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Gatlinburg is known for being the gateway to the Smokies and a great place to try some exciting attractions. But did you know there’s a community that is dedicated to the culture of the Appalachian people? The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community is the largest independent organization of artisans in the country. They preserve history by continuing several arts and crafts that have been passed down to them over the years. Here’s your guide to the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community:
History of the Community
For several years, craftsmen brought their wares to town to sell. In 1937, several craftsmen decided they didn’t want to be in town anymore, so they packed up and went home. There were several factors that caused them to decide to bring their shops back home, including weather and traffic. Artists and craftsmen set up their own shops nearby, and people visiting Gatlinburg came into the Glades to see their work.
About the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community
This community is an 8 mile long loop of shops and locally owned restaurants. You’ll definitely feel like you’ve stepped into a small mountain town with the cozy shops and amazing food. There are several different kinds of wares all along the loop. There are artists who paint stills of the mountain scenery or specialize in portraits. Some people maintain lost skills, such as hand woven baskets, brooms, and quilting. There are also a number of items for sale that would be perfect for travelers to pick up as gifts such as hand crafted dolls, finely made ceramics, and one of a kind jewelry pieces. In addition, some more modern additions to the Gatlinburg craft world can also be found at the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community. Some of these new art forms include trendy clothes and photography. For many of the artists and craftsmen, you can watch them work and ask them questions about their craft or the history of it.
The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community also has events throughout the year. There is an annual craft show in downtown Gatlinburg where people set up shops in the convention center and sell their products. You’ll be able to spend some time with the artists and ask them questions. Another event is workshops where you can learn how to do some of the crafts and art these people do.
Location of the Community
You may be wondering how far the community is from downtown Gatlinburg, and it’s actually not far at all! If you want to enjoy a leisurely trip to the loop, you can ride the yellow trolley from downtown Gatlinburg. The start of the loop is only 3 miles from downtown Gatlinburg. From downtown, head towards the Parkway, and turn right onto the East Parkway. After about 3 miles, you’ll turn on Glade Road, and you’re in the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community!
Popular Shops and Restaurants
If you plan on visiting this area of Gatlinburg, you probably want to know where you should stop! You can always spend a day or two exploring the community, but here are the top shops and restaurants along the loop:
If you enjoy handmade pottery, Alewine Pottery is a great shop to stop and explore. You can watch potters make pieces in real time, and you might even find a gift or two you want to bring home. Alewine Pottery also has an online shop!
Crystelle Creek Restaurant & Grill
Want to get amazing food from a locally owned restaurant? Crystelle Creek Restaurant & Grill is a great option in the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community. They have a huge variety of food, from steak to Italian pasta dishes. Plus, their gardens on the property are incredible. There’s a koi pond, a water feature, and a 150-foot tree decorated with candles.
Paul Murray Gallery
Paul Murray Gallery is a shop that’s home to an international artist that is known for capturing the last real mountain folk in his drawings and paintings. You can find his original paintings in this shop, as well as prints, t-shirts, and more.
If you love all things Christmas, then you definitely need to visit Santa’s Claus-et while you’re in the community. You’ll find beautiful trees, ornaments, and other decor. There are also several dip mixes, jams, and other food items that you may be able to sample while you’re in the store. You might even spot Santa while you’re there!
Travelers can truly spend their whole vacation exploring the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community and not discover all of the wonders it has to offer. Learn more about the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community, then plan your trip to the Smoky Mountains!