Sometimes, you’ll be walking through the forest or down a city street and you’ll get a strange feeling: a place you know you’ve never been before feels familiar, comforting. If you’re a movie buff, there’s a good chance it’s because you’ve seen Asheville on the silver screen dozens of times before.
People looking for homes for sale in Asheville aren’t the only ones enamored with Western North Carolina’s sprawling vistas and charming old American mountain towns. Hollywood directors have taken advantage of the area’s magical scenery to create unforgettable moments for decades.
Some of the most popular modern classics in the American film canon were shot right here in our backyard, and many of the most famous “sets” from these films are open for visitors—some even free of charge.
Forrest Gump Ran Grandfather Mountain
In a movie made up of iconic sequences, the moment Forrest takes off running still manages to stand apart from the crowd. Forrest’s grief takes him on a journey across the United States and back again—a jog that takes him past some of the most iconic pieces of American geography. Included in that montage is a Blue Ridge icon: Grandfather Mountain.
It’s a brief look at the mountains, but a beautiful one. While it wasn’t actually Tom Hanks himself running the scene (his brother acted as his body double for many of the wide shots in the film), The audio tour CD given out to Grandfather Mountain visitors says Hanks did stop by and manage to charm some of the park staff.
It’s easy to find the exact spot featured in the film, too—a sign that reads “Forrest Gump ran this curve” is posted where the scene was filmed. We do not recommend recreating the run, since it is an active roadway. However, there is a picnic area nearby where you can park and walk up on the grass to snap a shot of the sign.
Grandfather Mountain is also featured in countless car commercials: those hairpin curves leading to the swinging bridge have been carved up by more sports cars than we can count.
Daniel Day Lewis Camps in the Blue Ridge
Director Michael Mann’s modern epic The Last of the Mohicans is a staple of American frontier cinema. Mann is famous for his commitment to filming everything on location, so it’s no surprise his tale set in the New York Adirondacks was filmed entirely in…Western North Carolina?
That’s right, and it’s obvious from the first gorgeous sweeping shot—that’s the Blue Ridge Mountains, alright. The film was shot all over the region, from Asheville to Transylvania County. Some sets were constructed on the expansive property at the Biltmore Estate, and many of the sequences involving waterfalls were shot in DuPont National Forest at Bridal Veil Falls and Triple Falls. North Carolinians should have no problem placing the climactic finale, which takes place on the signature ridge of Blowing Rock State Park.
As an extra bit of trivia, legend has it star Daniel Day Lewis and Michael Mann, ever dedicated to authenticity, apparently prepared for shooting The Last of the Mohicans by camping in the wilderness around Western North Carolina. They didn’t have our camping guide with them, but it seems like they did alright either way.
Somebody Put Baby in North Carolina
1987’s Dirty Dancing is a timeless love story that has persisted in pop culture thanks to its charming leads, iconic soundtrack, and unforgettable closing dance number. It’s setting, a beautiful resort town in the Catskills, helps that reputation along too.
Okay, so it’s not actually the Catskills. Dirty Dancing was filmed largely in Lake Lure, North Carolina, something all of the tourist-oriented shops around town are sure to remind you with their racks and racks of Dirty Dancing merchandise for sale. The majority of filming took place at the old Boys Camp in Lake Lure, which is now the residential community Firefly Cove.
Here’s a quick fun fact: the film was set to shoot in the summer, which was unseasonably hot in 1986. Producers had to delay the shoot to October after the crew and actors experienced heat-related medical issues. You know those beautiful fall colors people come from far and wide to see? Production designers had to cover them up, painting yellow leaves green to match shots they took earlier in the schedule. Sometimes movie magic isn’t as glamorous as it seems!
Homes for Sale in Asheville
Of course, that is just a drop in the bucket. The Hunger Games was filmed in locations around Transylvania County and DuPont National Forest as well. If you want to live on a movie set but don’t want to make the jump to Los Angeles, Asheville is a pretty solid compromise.
Fortunately, there are plenty of homes for sale in Asheville for every budget. Keller Williams Asheville has the latest listings in Asheville, Hendersonville, and beyond. Feel free to browse our listings at your own pace, and get in touch with one of our Western North Carolina real estate experts when you’re ready to live in our mountainous land of movie magic!
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