GREAT SMOKY ARTS & CRAFTS COMMUNITY
After the Great Smoky Mountains and the national park themselves, it was arts and crafts that brought the first tourists to Gatlinburg in the 1930s. For the area’s early settlers, activities like making quilts, baskets, candles and pottery were simply a way of life and a matter of survival. However, in the early 20th century, folks turned their skills into a profit-making venture, and the seeds of the crafts industry were sown.
Today, those traditions thrive in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, a collective of artists and artisans that work (and sometimes live) along an eight-mile auto loop formed by Glades and Buckhorn roads in Gatlinburg. For more than 70 years, visitors have been discovering what is surely one of Gatlinburg's best kept secrets, located just 3 miles from the hustle and bustle of the downtown city limits.
The community comprises the largest group of independent artists and craftsmen in America, with more than 120 members located in one central area and all shops offering easy, free parking right outside their doors. This historic arts and crafts area has been designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail.
Among the finished, hand-made products you’ll find are woodcarvings, quilts, baskets, candles, brooms, pottery, jewelry, dolls, scrimshaw, silverwork, leatherwork, stained glass, wearable fashions, fine photography and frameable oils and watercolors.
Often, you can find the artists at work in their shops/studios, and they’re always happy to welcome guests, talk about their craft and field any questions you might have. Of course, they won’t be offended if you want to purchase any of their products either.
The signs along the auto tour are clearly marked, but if you want a more relaxing tour of the Community you can take the Arts & Crafts Trolley. For a one-time fare, you'll enjoy a trip throughout the loop. It's a great way to see everything, offering frequent stops, allowing you to get on and off as you please. In addition to the shops, studios and galleries, you’ll also find cafes, pubs, teahouses, candy shops and more to keep you going along the way.
And to find a conveniently located, amenity-filled cabin to serve as your vacation getaway, contact us here at Heartland Rentals, Gatlinburg located in the heart of the Arts & Crafts Community.