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Leicester: A Hidden Cove of Beauty

Just a short drive west of downtown Asheville, Leicester (pronounced Lester) is a charming mountain community. Find winding country roads, hidden pockets of natural beauty, and a relaxed pace that encourages visitors to linger and explore. The area has become a haven for artists who showcase their talents and gladly welcome guests. Explore the charms of Leicester using the Blue Ridge Craft Trails.

Blue Ridge Craft Trails Sites

Nestled in a quiet ridge of chestnut oak and sourwood trees, potter Doc Welty creates pieces inspired by Western North Carolina’s traditional and historic pottery. The Pottery of Doc Welty showcases his signature stoneware pottery that features earthy colors and traditional shapes.

Macadoo Pottery celebrates the whimsical side of art with pottery accented with “fairy dust.” Potter Patrick McDermott combines his lifelong love of pottery and a degree in chemistry to craft pendant lights, platters, solar globes, pitchers, mugs, and more with his signature glaze. Visit his studio space to see firsthand how the process works.


The woods and fields of Sandy Mush are home to fiber artist Peggy Eckel. Her small farm houses her studio, Warp7wvr, where she weaves, knits, and felts baby blankets, towels, liturgical stoles, and delightful creatures. Her studio welcomes visitors with a chance to view her tools of the trade.


A lifelong love for art evolved into a passion for pottery for Cat Jarosz. Visit Cat Jarozs Pottery to view her brightly colored studio filled with her signature pieces. She uses the strongest clay available and hand-mixed glazes to create fully functional pottery designed for daily use.


Held every third weekend in August, the Come To Leicester Studio Tour, celebrates the area’s creative community. Artists specializing in painting, iron work, woodwork, glass, textiles, pottery, jewelry, and brooms open their studios to the public for a firsthand look at their process and handcrafted pieces.

Helpful tip: Before your visit, be sure to check in with craft artists and other sites on this itinerary to verify their availability and hours of operation.

Not to Miss

  • Addison Farms Vineyard is a scenic vineyard and winery that crafts small-batch, fine wines on the grounds of their fourth-generation family farm. Make reservations to tour their picturesque vineyard and sample their vintages.
  • Sovereign Remedies Exchange is a place to connect, indulge, and unwind over their all-day menu of savory and sweet pastries, desserts, coffee, beer, and wine.
  • Grateful Roots Market & Deli celebrates local flavors with a robust assortment of fresh produce, craft beer, wines, and gourmet foods. Shop for tasty delicacies or snack on homemade hot-pressed sandwiches, wraps, salads, soup, and more.
  • Noble Cider revives the ancient art of making cider and mead at their cidery and taproom. Sample their meads, spritzers, wines, and ciders crafted from premium ingredients and locally grown apples.

Macadoo Pottery

A signature feature of Macadoo Pottery is the “fairy dust” explosion that decorates each piece...


At her Warp7wvr studio in Leicester, Peggy Eckel creates a vast range of fiber products....

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The Regions of the Blue Ridge

In planning the best use of your NC mountains vacation days, know that the region can be divided into three sub-regions for ease of exploration:

Far West

  • Cherokee
  • The Nantahala Gorge
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park


  • Asheville
  • Hendersonville
  • Chimney Rock State Park
  • The waterfalls of Transylvania County
  • Many more highlights

High Country

  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Linville Falls
  • Boone
  • Blowing Rock
  • High northern mountains


  • Mt. Airy
  • Lenoir
  • Elkin