Fall Craft Drives

Scenic drives to discover mountain crafts

Fall scenic craft drive

To make the most of a fall adventure in the mountains, grab a camera, pack a picnic lunch and get off the beaten path. Meet some of the local artisans that have made Western North Carolina the center for handmade crafts in the United States. Here are a few suggested drives, with artisan highlights from the Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina, which can be purchased at the Asheville Shop.

Early Fall

From Asheville, follow U.S. 19/23 north from downtown, taking U.S. 19 E to Burnsville. Visit some of the eclectic galleries in the small town of Burnsville. Continue your drive along 19 E, which affords spectacular views of the Black Mountains and Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern U.S. at 6,684 feet.

Follow NC 80 south, where you will find Ian and Jo Lydia Craven. Their striking hand-built porcelains impressed with antique laces have garnered a nationwide following for the couple. The drive further south on NC 80 brings travelers to The Candlelight, specializing in stained glass, and McWhirter Pottery, a family-owned studio featuring simple, decorative pottery.

Continue on to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Follow the Parkway south. Close to Asheville (milemarker 382) stop by the Folk Art Center, home to one of the oldest craft guilds in the U.S., the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Continue south on the Parkway to the next exit, which is on the edge of Asheville’s city limits.

(Drive Time: 3 ½ hours round trip.)


From downtown Asheville, take the Charlotte Street exit off I-240 and proceed north on Charlotte. Turn left onto Edwin Place and follow through light as it turns into Kimberly Avenue, a maple-lined drive of ornate homes with a view of The Grove Park Inn.

Follow Kimberly to Beaverdam Road. Turn right and drive through the scenic Beaverdam Valley. To sample the style of one of many well-known potters, visit the studio of George Handy (2 Webb Cove Road), located just off Beaverdam. Continue further along Beaverdam and follow signs to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Travel north on the Blue Ridge Parkway and follow signs for Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace State Historic Site. You will travel along the scenic winding Ox Creek Road with views of the Reems Creek Valley. Look for Ballard Branch Road where you will discover artists Steven Forbes-deSoule and Nancy Fargo.

Continue on Ox Creek and follow signs to Reems Creek Road and the 1800s Vance Homestead for a taste of mountain life in the 19th century. Reems Creek connects back to U.S. 25. Stop off at Larson Pocelain (440 Weaverville Highway/U.S. 25) before following U.S. 25 south to Asheville.

(Drive Time: 1 hour round trip)

Late Fall

From Asheville follow U.S. 74 east through Fairview and into Hickory Nut Gorge. Along the way stop at any of the delightful roadside stands selling fresh produce, apple cider, or pumpkins. Find woven and wood pieces at The Manual Woodworkers and Weavers in Gerton, and an eclectic mix of crafts in an old Victorian home in Bat Cave called A Touch of Time.

Continue on to Chimney Rock Park, the setting for the movie Last of the Mohicans. While in Chimney Rock, visit Edie's Good Things (Highway 64/74A) to view the handmade works of more than forty craftspeople. Take in the views of Lake Lure, where Patrick Swayze danced in the film Dirty Dancing.

Head back to Bat Cave and pick up Route 9, a true mountain road with spectacular views of the cliffs around the Lake. On the way, stop and see Eula Mae Lavender’s quilts and throws.

Wind your way to Black Mountain, where a father and son team demonstrate the art of woodworking as they create handmade bowls from exotic woods at the Black Mountain Gallery downtown. Then explore the many galleries and artisan boutiques that make this small town worth the stop. From Black Mountain, take U.S. 70 through the Swannanoa Valley back to Asheville.

(Drive Time: about 1½ hours round-trip.)

Shopping Search

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Allanstand Craft Shop at the Folk Art Center

  • Blue Ridge Parkway MP 382
  • Asheville, NC 28805
  • Phone: 828-298-7928
  • Region: East

Click here for information regarding the Government shutdown and its effect on the Folk Art Center. Featuring handmade jewelry, pottery, ironwork, glass, baskets, prints, and much more from members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, recognized …more

American Folk Art and Framing

  • 64 Biltmore Avenue
  • Asheville, NC 28801
  • Phone: 828-281-2134
  • Region: Downtown

Contemporary Southern Folk Art, including painting North Carolina wood-fired pottery, wood carving & jewelry. They also provide innovative custom picture framing solutions for the enhancement of your fine art. Throw in a generous helping of whimsy, …more

Appalachian Craft Center

  • 10 North Spruce Street
  • Ste. 120
  • Asheville, NC 28801
  • Phone: 828-253-8499
  • Region: Downtown

The pottery of the North Carolina folk potters awaits you at Appalachian Crafts. Owens, McNeill, Wyndham, and Coles, as well as many skilled artisans from the surrounding neighborhoods. Carved eastern song birds, wooden toys, hand-woven looper rugs, …more

Ariel Gallery

  • 19 Biltmore Avenue
  • Asheville, NC 28801
  • Phone: 828-236-2660
  • Region: Downtown

Ariel Gallery Asheville's contemporary craft collective. Featuring a wide range of fine craft created by its preeminent local members. Ariel Gallery: for the Well Crafted Life.

Art from the Heart

  • 114 Cherry Street
  • Black Mountain, NC 28711
  • Phone: 828-628-0520
  • Region: Black Mountain

Craftsmanship inspired by heartfelt themes including inspirational, family, nativity, and garden are found at Art From The Heart on historic Cherry Street in downtown Black Mountain. Enjoy wildflower tile paintings; rabbits, goats, and sheep in …more

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