Authentic North Carolina Adventures

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Explore North Carolina Cultural Trails

North Carolina Arts Trails are web-based guides to authentic experiences from music, craft, literature and other traditions.

Western N.C. has a national reputation as a region rich in music, and its traditions of old-time string band tunes, ballad singing and bluegrass are internationally renowned. Musicians including Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs and Charlie Poole are N.C. legends. Blue Ridge Music Trails is your guide to public venues where traditional music can be heard, including festivals, fiddlers’ conventions, hometown oprys, jam sessions, restaurants and dances.

The Cherokee’s ancestral home on the Qualla Boundary is a one-of-a-kind place of natural beauty and living traditions. Make a personal connection with the Cherokee people as they weave baskets, make pottery, carve in wood and stone, tell stories, sing traditional songs and perform ceremonial dances. Experience sacred places, community ties and authentic folk arts on Cherokee Heritage Trails.

North Carolina’s literary heritage features some of the most memorable authors of the 20th century, including Thomas Wolfe, Wilma Dykeman, Anne Tyler, Lee Smith, Allan Gurganus and Charles Frazier. North Carolina Literary Trails is your guide to the hometowns, hangouts and sources of inspiration for your favorite writers throughout our state, including the historic homesteads of Thomas Wolfe and Carl Sandburg.

Craft has a celebrated history in our state, whether the works were made by Native Americans, early Moravian immigrants to the Piedmont region, potters in the Catawba Valley and Seagrove areas or enthusiasts who “rediscovered” craft in the last century. Discover North Carolina Craft connects you with the best places to see historic and contemporary craft, start a collection and explore hands-on experiences for the whole family.

Historic Happy Valley is a legendary home to Daniel Boone and the legend of Tom Dula, and traditional music. Visit the Chapel of Rest, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, that now serves as a venue for a classical music series or experience the Happy Valley Fiddlers’ Convention — held each Labor Day — or stroll art galleries in nearby Blowing Rock or a sculpture celebration in Lenoir, home to the largest public art collection in the nation for a city of its size.

Get off the beaten path and enjoy scenic rural countrysides that are home to artists and other creative entrepreneurs. Treat yourself to a weekend in a picturesque bed and breakfast or take a day trip to experience local art galleries, artist studios, live music, unique handcrafts and historic sites. Pick your own organic produce or enjoy homemade ice cream with the help of 16 self-directed driving tours through 76 Piedmont and eastern N.C. counties at Homegrown Handmade.

Plan unique itineraries, enjoy seasonal events, and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of our state’s artful heritage when you explore North Carolina Arts Trails.