Visit Galleries, Studios and the Nationally Acclaimed Penland School of Crafts
Whether you’re a collector, an artist, or seeking a quality craft to remember your visit to the Blue Ridge, you’ll enjoy this day exploring this rich craft region in the High Country. Traveling along the scenic roads, you will find handmade treasures in the small mountain communities of Penland, Spruce Pine and Crossnore.
Penland School of Crafts
Begin your tour with a visit to the renowned Penland School of Crafts, located near Spruce Pine. The Penland School Gallery and Visitors Center is open March through early December; Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am -5:00 pm; Sunday hours are 12:00 -5:00 pm. The crafts shown and sold at the gallery are made by professional artists, many of whom have nearby studios and who have been students at Penland.
Visitors are welcome to walk through the grounds. Of special interest is the Craft House, one of the largest log structures in North Carolina. Tours of the campus are available Tuesdays at 10:30 am and Thursdays at 1:30 pm. Reservations are necessary; please call (828) 765-6211 if you are interested in a tour.
You are also welcome to visit The Barns, which houses the studios of the Penland’s resident artists: fulltime craftspeople who live and work at the school. The area surrounding the school is home to over 100 professional craft artists, many of whom have been associated with Penland.
Market on Oak
This unique retail outlet in Spruce Pine features the work of more than 80 artisans and crafters from eight mountain counties. The project was started in 2005 to help spur economic development after Mitchell County lost more than 5,000 textile, furniture and other manufacturing jobs. The store is located at 262 Oak Street, in historic downtown Spruce Pine.
Crossnore Weavers and Gallery and Ben Long Fresco
The tiny town of Crossnore has long been known for the superb woven goods produced by students at Crossnore School. Dr. Mary Martin Sloop established the Weaving Room in the early 20th century to preserve the ancient craft and to provide an income source for many mountain families. Today visitors to the gallery can watch the artisans at work and take home a beautiful woven souvenir.
Across the street and up the hill from the Gallery in the school chapel is one of the frescoes on the Benjamin F. Long IV Fresco Trail. The fresco renders the scripture of Mark 10:14, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” and features children who were residents of the Crossnore School at the time of the painting.
Contacts for accommodations, restaurants, and shopping:
Mitchell County (Penland & Spruce Pine)
Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce
Avery County (Crossnore)
Avery/Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce