During my last visit to Elk Springs Resort I was blessed with a rainy day. I enjoyed relaxing in the cabin, sitting in a rocking chairs on the wrap around deck, playing billiards with my husband, and just not having a schedule for the day. After some hours inside, however, I decided to set out to visit some area shops.
Though, I have stayed at the resort numerous times, I had never stopped in at the shops just down the road. I drove right down the road and visited the artisan shops and studios at Glades Village and The Covered Bridge complex. Little did I know that these weren’t your average tourist shops, in fact they were local artisan shops and studios and part of a much larger community of artists called The Great Smoky Mountains Arts & Crafts Community. I was thrilled to learn that Elk Springs Resort was situated in the heart of the such a unique and historic community.
Stepping into these studios fragrant with sawdust or cinnamon, coffee or fragrant flower candles; I felt like I was stepping into many different worlds. I visited a candle shop, a shop featuring homemade honey and jams, a woodworking shop and much more. I got to watch an artist paint a misty mountain rain vista from her window at Glades Village. It was truly inspiring to see these artists at work in their studio, and what a story to buy a piece of art and say you have met the artist and watched them create.
While visiting the Glades Village I also learned more about the history and importance of this artist community. I learned that theArts & Crafts Community is the largest group of independent artists in North America and has over one-hundred members. I also learned that the there is an 8-mile loop of artists with their shops and studios that people can visit. I was also interested to find out this community dates back to 1937 and has been designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts& Crafts Trail.
Literally a stones throw from the biggest concentrations of shops and studios on this 8-mile loop, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be staying at Elk Springs Resort. I loved having the convenience of stopping in and out these studios and shops each day when I left or returned to to our cabin.
So on your next visit , make it a priority to visit these studios and shops where you can watch as artisans whittle, paint, sew, cast, weave, and carve to create their unique works and crafts right in front of your eyes.
You will be overwhelmed by the abundance of crafts and collectables that you can find throughout this community, such as: pottery, baskets, jewelry, dolls, quilts, candles, stained glass, photography, wall art and the list goes on. Not only will you be buying a one-of-a-kind item made right in the Smokys, but you will also be experiencing history as you watch craftsmen create using methods and craftsmanship that handed down for several generations.
To find out more about the historic Great Smoky Mountain Arts & Crafts Community and all the shops and studios it includes visit their website at: www.gatlinburgcrafts.com