Toe River Studio Tour, Dec. 1-3

Press release from Yancey County Tourism:

The Toe River Studio Tour creates an enjoyable holiday shopping experience as visitors wander along mountain back roads throughout Yancey and Mitchell counties, meet the artists and purchase handmade gifts. The tour runs Friday, Dec. 1, through Sunday, Dec. 3.

This year’s holiday tour, now in its 24th year, will be one of the largest with 104 artists participating at 58 studio sites. Some studios host one or two visiting artists, which allows customers to see multiple artists in one stop.

Seventeen participants are new to the tour, including a jewelry maker, a guitar builder, potters, painters, sculptors and more. The Toe River Valley is known for its concentration of glass artists, as well the diversity of work found here.

“The quality, breadth and type of art make it an interesting adventure for anyone to come,” says Denise Cook, executive director of the Toe River Arts Council. “People love it because they get to design their own adventure.”

The Toe River Arts Council, which sponsors the free, self-guided tour, produces a guidebook with a map that gives each artist’s name, medium, website, studio location and picture of his or her work. Guidebooks are available at the Toe River Arts Council galleries, located in Burnsville and Spruce Pine, participating studios and at the-Tour.

For many working artists, the tour is the only time they open their studios to the public. The event allows customers to see where they work, ask questions and connect with the person behind the art.

“Handmade gifts may cost a little more, but you’re receiving an item that was carefully crafted,” Cook says. “And when you buy it from the maker, it’s a meaningful experience.”

The tour coincides with downtown Burnsville’s Christmas parade, which takes place Saturday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m. The traditional, small-town parade includes floats, bands and Santa.

Studio Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. A meet-and-greet reception takes place Friday, Dec. 1, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Toe River Arts gallery in Spruce Pine. For additional tour details, visit the Toe River Arts website. For more information about Burnsville, including lodging and dining options, visit or call (828) 682-7413.

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