A Hand-carved Haven: Wood Gifts in the Smokies

The Smokies is well-known for its exciting modern attractions like Dollywood and Ripley’s Aquarium, but did you know they’re also steeped in rich history and authentic mountain culture? In the Smoky Mountains, you can still find a number of craftsmen who stay true to their roots, making Smoky Mountain art the old-fashioned way—including Gatlinburg woodworkers.

While Gatlinburg is home to all kinds of local craftsmen—making their jewelry, candles, leather, and pottery all by hand—its woodworkers carry on a special tradition of arts and crafts in Gatlinburg. These Smoky Mountain artists, like Tim Weberding and Otto Preske, create some of the finest wood creations you’ll find in the South, including plaques, ornaments, birdhouses, and chainsaw carvings.

To visit these local crafters, plan some time for your Smoky Mountain vacation to tour the Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail. On this historic eight-mile loop, you’ll visit the largest group of independent artisans in North America, the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. To access this loop, simply leave your car in town and take the Fun Time Trolley, which is available to you at no cost in the summertime. Or you can park your car at the shops themselves for no fee. While there, plan to visit these celebrated Gatlinburg wood gift shops. You can watch the craftsmen in action or purchase your very own piece of Smoky Mountain woodwork to take home. And you’ll have plenty of beautiful, handcrafted items to choose from, whether you’re looking for a unique gift for a special occasion or a one-of-a-kind memento from your time in the Smokies.

Beech Branch Crafts—This craft shop, which also doubles as an art gallery, features personalized slate and redwood signs and rustic birdhouses. You can also view local and regional pottery and paintings, vine baskets, and brick houses.

Otto Preske—Artist in Wood—This award-winning artist specializes in woodcarving/sculpture using traditional carving tools. View his architectural and religious carvings as well as handcrafted fireplace mantels.

Ownby’s Woodcraft—Since the 1800s, creating beautiful and unique woods products—like wood fruit, stools, bears, birdhouses, baskets, and more—has been the Ownby’s family tradition. Check out their huge selection of products in their Gatlinburg shop.

Smoky Mountain Art—You can find a number of amazing, handcrafted products at Smoky Mountain Art, which features the work of over 30 local artists. Among them, check out locally crafted driftwood art and chainsaw carvings—a perfect addition to your personal collection.

Tim Weberding Woodworking—For a truly unique experience in the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community, visit this wood shop, where third generation woodworker Tim Weberding creates specialty gifts like wood baskets, boxes, ornaments, plaques, and more. In his shop, you can not only purchase these gifts, but you can also watch them being made by the artisans themselves!

Wood Cottage—Featuring laser-engraved wooden ornaments, handcrafted home décor, and a variety of collectibles, this eclectic shop is worth a visit when you’re in Gatlinburg. Take home knives, engraved writing pens, personalized key chains, and more.

The 42nd annual fall fair will take place October 5 – 22, 2017. At this event, you’ll get to view the handmade products of more than 180 of the finest craftspeople from all over the United States and enjoy live country and bluegrass music that is another important part of the culture of the mountains. Tickets are $7 for adults, and children 12 and under are FREE.

Don’t miss your chance to take home a piece of Smoky Mountain arts and crafts work during your next visit to Gatlinburg. Need a place to stay nearby? We have hundreds of cabins to choose from, offering everything from mountain views to modern amenities!

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