Photo courtesy of Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Center
Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
Many of the Smoky Mountains’ earliest tourists came here to shop from local craftsmen, popularized by the Pi Beta Phi women’s fraternity that chose supporting these mountain folk artists as their cause. In 1912, the women established a public school for the local children, evolving into the Arrowmont School of Arts of Crafts that persists today. Centuries-old trades continue to be passed down, and visitors will find woodworking, basket weaving, ceramics, and metalworks created in the same manner they have for generations. An organized eight-mile loop road includes stops at 120 artists' studios and workshops, many with live demonstrations. Travel it at your leisure, or break it up over several days as you discover this thriving remnant of the culture that shaped Southern Appalachia.