When it comes to arts & crafts, there is no other place to be than Gatlinburg's historic Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community.
Known as the Glades, it all started in the late 1930's by woodcarver John Cowden who had grown tired of working and maintaining shop in town. Since then, it has grown to a conglomerate of more than 100 artists and craftsmen spread around an 8-mile scenic loop of the town, is the country's largest collection of independent arts.
Sure... you're going to find plenty to do in Gatlinburg, what with all the attractions and fun downtown. But after a couple days, you'll need wind down a bit. And a trip to this Community will be the perfect solution. Actually, it is not to be missed by anyone coming to Gatlinburg. It's free and fun.
There is a special Arts and Crafts Trolley that travels the entire community with stops convenient to at the studios. Cost is just $1 and you can get on and off as much as you want. That's the way to enjoy the Arts & Crafts Community!
Stops along this Highway 321 route include the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, a nationally appreciated visual arts facility. The exhibits change depending on the time of year and there is a bookstore and fine arts resource center. Check it out at 556 Parkway.
The arts & crafts scene essentially consists of artists that have been designated part of the Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail. Also included is The History Trail (discover the people and events that helped form our state), and The Music Trail (a lesson in Blue Grass and mountain music).
As for arts and crafts, you'll find whittled art, castings of trolls, willow baskets, brooms, quilts, candles, sculptures, ceramics, hand-made pottery, dulcimers, leather work, water colors, beautiful paintings, lithographs, jewelry, leather, dolls, wearable fashions, framed art, and more!
The Smoky Mountain Pottery shop features unique pottery work, candles, soap, and prints. Check out the knives at Blackwolff Knives. Get that leather guitar strap, wallet, or belt you've always wanted at Country Cobbler Custom Leather. Browse glass pendants at the Hills Creek Gallery and Glass Studio. Perhaps you desire an awesome handcrafted birthstone ring from The Jewelry Spot. And, these are just some of the many shops you'll find along the route.
It is fun to stop and talk with the artists and watch them work. They're always happy to answer your questions and you'll love their mountain accents!
There are live stage productions and outdoor drama exhibits as well in the Community.
So, take a morning or afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and hop on the Trolley for some relaxing fun shopping some of the finest crafts and art pieces in the country.
The Arts & Crafts Community is located east of downtown Gatlinburg, about 3 miles from traffic light number 3 on the parkway. If you're driving, look for the large sign at the corner of Glades Road and Parkway!
To get started, just take Highway 321 to Battle's Grocery Store and turn left. You'll start seeing the shops along the Glades/Buckhorn Road area.
Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community
Highway 321 North
Glades Road/Buckhorn Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
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