Blue Ridge Craft Trails, North Carolina Mountain Art

Blue Ridge Craft Trails: Explore Art

Western North Carolina is home to thousands of world-class artists who draw daily inspiration from living in our scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Come meet them and see their work! Creating drive-able trails for 25 Western North Carolina counties with 200 craft sites, the Blue Ridge Craft Trails project celebrates the Asheville area as a vibrant center for traditional and contemporary handmade crafts through the promotion of craft artisans, arts organizations and heritage tourism. Pic above: Stecoah Valley Arts Center

Their featured places and suggested scenic drives take you through our favorite small towns and remote mountain hollers. Find glass blowing, blacksmithing, traditional to contemporary paintings, pottery, woodworking, fiber arts, quilting, jewelry and much more. Also get tips on nearby restaurants, breweries, music, outdoor activities, scenic views and places to stay.

To help you start your trip planning, here are our top stops featured on the Blue Ridge Craft Trails to see and buy local art and craft - with a style for everyone's taste and budget. The mothership of Appalachian craft is the Folk Art Center in Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This should be your first stop! Go to the Blue Ridge Craft Trails website to find art, galleries and artist studios by town - plus itineraries that connect them.

Blue Ridge Craft Trails Top 10 Stops

Folk Art Center
Folk Art Center
Art lovers should not miss the Folk Art Center. It showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians and includes rotating exhibits, live demonstrations and a large gallery shop. Free admission. 8 miles from downtown. Blue Ridge Parkway, at Milepost 382 near the US 70 intersection.
Stecoah Valley Art Center
Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center ​
Tucked away in small village near Fontana Lake and Nantahala River is an amazing gallery that showcases the work of 180+ area artists and hosts a great summer concert series. Many artist studios nearby.
Penland School of Craft NC
Penland School of Craft
Take a tour or sign up for a class at this internationally-known school for art and craft, tucked away in the mountains near Spruce Pine. Their multiple galleries are free to visit with amazing works created by students and teachers.
Shelton House Museum NC Handicrafts
Shelton House, Waynesville
This grand, historic home built in 1875 is home to the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts, with every room packed with craft, art and furnishings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Open May-October.
Museum of the Cherokee
Museum of the Cherokee
Discover the story of the Cherokee people in this impressive museum that sets the scene for the Cherokee Heritage Trails. The Cherokee community presents its perspective on its own history and culture.
River Arts District
River Arts District
Some 185 working artists have set up shop in the River Arts District. Drive a little, walk a little to visit studios and galleries. Find an amazing variety of art and see how the artists create it. It's just a few miles from downtown Asheville and Biltmore Estate.
Crossnore NC
This tiny town in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains has a famous school, church fresco, historic buildings with gallery and weaving museum, plus much more. Near Spruce Pine and Banner Elk.
Grovewood Gallery
Grovewood Village
Explore this fantastic historic arts & crafts campus in Asheville with Grovewood Gallery, working artist studios, a sculpture garden, Golden Fleece restaurant, two museums and historic factory tours. 111 Grovewood Rd (adjacent to Grove Park Inn). Free parking.
Asheville Art Museum
Asheville Art Museum
Explore world-class special exhibitions and the museum's outstanding collection, showcasing the very best of 20th-century American art.
North Carolina Arboretum
North Carolina Arboretum
Stroll through a variety of gardens and on peaceful woodland trails, located in Asheville adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Don't miss their impressive bonsai garden exhibit and many special events during the year.

Artist Studio Driving Tours

Kenilworth Artists Open Studio Tour
Kenilworth Artists Open Studio Tour
Saturday, May 25, 2019 to Sunday, May 26, 2019
Kenilworth neighborhood, just five minutes from downtown Asheville, annual Open Studio Tour features 20+ jewelers, painters, glass-workers, fabric artists, potters, woodworkers, photographers and more!
Toe River Studio Tour
Toe River Studio Tour
Friday, May 31, 2019 to Sunday, June 2, 2019
Drive scenic mountain roads to find 100 fine artists and crafts people in every medium at their studios for a free, self-guided cultural adventure in the Penland, Spruce Pine and Burnsville area.
Leicester Art Tour
Come to Leicester Studio Tour
Saturday, August 17, 2019 to Sunday, August 18, 2019
Take a free, self-guided tour to 23 studios and shops in Leicester, a community nestled in the mountains near Asheville. 10 AM-6 PM
Weaverville Art Safari
Weaverville Art Safari
Saturday, November 2, 2019 to Sunday, November 3, 2019
This self-guided, make-your-own-agenda event throughout Weaverville and surrounding scenic valleys is a rare opportunity to interact with artists and see the process behind their critically-acclaimed works of art. And it's fun to buy directly from the artists!
Drive About Art Tour
Arts & Crafts Drive-About Tour
Friday, November 29, 2019 to Saturday, November 30, 2019
Take a free self-guided driving tour of the galleries and working studios of Graham and Swain Counties and buy arts and crafts directly from the artist. Pick up a map at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center near Fontana Lake. 10 AM-5 PM.
Toe River Studio Tour
Toe River Studio Tour
Friday, December 6, 2019 to Sunday, December 8, 2019
Self-driving tour to discover studios of 100+ artists and craftsmen, many internationally-known and from the acclaimed Penland School of Crafts. A blend of contemporary and traditional art - Burnsville and Spruce Pine area. Free admission!

Find much more! Go to the Blue Ridge Craft Trails website to find art, galleries and artist studios by town.

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