Just three short miles from downtown Gatlinburg, visitors can enjoy many shops filled with Gatlinburg arts and crafts. In the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community, they will find hundreds of items made the old-fashioned way — by hand. The independent artisans who call the community home produce ceramics, fine art, basketry, candles, wearable fashions, quilts, treats, leather crafts, woodwork, glass products, jewelry and more. Many will visit with their guests, answer questions, demonstrate their skills, and explain their love for Gatlinburg arts and crafts.
The community got its start in 1937 when woodcarver and Glades Road resident John Cowden grew tired of traveling downtown each day to work for someone else. Instead, he invited people to his home and workshop, where they could see him carve and visit with him and his family. Furniture maker and fellow Glades Road resident Carl Huskey soon followed suit. As “the Glades,” as the area began to be known, drew more and more visitors, other artisans and craftsmen settled in the area as well.
What began with just one man now encompasses an eight-mile loop with more than 120 artisans, many who are even third-generation craftspeople. State officials have designated it as a Tennessee Heritage Arts and Crafts Trail because it showcases the state’s rich history.
Throughout the community, visitors will find plenty of free parking. Rather than walk the route or keep moving their car to the next establishment, after they’ve parked, visitors can ride the trolley for only $1. Maps and brochures outline where each business in the community is located, ensuring that people will not miss anything.
These are just a few of the stores in the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community:
Red Owl Pottery
With more than 40 years of experience in pottery making, shop owners do more than just showcase their own works; they let visitors throw their own pots. Afterward, the store finishes it and mails it to them.
Ogle’s Broom Shop
Owned by third-generation broom makers, the store also makes hiking and walking sticks with handcrafted carvings.
Mountain Stitches by Susan
The shop sells everything from fabrics to pattern books. Shop owner Susan also displays, demonstrates and loves to talk about the quilts and table toppers in her store, which she made herself.
The owners of this store make clay tiles in nature-inspired shapes that can be used in everything from kitchen backsplashes to wall borders.
These shop owners make and sell baked goods, preserves, soups, coffee and soft pretzels. Visitors will also find pottery made by other community artisans.