The charming village of Dillsboro (population 237) is our top small town for local art and craft. Within its few blocks, find works from hundreds of artists. A longtime artisan community, it's located in Jackson County on the banks of the Tuckasegee River. Dillsboro has been a tourist destination since the late 1800s. Then many visitors arrived by train, and they still do today on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad via an excursion from Bryson City. It's just 1.5 miles from downtown Sylva.
Dogwood Crafters (90 Webster Street) should be your first stop! This craft cooperative features 100+ mountain artists with an amazing array of items packed into their log store. Friendly volunteers will help you navigate the many rooms. They celebrate 42 years in 2018!
Tree House Pottery (148 Front Street) is a working studio with a gorgeous gallery showcasing the work of Travis Berning (pic above) and Joe Frank McKee. Their work is featured in galleries throughout the country.
Riverwood Pottery (60 Craft Circle) opened in 1973 in Riverwood Shops at the end of Webster Street near the river. Watch potter Karen Barnes create a face jug or daughter Zan at work on a variety of contemporary pieces. Next door is Oaks Gallery (29 Craft Circle) with fine art and craft from 125 regional artists. Rabbit Creek Pottery (27 Church Street) is another great pottery studio and gallery.
Innovation Station (40 Depot St, Dillsboro) opened in 2018 with a wrap-around covered patio and creek-side seating. The brewery has 32 taps that include non-alcoholic Ginger Ale, three local ciders, three wines and 25 hand-crafted beers. Top restaurants include Haywood Smokehouse (403 Haywood Road) voted top BBQ join in NC, Boots Steakhouse (64 Front St) and Foragers Canteen (42 Depot Street). Don't miss the Chocolate Factory (28 Church Street). Jarrett House is a famous staple of southern food since 1884, so come hungry for fried chicken, meat loaf, biscuits, fresh vegetables and all the fixin's.
Just a mile from shops in the village is the fascinating Jackson County Green Energy Park that uses renewable energy resources to create art. The glass studio, kiln and blacksmithing metals shop are one of few in the world utilizing landfill methane gas as a fuel. Watch artists at work or take a class. Read more.
The American Museum of the House Cat, about four miles south of Dillsboro, opened in 2017 with 10,000+ cat curiosities, including many rare and fascinating antiques. Check out this quirky roadside gem. Read more.
Raft, kayak or tube down the scenic Tuckasegee River from town at the Dillsboro River Company. Read about river trips on the Tuck.
Even their street festivals are art focused! See dates below. The highly acclaimed Western NC Pottery Festival is held the first Saturday in November.
Dillsboro is one of our Top 12 Christmas Towns in the mountains. With festive decorations, the Festival of Lights during the first two weekends in December and plenty of one-of-a-kind gifts, you'll definitely get in the holiday spirit!
Directions from Asheville: Take I-40 West to exit 27 and follow US Highway 74 towards Waynesville. Go 26 miles to exit 81 (US Highway 23/441) to Dillsboro. 52 miles from Asheville, 1-hour drive.
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