Shopping in Gatlinburg’s historic Glades community is a special treat for anyone visiting the Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge area. Whether you’re staying for a week or only a few days, touring the Glades 8 mile loop gives visitors access to what has been designated as a Tennessee Heritage Arts and Crafts Trail. With over 100 shops, artist galleries, restaurants, and pottery studios visitors can spend the day browsing the rich heritage of the Great Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts Community.
The Glades Arts and Crafts Community was started back in 1937 when John Cowden and a few other craftsmen decided to move their crafts shops from downtown Gatlinburg to the Glades area. They wanted to get closer to home and be able to practice their craft away from the traffic and downtown bustle so that they could be near to their tools and supplies, sometimes setting up shop right inside their home in the Glades. This seemed to be better for their working environment and with fewer disruptions of downtown life, they had an easier time creating their art. Some wanted to be able to work out front of their store or studio, so the public could see how their art was created and being back near their home, they felt their creative juices flowing freely. The Glades Arts and Crafts Community wasn’t a planned development. It happened naturally once a few artisans moved their wares to the area, others followed.
Tennessee’s history is very rich and varied. So many historic sites are hidden in the Great Smoky Mountains and the trails that wind through the hills are a small part of it. Visitors will be enriched by visiting the artisans of the area, telling their own history through their art and craft. The Glades Arts and Crafts Community showcases local art and history. Visitors will find handmade pottery, folk art, hand woven baskets and handmade brooms. Not only will they be treated to the folk art of Tennessee, they’ll also find sweet and savory treats with jams, jellies and much, much more. There is also a covered bridge along the Trail that is a must see for those who enjoy covered bridges.
To get to the Glades Arts and Crafts Community, you can ride the Craft Trolley by catching it at Ripley’s Aquarium downtown or you can drive yourself. The Glade Community is located three miles from downtown Gatlinburg. Turn at Traffic light #3 and go three miles on HWY 321 North. Then turn left at Traffic light #3A and you will begin your journey through The Glades Arts and Crafts Community. The shops and galleries are open year round, most with normal daily hours. Be sure to allow ample time for all of the stops you’ll want to make since the Loop is a treasure trove for the vacationing visitor and locals also.
When you begin the 8 mile Arts and Crafts Loop, visitors will first see the Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts Village on the left. Multiple shops are located here, along with a few local artist galleries. Be sure to stop and visit So Very Cherry for cherry themed items and sweet treats, along with cherry flavored coffee. And don’t forget to sample the multitude of jams, jellies and other treats at Jams, Jellies, Nuts, & More in the same complex. If you like folk art and antiques, just below the Smoky Mountain Arts and Craft Village complex is a wonderful little store with primitive items to please everyone. (Photo Credit William Britten)
Moving along the Trail, you’ll find Lorelei’s Candle Factory, the Bearfoot Art Gallery and Apple Annie’s Kitchen Cupboard. Don’t forget to stop at Jim Gray’s Art Gallery. Jim Gray is a well known local artist. His depictions of the Smoky Mountains are wonderful in oils and water colors and are ready for visitors to take home for a piece of the Smoky Mountains in their own home. Visitors may purchase many sizes of Mr. Gray’s art and have it framed on site. The Gallery will even ship it home for you. Jim Gray is also well known as the sculptor of the famous Dolly Parton Bronze Statue that stands on the Sevier County Courthouse grounds and draws thousands of visitors per year.
Further along the way visitors will be happy to stop at the Glades Arts & Crafts Corner where they will find wonderful woodcarvings and baskets, primitives, candles and snacks.
Across the road visitors should stop at the Glades Soda Fountain, located in the Morning Mist Village Shops for an old fashioned treat made especially for you by an old fashioned, actual ‘soda jerk’. The ice cream is delicious and visitors won’t regret it so be sure to leave room after lunch for this special treat. One fantastic shop also located in the Morning Mist Village is Misty Mountain Soap Company. Misty Mountain Soap Company specializes in locally-made, hand-made soaps, lotions and bathing items. Visitors can find anything they need in Misty Mountain Soap Company for personal grooming and they also carry items for not only women, but men and pets too. If you need something to keep the bugs away in the summer, Misty Mountain Soap Company makes a lotion that will help you. They use natural ingredients and the scents are amazing. Lip balms, body lotions, sugar and salt scrubs, foot baths—too many items to list. It’s a must stop for anyone who loves the wonderful scents of body and bath items.
Visitors will also find a wonderful art gallery with amazing photographic art of the Great Smoky Mountains region by William Britten. The crispness of the photographic art puts you right into the scene and you can almost smell the forest when looking at this art.
Just past the Morning Mist Village Shops complex visitors who love pottery will be pleased to find the Alewine Pottery Center. The Alewine family of Gatlinburg handcrafts a selection of wonderful mugs, vases, bowls and other lovely items for purchase. The Alewine tradition spans three generations and established by Robert Alewine, the business has grown along with the family. Alewine Pottery is known nationwide and the atmosphere at the shop is fun and family friendly. Fall in love with the lovely shapes and colors of Alewine Pottery.
Driving a bit further, visitors will find the Cliff Dwellers Complex with its many artisan shops and just past this is Glades Village with more shops. Artists, woodworkers and primitives abound and moving from shop to shop is easily done.
On the left, a bit farther along, is Grace Dyer Galleries and Blackwolff Knives. It’s a good place to browse and see all kinds of artwork. Are you in the market for chairs? You’ll be happy to find The Chair Shop just past these shops.
The Covered Bridge Complex is next on the Glades Arts and Crafts Trail and yes, visitors can drive across the one lane bridge if it is open at the time they visit. Sometimes it is closed to traffic for certain festivals and such. Visitors will find some wonderful shops at the Covered Bridge Complex. There is ample parking in back and the shops are easy to walk to from the central courtyard area. You’ll find another Misty Mountain Soap Company shop here in case you forgot to pick up something when you visited the one in the Morning Mist Village. Smoky Mountain Home Necessities and Custom Creations by Beth are two more shops that beg for a look inside. There’s also the Jewelry Spot and the Rock Spot and let’s not forget More Than a Candle. A favorite with visitors is Sparky’s Glass Blowing where you can watch as decorative glass art objects are expertly blown with finesse. The sparkling blown glass objects are so beautiful visitors will have a hard time choosing which piece they’d like to take home as a souvenir. The Hills Creek Gallery has some lovely paintings and beautiful art and visitors would surely be missing something if they didn’t take the time to stop.
Just past the Covered Bridge Complex is the Firefly Glass Studio and the Paul Murray Gallery, both treasures along the Trail.
If visitors are ready for lunch or just want to take a break from all the shopping and sights to see, they will find the Fox and Parrot English Tavern next along the Trail to take a few moments for a rest and a bite to eat or something to drink. Some of the favorites from the menu are Shepherd’s Pie and Steak and Mushroom Pie. They also have Bangers and Mash and Chicken Pie. The Fox and Parrot is family oriented so be sure to take the whole family with you when visiting. They are also known for games such as English Darts and hosting Scottish Highland Games. With a full selection of beers and ales, visitors will enjoy passing the time at the Fox and Parrot English Tavern in the Glades.
A bit further down the Trail is Make It Magic Chainsaw Art & Crafts. Visitors won’t want to miss the skilled carvings and craftsmanship that goes into each piece.
Visitors travelling the trail on Glades Road will come to a stop sign where the road T’s and Glades Road ends. To continue along the Glades Arts and Crafts Trail, turn right and follow Buckhorn Road to continue along the Trail.
The first stop on Buckhorn Road is the G. Webb Gallery. Then Highland Craft Gallery not far past that. If visitors are riding the Trolley, there is a Trolley stop just past this gallery where they can embark or debark as they please. Buckhorn Road is also known as Route 454.
A treat for everyone is the Wild Plum Tea Room. If visitors haven’t had lunch or just want to take a break and have a cup of tea, The Wild Plum Tea Room is a delicious respite from a hard day shopping. Have some Lobster Pie or Chicken Salad. Or perhaps you’d prefer a Salmon Burger or Salmon Sandwich. Be sure to save room for the Bread Pudding. The Wild Plum Tea Room also has vegetarian and gluten-free offerings.
Once visitors are refreshed with a coffee, tea, or lunch break, they can continue on Buckhorn Road to Otto Preske’s Place. Mr. Preske is an artist in wood and at his shop visitors will find hand carved fireplace mantels, Christmas ornaments and hiking staffs. Carved figures and religious carvings can also be found here. Mr. Preske has been located here in Gatlinburg since 1976 and is a Charter Member of the Great Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts Community and the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce.
Across from Mr. Preske’s studio shop is the Mountain Arts Complex. At the complex you will find Smokies Edge and Judy James Pottery and Gift Gallery. Definitely a nice stop to pick up souvenirs for the folks back home.
And next along the Trail is the Vern Hippensteal Gallery. Mr. Hippensteal is known for his landscapes, waterfalls and florals paintings. He also does still lifes and a few fairies. Stopping at the Hippensteal Gallery is a treat for the eyes.
Just past Ogle Road visitors will find the Terri Waters Gallery, off Buckhorn Road on Bebb Road. Ms. Waters is a Gatlinburg nature whose watercolors express the many pastoral scenes of the Great Smoky Mountains in vibrant detail. With paintings of pioneer homes and farms, Smoky Mountain wildflowers and picturesque landscapes, Ms. Waters conveys her true love of her home, the Great Smoky Mountains.
Moving along Buckhorn Road, visitors will come upon Turtle Hollow Gallery, Brandywine Pottery and Woodland Tales. At Brandywine Pottery, artist Brandy Ward creates beautiful yet functional pottery that’s inspired by the Great Smoky Mountains. Each piece is hand thrown and colored with wonderful glazes inspired by the natural colors of the mountains. With wonderful shapes and sizes, visitors are sure to find something they’d like to take home for their personal décor. Turtle Hollow Gallery features artist Ross Markley along with others and inside visitors will find all sorts of artwork including contemporary sculptures in bronze and stone along with hand carved wooden bowls. Many treasures are to be found here.
Now we’ve returned to East Parkway and HWY 321 N, signaling the end of the 8 mile Glades Arts and Crafts Loop. To return to Gatlinburg, turn right here at the stop sign where Buckhorn Road meets HWY 321 N.
One time through the Great Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts Community in the Glades is surely not enough, with many visitors returning every time they visit the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a true gem in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area.