Poet Carl Sandburg spent his last years at his Connemara retreat here; tour his home and his wifes adjacent goat farm (www.nps.gov/carl) or catch a performance at the esteemed Flat Rock Playhouse (www.flatrockplayhouse.org), the State Theater of North Carolina.
But the big buzz in the area is Hunger Games some exteriors for the fantasy flick were filmed in DuPont State Forest, a 16-square-mile state-owned preserve. Explore trails (on foot, mountain bike or horseback); walk along the Little River to view Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls. (www.dupontforest.com)
Prime times to visit the area include Labor Day weekend in Hendersonville (N.C. Apple Festival; www.ncapplefestival.org); Sept. 7-8 in Brevard (Mountain Song Festivals bluegrass; www.mountainsongfestival.com); and early October in Flat Rock (Flat Rock Art & Wine Festival; www.flatrockwineshoppe.com).
Area info: www.historichendersonville.org.