Final stop on our week long journey through southeast Tennessee, northern Georgia and western North Carolina—the tiny town of Black Mountain, North Carolina. We had the better part of an afternoon here, on our way to the Asheville regional airport, where we’d drop our rental car and fly home. We started with a visit to the Black Mountain-Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce [201 East State Street] to ask questions and get maps.
Black Mountain rang bells for me after having seen the Rom-Com The Longest Ride, which featured the experimental liberal arts college which operated between 1933 and 1957. We were interested in seeing if the folk art tradition was still alive here. We visited the tiny Black Mountain Center for the Arts [225 West State Street] to learn more, but the larger Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center in Asheville offers a more in depth story.
One of the most surprising places to look for local art is Town Hardware & General Store [103 West State Street] where you’ll truly find a bit of everything, including the most beautiful wooden bowls. I bought one that was signed by the artist, and every time I use it at home, I think of my afternoon hunting for treasure in Black Mountain.
Luciene Amador-Smith, owner of Bella Gallery Fine Art & Jewelry [112A Cherry Street] sells beautiful baubles and Element Tree Essentials has an outpost [101 Cherry Street, also in Asheville] with their handcrafted lotion candles. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Veranda Cafe to fuel up for our last walk about town, and one final stop—Milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Art Center
Southern Highland Craft Guild is housed in the The Folk Art Center, which includes a museum of Appalachian arts and crafts and houses offices for the National Park Service and Eastern National. Its mission is to cultivate the crafts and makers of the Southern Highlands for the purpose of shared resources, education, marketing, and conservation.
“With a creative community of juried members spanning over nine states, the Southern Highland Craft Guild fosters opportunities for makers to build, market, and maintain their creative livelihood through continuing education, retail outlets, and mentorship. We are invested in helping members achieve their goals and providing them with the resources to refine and sell their craft.”
If you are looking for high quality, handmade American Craft, you’ll certainly find something in these artists’ galleries.