The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community is a popular destination among many visitors to this area. This historic 8-mile loop has been designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail (established in 1937). It is known as the largest group of independent artisans in North America. These talented artisans whittle, paint, sew, cast, weave, and carve, to create original collectibles such as candles, baskets, quilts, brooms, pottery, jewelry, dolls, ceramics, scrimshaw, silversmithing, leather, stained glass, wearable fashions, fine photography, frameable arts, oils, watercolors, lodging, restaurants, cafes, tea room, soda fountain, and candy shops. You can spend the entire day exploring! Let’s take a closer look at what this community has to offer.
History of the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community
This history-rich Heritage Trail has been developed by the State in order to showcase and highlight the cultural heritage of our people, and numerous Gatlinburg area shops as integral stops along the way. The History Trail pathway will allow you to discover the people and events that made Tennessee what it is today. If you would like to learn more about history of this Trail you can do so HERE.
Meet the Artists of the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community
With over 100 artisans and craftsman, the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community is full of a variety of keepsakes that you can take back home. There is plenty of parking at each shop throughout the loop. If you choose not to drive you can also ride the “Craft Trolley” to enjoy everything without the hassle of driving yourself. You pay a one time fee and can get on and off as much as you like while driving through the trail. For more information on the trolley, you can visit the Gatlinburg Welcome Center.
Most of the shops open at 10am and close around 5pm daily. What’s great about the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community is that it is open year round! Weather permitting, it is a great destination for the entire family no matter when you are visiting the smokies! Be prepared to see real live history in the making! Back in the day, visitors were intrigued by the ‘ways of the locals’ and purchasing their novel items like the handmade broom. Today you can still meet a third generation broom maker!
There are too many artisans and craftsman to cover on here individually, but we can showcase a few and what they have to offer! If you would like an alphabetical list of all the artists in the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community you can view that HERE. One of my favorite novelties is handspun pottery! Alewine Pottery , hand-thrown functional pottery made by Robert Alewine. His shop is open Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 10-5pm. Witness the quality craftsmanship first hand! The Cliff Dwellers Gallery is a Historic 1933 gallery featuring local contemporary and traditional fine crafts and arts. You can find baskets, glass, hand weaving, jewelry, marbling, painting, pottery, wearable art, wood and more. They are open 7 days a week and have artists working upstairs daily! Be sure to click on their link, they are hosting a “Year Long Craft Show” starting July 17th and ending on July 24th. It looks like they host a few other fun activities as well. I would definitely add this to the “must see” list.
Enjoy a unique shopping experience at the Covered Bridge in the Glades. Courtyard shopping, live entertainment, eateries, local artists, and a full service spa. You can also enjoy the Gatlinburg Farmers Market every Saturday from 8:30am-12 noon. (Season for the Farmers Market is May thru September) More than a Candle is one of the shops located in the Covered Bridge in the Glades. They specialize in natural soy candles and hand pour each one in the store! They offer scented and unscented. You can also find handmade baskets, soaps, & primitive country mountain decor.
I’m not sure what it is about having an all natural leather belt, but all the men in my life are insistent on it! If you are like them, or just like leather in general, be sure to stop by Leather “The Real McCoy”. Gary McCoy is a leather craftsman. He offers belts, (regular and ranger) solid leather, and solid brass, also other quality handcrafted leather goods.
I know there are a lot of quilt lovers out there! Mountain Stitches by Susan is the go to place. You can find fine cotton quilting fabrics, fat quarters, patterns, and books. Quilts, table toppers, and lap quilts are hand made by Susan in her shop. We can’t forget the third generation broom makers! Not only can you find brooms at Ogle’s Broom Shop, they also make hiking sticks, walking canes, and wood turned flower pots. Custom carvings are available.
The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community offers a few special events throughout the year. However, if you are in town this weekend, be sure to check out the Gatlinburg Craftmens Fair, showcasing artisans and craftsmen from all over the United States. This is one of my favorite craft fairs! Before moving to Tennessee, my Mom would plan our vacation around this fair. It is a must see!
Well, you definitely have your work cut out for you on your next visit! The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community has so much to offer for each member of your family. Pack your bags, load the car, and add Pigeon Forge, TN to your GPS. If you do not already have a place to stay, we would love to have you vacation in one of our two or three bedroom riverside condos. We look forward to seeing you!