long before I had children old enough to read it.
Fast forward to 2015 and I have a tween in the house who shares my enthusiasm for The Hunger Games, giving me a fabulous excuse to partake in crazy, fun fandom activities.
On this particular occasion, after acquiring appropriate fandom attire, we set off for the District 12 Filming site. District 12 is located near Hickory, North Carolina at the historic mining village, Henry River Mill Village.
The Henry River Mill Village is located off exit 119 on Rt. 40. This is just passed the town of Hickory if you are headed there from the east. Once off the exit ramp, turn right and drive about 2 miles. You’ll begin to see some dilapidated homes on either side of the road. These are some of the homes from District 12. The ones on your right hand side were not in the movie, but the ones on the left are part of it!
Straight ahead is a gravel parking lot. It is at this point that the road takes a pretty hard curve to the right. It is easy to miss the sign for the Hunger Games movie because it is facing the other way. Instead, look for this bright yellow “For Sale” sign (left photo). As you pull in, you’ll be able to see the Hunger Games movie sign (right photo).
At this point, please be aware that you have entered private property. The 72 acres which contain District 12 are owned by one gentleman, Mr. Wade, who lives in a home at the far back of the property. I’ve been told that he is a great guy and pretty understanding of folks taking photos in front of that first iconic building that you see on the right.
Peeta’s bakery…who can resist a shot?
In the past, there has been vandalism, including the theft of the “P” and “A” in “PASTRIES”, so you will notice that the sign has been redone and covered in plexi-glass. So have fun, but don’t take advantage of the kindness of the owner!
If you want to see more of District 12, then I suggest taking part in a tour offered by “Unofficial Hunger Games Tours“. This company offers two options for day tours. One tour is of the Henry River Mill Village and the other is for scenes that took place in DuPont State Forest (stay tuned for a future post).
We decided to tour the District on our first day.
NOTE: The rest of these photos were taken as part of the Unofficial Hunger Games tour. I DO NOT suggest or advise doing any of these activities or wandering on this property without explicit permission from the owner, which the tour guides do have.
The tour begins with a history of the area and some general information. Then we get right into our iconic scenes. The guide had helpful photos to jog your memory if you didn’t remember exactly how it looked in the movies.
The company had props to enhance your photos, so you can BE Peeta and you can BE Katniss.
Or together, you can BE Peeta and Katniss.
You’ll notice on the photo above that the pigpen is missing as it was built just for the movie AND a tree was transplanted for Katniss to lay her head against. The tree was then returned to its owner (Mr. Wade) and replanted back in his yard. That tree isn’t all that close to this scene. The directors must have REALLY liked that particular tree!
Your tour guides will fill you in with all sorts of little tidbits of information such as the tree story.
At the beginning of the movie, Katniss exits her house and jogs through the district. Then she runs across a dam and meets Gale in the woods. We stood in that scene in the district and then viewed the Dam (closed for safety) from above.
The coal miners enter a building in the movie (during a flashback sequence) and the building blows up. That was not computer generated imagry. They actually blew up this building on the property with the permission of Mr. Wade.
Walk in the EXACT spot Effie walks in District 12, though they imported some gravel for the scene.
Finally, tour the Everdeen’s home.
And do a complete scene re-enactment if you wish.
The tour includes a souvenir loaf of bread that you create from clay. We stamped ours with the Mockingjay symbol.
We also enjoyed a Hunger Games inspired lunch. The presentation was lovely and the food was filling.
I have to admit. It felt very “District 12-like” to sit in District 12 and eat bread with goat cheese. Just call us Katniss and Gale.
Finally, no tour of district 12 is complete without some archery lessons and a full game of archery tag.
Due to a mix up with scheduling, my daughter also received a Fire Ring necklace. This is a genuine limited edition collector’s item that was cut from the gas piping used in the movie to blow up trees in the fire scene in the arena.
If you have a fan in the house, I definitely suggest a swing by the District 12 site if you find yourself on Rt. 40 between Greensboro and Asheville. The tour was a wonderful bonus if your dates work out.
Leigh, who runs the tours, is lovely! I have no partnership whatsoever with the Unofficial Hunger Games tours, but would love for you to let her know I sent you as a continual thank-you for our wonderful day!