If you were captivated by the scenery in the BAFTA and Golden Globe-winning, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, you may be interested in a trip planner compiled for visitors to explore authentic locations featured in the movie. That they are actually located in Western North Carolina rather than Missouri might come as a surprise to some people, but the area is no stranger to the Hollywood spotlight, thanks to movies such as The Fugitive, Dirty Dancing and The Hunger Games being filmed there.
Visit North Carolina, the state’s tourism division, has assembled a three-day guide where travellers can walk in the shoes of Mildred Hayes (played by Frances McDormand) in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which has been nominated for seven Academy Awards. Mildred battles with her community to dig deeper into her daughter’s violent death in the fictional town of Ebbing. Several scenes were filmed in downtown Sylva, and others were filmed in Dillsboro, Black Mountain, Asheville and Maggie Valley.
The first day on the proposed itinerary takes in Sylva and Dillsboro. In Sylva, you can see the buildings that were used for the Jackson County Historic Courthouse, the Ebbing Police Department, Red Welby’s advertising company and Officer Dixon’s house. Not-to-miss stops that define Sylva’s quirky charm include Humanité Boutique with its chic selection, Sylva Yoga with its relaxed atmosphere, Dixie Mae Vintage Market with its unexpected treasures, and the Tuckaseegee Fly Shop. Other priority stops include Dillsboro Chocolate Factory for sweets and Treehouse Pottery for regional crafts, and visitors can stay at the Dillsboro Inn, an eco-tourist sanctuary that offers direct river access for guests.
The second day takes in Black Mountain, and North Fork Left Fork Road is where Mildred’s house was located in the film. Though the billboards of the title were created by the production team and are no longer there, the scenic road is worth the drive. Black Mountain offers spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains with nationally recognised arts, handmade crafts and local food markets. Visitors can stay at the Red Rocker Inn, an 1896 Victorian bed and breakfast in the heart of the town. There are many hiking and biking trails within minutes of the inn.
Day three explores Asheville and Maggie Valley. The “magical” deer that appears to Mildred lives at the Western North Carolina Nature Center, which is home to white-tailed deer, black bears, red wolves and other animals native to the region. While filming Three Billboards, Woody Harrelson spent time playing chess with locals at Pritchard Park, home of the Asheville Drum Circle held weekly in warmer months.
To see the full itinerary proposed by VisitNC, see here.