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.
Jeweler Melinda Lawton
Celebrate Henderson County's craft trails throughout the month of July! Visit 16 different craft sites along three trails via self-guided tours. The three trails focus on different geographic areas: downtown Hendersonville, the Village of Flat Rock, and the scenic countryside of Henderson County. Find maps, artist profiles, and additional attractions on Henderson County's website. You may also request to receive a trail guide via mail at that website, or by calling 800-828-4244.
Blue Ridge Craft Trails Top 10 Stops
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.
Discover a hidden gem rich with art and history adjacent to The Omni Grove Park Inn. This site is home to Grovewood Gallery, an outdoor sculpture garden, two museums, and Eldr restaurant. 111… read more
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-… read more
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… read more
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… read more
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… read more
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… read more
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… read more
Asheville Art Museum
Explore world-class special exhibitions and the museum's outstanding collection, showcasing the very best of 20th and 21st century American art in the heart of downtown Asheville.
Artist Studio Driving Tours
Kenilworth Artists Open Studio Tour
Kenilworth neighborhood, just five minutes from downtown Asheville, annual Open Studio Tour features 20+ jewelers, painters, glass-workers, fabric artists, potters, woodworkers, photographers and… read more
Arts & Crafts Drive-About Tour,
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… read more
Toe River Studio Tour
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… read more
Come to Leicester Studio Tour
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
Toe River Studio Tour,
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 -… read more