See the second best thing at bottom of this review. As for Arrowcraft, I bet that if more people found this place, it would rated in the top 5 of Gatlinburg. It IS part of the main strip where everyone walks store to store. However, it is the last one on the north end (or whatever direction is towards Pigeon Forge). When one walks down the strip towards this end, it appears that the last thing is the European village which is also awesome! It is just like being in an old cobblestone courtyard with fountain in old Europe. The shops are cute, with European swinging signs and architecture and hand-made candies, cheeses, cool clothes, pottery and more. But I digress. Cross the street for ONE more. And go up a few steps. Hard to see with the trees and steps but look at the Arrowcraft sign on the lawn. This place is one of the best and most amazing shops in the whole country. There are items from $8 to hundreds of dollars, and everyone of them is a class act piece of art. Artisans have to be members of the guild--meaning they are judged and juried and their art is very, very high quality and well done. The best of pottery, baskets, woodwork, glass blowing, ornaments, weavings, carvings, jewelry. Lest you are picturing prosaic glass blown figurines, storage baskets, and more--wipe those images right out of your head. Everything here is unique and creative and different. This is also not going to be where you find Appalachian crafts--those are nearby on the loop road. This is art. Amazingly beautiful. Amazingly priced. And you're going to want it. I got a number of things from very, very fine wood turned ornaments (with inlaid wood in artsy shapes, or a snowman) that are of obviously very fine wood and very fine smooth craftsmanship, to a super large, deep pottery bowl with inlaid pottery leaves--and this masterpiece of quality and all of its inlaid detail and huge size was only $97. It is very light--a sign of a master potter. Smooth as could be with no flaws, bubbles or bumps--master potter. The art of the vine and leaves winding it's circle through the blended colors was amazing. One of a kind--I've got it. But there are plenty of beautiful pottery and other pieces left for you! By the way, the place looks small in the front but it goes back forever and is broken up into several rooms. Great design. I could have spent all day in there but didn't get to. Another bonus--in their side yard you can tour the first home--cabin ever built in the area. Cherokee helped build it for the nice family that lived there. It's free and quaint. The other best thing in Gatlinburg? The first legal moonshine distillery. Sit outside while rocking on the wooden Appalachian rocking chairs, listening to the blue grass band, staring at the big copper distillery, and taste testing (free) about 15 flavors of real moonshine! Watch out for the 100 proof. The place is in the middle of the strip--Smoky Moonshine.
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