Elevate your seasonal shopping experience by visiting the mountain towns of Jackson County, N.C.! Here, you’ll find hand-crafted treasures and artisan creations as you merrily make your way down the small-town sidewalks, past the storefront windows adorned for the holidays.
We’ve created your perfect Gift Guide for those one-of-a-kind items guaranteed to delight your friends and family members. Make it a complete “gifting getaway” by booking a stay at one of our hotels, cabins, cottages or lodges!
And if you can’t decide exactly what to purchase, a gift certificate gives the perfect excuse to make the return trip with them to Jackson County!
The Artisan Village of Dillsboro
For abundant holiday cheer, one need not look any further than the Village of Dillsboro, recently named one of the “Five North Carolina Towns That Belong in a Christmas Movie,” by Our State magazine. Strolling the village sidewalks, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back to simpler days. Listen for the train whistle as the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad delivers passengers to the town as part of its holiday rides.
For hand-crafted items that honor Appalachian tradition, don’t miss Dogwood Crafters. A cooperative showcasing mountain arts, crafts and gifts, Dogwood has been a staple in Dillsboro since 1976. Enter the log cabin-style galleries to find handmade treasures created by more than 85 regional artists who keep craft traditions alive. The ever-changing inventory in its 12 rooms includes corn shuck dolls, wooden bowls, handmade quilts, knitted items, stained glass and delightful novelty birdhouses.
When The Corn Crib opened its doors in 1983, all its items had been made by hand. Today, the expanded offerings include home décor, clothing, flower arrangements and other gift items. Pick up a reindeer filled with hot chocolate ingredients for a fun stocking stuffer or a gorgeous holiday wreath – one of the shop’s signature items.
For handmade furniture and décor, quilts and blankets, visit Front Porch General Store. The hand-crafted items display next to antiques and rare finds, many of which were created generations ago.
When it’s time for a break, stop by Dillsboro Chocolate Factory where the hand-crafted adventure continues with sweet treats. From fudge to hand-dipped chocolates to truffles, the candy is made right before your eyes, creating a complete sensory experience.
Authentic Arts and Crafts in Cherokee
With more than 3,000 handmade, authentic Cherokee items for purchase, Qualla Arts and Crafts holds the honor of being the nation’s oldest and foremost Native American cooperative. Opening in 1946 with a vision of strengthening tribal values and providing livelihoods while offering unique beauty, the co-op offers pottery, knives, wood and stone carvings, jewelry and other pieces. Don’t miss its amazing basketry works made from river cane, white oak and honeysuckle!
Sweet Treats and More in Sylva
In Sylva, hand-crafted items aren’t limited to its Main Street shops.
Each Saturday morning, a tucked-away corner turns into a pop-up arts festival featuring works from local artisans and crafters. The Jackson Arts Market is free and takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. in a space off Main Street. In addition to handcrafted items such as jewelry and upcycled clothing, you’ll find hand-blown glass and pottery. The colorful scene often includes live music and a flock of free-roaming chickens.
At the outdoor markets and Innovation Brewing, you can find beautiful, all-natural body soaps created by Cullowhee Farms – a local product now sold in 27 states. With a focus on sustainability, the husband-and-wife-owned company also offers bars of shampoo and conditioner, lotion and lip balms – the perfect gift for the eco-conscious on your list!
Snake Song may be known best for its original fresh or dried floral arrangements; however, don’t overlook its artisan jewelry, loose tea blends and gifts created from crystals and gemstones. Looking for a custom-designed night light? This may be your place.
The Baxleys have been creating chocolate confections for more than two decades, and their charming, Main Street storefront is an easy stop along the shopping stroll. Profiled recently in Our State magazine, Baxley’s Chocolates offers an old-fashioned feel, friendly service and delectable treats. Inside Baxley’s, you’ll find caramels, toffee, peanut brittle and – true to the season – sugarplums!
At the end of Main near the Historic Courthouse/Public Library, our Jackson County Visitor Center sells keepsakes, many of which are unique or hand-crafted, including a yearly holiday ornament, original artwork and stickers bearing the town’s name.
Galleries and Gift Shops in Cashiers
Further south in Jackson County and perched at 3,484 feet, the Village of Cashiers is the place to go for original fine art. Nestled near the crossroads of U.S. 64 and Hwy. 107, Mountain Mist Gallery offers original works of art, from paintings to sculpture to pottery to glass art and more. A staple of the community since 2011, Mountain Mist is operated by a husband-and-wife team that creates oil paintings and jewelry. The gallery showcases pieces from more than two dozen highly accomplished regional artists, and offers classes and workshops!
Driving towards Sapphire from Cashiers is Ann Lea Fine Art Gallery. A relatively new, 5,000-square-foot gallery with an eclectic selection of original artwork, it offers pieces ranging from large paintings to sculptures to small gift items. The gallery also hosts special exhibitions. For truly one-of-a-kind artwork, inquire about commissioned pieces.
Plan Your Visit!
Finding hand-crafted holiday gifts is easy in Jackson County! You’ll surely cross everyone off your list – and add plenty of cheer to your seasonal shopping. Make your reservations for lodging (and restaurant seating, if needed), and start planning your trip today!
Photos courtesy of Nick Breedlove, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc., Cullowhee Farms and Mountain Mist Gallery