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BLUE RIDGE CRAFT TRAILS

THE NEW BLUE RIDGE CRAFT TRAILS

Think You’ve Seen It All? Well…Think Again!

Driven along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina? Think you’ve seen all there is to see? Well…think again.

Welcome to the Blue Ridge Craft Trails, the curation of 310 destinations, including artist studios, galleries, and arts organizations in 25 Western North Carolina counties all in the Blue Ridge mountains and foothills and the Qualla Boundary.

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Executive Director Angie Chandler said the trail includes an area that is the home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, adding that the footprint of the Blue Ridge Craft Trails is equivalent to the land covered by the state of Maryland. "Western North Carolina is one of the most distinctive cultures in the United States,” said Chandler. “We have amazing craft artists and galleries with such variety and creativity. They are ready to welcome locals and visitors alike."

The Blue Ridge Craft Trails offer a new reason to visit the North Carolina mountains and foothills – and get outside and explore hidden gems. Destination Analysts’ new American travel research shows travelers will focus on fun in 2022, going to less crowded places and enjoying the outdoors.

When you think about it, art is an inspired response to the mountains, foothills, forests and fauna around us. Craft is in our cultural DNA.

ANGIE CHANDLER Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Executive Director

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ABOUT THE BLUE RIDGE NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA) serves as the steward of the cultural and outdoor heritage of Western North Carolina’s mountains and foothills. The area was federally designated as a National Heritage Area in 2003 because of its unique culture, character and natural beauty.

BRNHA is one of 55 National Heritage Areas in the U.S. Others include Yuma Crossing in Arizona; Rivers of Steel in Pennsylvania; Ohio and Erie Canal Way in Ohio; Augusta Canal in Georgia; and Niagara Falls in New York.

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And the Blue Ridge Craft Trails answer the need – including wellknown destinations familiar to 919 Magazine readers, such as Asheville and stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It also invites visitors to small towns and communities such as West Jefferson, Murphy, Sparta and Waynesville to meet artists and makers – plus regional itineraries often combine craft stops with local food, culture and outdoor exploration.

In addition to attracting visitors to small towns, Chandler said the project also connects makers with buyers, bringing economic development to the region. "Our heritage area was established to preserve traditional and contemporary craft as a living tradition in Western North Carolina," said Chandler. "I have a long family history in this region. When you think about it, art is an inspired response to the mountains, foothills, forests and fauna around us. Craft is in our cultural DNA."

EMBARK ON A CRAFT ADVENTURE

A Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other: a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands.

The Parkway meanders for 469 miles, protecting a diversity of plants and animals, and providing opportunities for enjoying all that makes this region of the country so special.

And now, visitors to Western North Carolina and to the Blue Ridge Parkway and embark on a craft adventure, via the Blue Ridge Craft Trails. The region is rich in craft traditions and brimming with craft artists, the enhances any trip.

For more information, visit blueridgeheritage.com/ blue-ridge-craft-trails.
We’re asking visitors who love the Blue Ridge Parkway–
one of the most visited National Park Sites in America – to also take a road less traveled.

WIT TUTTELL Vice President of Tourism and Marketing Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina; Executive Director of Visit North Carolina

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Wit Tuttell, Vice President of Tourism and Marketing for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina and Executive Director of Visit North Carolina, invited travelers to plan now for a North Carolina road trip. "We’re asking visitors who love the Blue Ridge Parkway – one of the most visited National Park Sites in America – to also take a road less traveled," Tuttell said. "The completion of the trails comes at a great time. Its culmination also brings much-needed economic support to craft artists and small businesses in rural areas who have been hurt by the pandemic.” Tildon Dunn is a regular contributor to 919 Magazine. He compiled this article utilizing information and press releases from a variety of sources, including Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and Blue Ridge Craft Trails. For more information, visit blueridgeheritage.com/blue-ridge-craft-trails.

BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

POINTS OF INTEREST

While exploring the new Blue Ridge Craft Trail, also check out some of these popular points of interest. For more information on planning a trip, things to do and places to go, visit blueridgeparkway.org – which provided this information.

LINN COVE VIADUCT

Hiking trails, history and heritage Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 304.4, Linville, NC 828-733-1354 nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit

BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY VISITOR CENTER

Hiking trails, picnic, exhibits 195 Hemphill Knob Rd, Asheville NC 828-298-5330 nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit

CRAGGY GARDENS

Hiking trails, picnic, family-friendly 364 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Black Mountain, NC 828-775-0976 nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit

DOUGHTON PARK

Seasonal fishing, trails; pet friendly, camping, picnic, accessbile facilities 45338 Blue Ridge Parkway Laurel Springs, NC 336-372-3454 nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit

FOLK ART CENTER

Arts and culture, picnic, hiking trails 382 Blue Ridge Parkway Asheville, NC | 828-298-0495 southernhighlandguild.org/folkartcenter

JULIAN PRICE MEMORIAL PARK

Fishing, picnic, accessible facilities, trails, water sports Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 296.7 Blowing Rock, NC nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit

LINVILLE FALLS

Picnic, hiking trails, picnic, fishing, family friendly Warrior Lane Marion, NC | 828-765-1045 nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit

MOSES H. CONE MEMORIAL PARK

History and heritage, fishing, arts and culture, nature and outdoors 6570 Blue Ridge Pky Blowing Rock, NC 28605 828-295-3782 nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit

MT. MITCHELL

Family friendly, food, picnic 2388 NC 128 Burnsville, NC 828-675-4611 ncparks.gov/mount-mitchellstate-park/home

NORTHWEST TRADING POST

History and heritage, general and country stores, food, picnic 414 Trading Post Rd Glendale Springs, NC 336-982-2543 nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit

Information and photographs courtesy blueridgeparkway.org.