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Artist and Craftsman Getaway

Visitors to North Carolina's mountains are rediscovering traditional artisans and art alike, and today they are taking home a slice of the state's mountain history.

Descendents of original North Carolinians still practice their art in the mountains of Western North Carolina. And each year they welcome thousands of travelers bent on experiencing not only mountain splendor, but also North Carolina's "living" history.

Native Americans and European immigrants both loved the seclusion of North Carolina's mountains. But with this isolation came the necessity to create utilitarian form of arts and crafts. Natives and pioneers built their own homes, crafted furniture, dolls and toys, carved musical instruments, molded pottery and weaved baskets.

These artisans have become a unique asset to the state because travelers can visit with them, get to know them, and watch them do what their ancestors have done for hundreds of years. Just as the traditional museum becomes a living museum, the artisan is a living treasure. And people are discovering these North Carolina treasures.

Popular destinations include The Folk Arts Center, located just outside Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway and home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The Center features a wide variety of crafts and offers unique programs designed to bring artisan and patron together.

The Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, located on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, is the result of 60 Cherokee craftsmen who organized a co-op in 1946 to help sell their handicrafts. Today, it offers works from 300 artists and is one of the nation's most respected sources for quality Native American crafts.

The John C. Campbell Folk School, in Brasstown, was founded in 1919 on the model of Danish-style folk schools, and continues the craft traditions developed by William Morris and John Ruskin in the mid-1800's. The Craft Shop offers the work of over 200 mountain craftspeople and the Folk School offers 300 courses in many crafts
Penland School of Crafts, one of the most respected craft schools in the country, offers intensive instruction in over a dozen different media, including book arts, glass, clay, metal, wood, photography and textiles. Visitors can view finished work, as well as tour the campus.

The Appalachian Heritage Museum, in Boone, is a living museum, where full-time docents demonstrate skills year-round. It is located in the 1903 home of the founders of Appalachian State University.

You might also be interested in:
Cabin Rentals in the Northern Mountains (The Appalachian Heritage Museum)
Cabin Rentals in the Middle Mountains (Penland School of Crafts, The Folk Arts Center)
Cabin Rentals in the Southern Mountains

Bed and Breakfast in the Northern Mountains (The Appalachian Heritage Museum)
Bed and Breakfast in the Middle Mountains (The Appalachian Heritage Museum)
Bed and Breakfast in the Southern Mountains (The Appalachian Heritage Museum)