Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Southern Highlands Craft Guild at Moses Cone Park, Blowing Rock


Whenever I need a gift for birthdays,weddings or Christmas I always check out the hand made crafts at Moses Cone Manor. Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside Blowing rock this beautiful mansion houses the Parkway Craft center, one of five shops of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild. The center has been open to visitors for 56 years.

All the crafts are designed and made by artists of the Southern Appalachians. Over 300 regional artists are members of the prestigious guild. A wide variety of crafts are on display and for sale - jewelry, pottery, glass figurines, framed and unframed art work, hand woven bags and even kitchen utensils and holiday ornaments.

The National Park Service has a small gift store just inside the front door of Cone Manor with books, maps, and Cd's of the trails and wildlife found in the mountains.

During the summer, local artists set up on the front porch educating and entertaining guests about their craftsmanship. Visitors can learn about the artist and art and even try their own hand at it as well. The rocking chairs on the front porch beckon visitors to take in the glorious vista of the lakes and mountains in view.

The mansion, built in 1901, as the summer home for Bertha and Moses Cone has 20 rooms, and 13,000 square feet of Colonial Revival construction. Cone made his fortune in the textile industry and was named the "Denim King" The property encompasses 3,516 acres of land and was donated to the National Park Service in 1950 for public use. The Cone family used to spend lazy Sunday afternoons taking carriage rides along the 25 miles of trails on the estate. Now the trails are maintained by the National Park Service and are available for both horses and hikers.

The craft center is open to visitors from March though November from 9-5 daily. For more information call 828 295-7938 or email parkwaycraft@bellsouth.net.

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