If you’re making your list and checking it twice — and looking for one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and family — then search no further than the main streets and markets of our Blue Ridge Mountain communities.
In the 310 District along Main Street in Marion you’ll find an eclectic collection of boutiques, galleries, jewelry stores and breweries, each carrying unique and handmade goods that make great gifts for loved ones.
Now through December 16th, for every $10 shoppers spend at a participating business, they’ll receive a ticket to be entered into a prize drawing in celebration of Marion’s Christmas Fest. Prizes include several gift card packages — some valued at more than $250! (Ticket holders must be present at the December 16th celebration to win.) Everyone is invited to come wearing their favorite “ugly” Christmas sweater to participate in Marion’s inaugural Ugly Sweater Contest! The winner will take home a $50 gift card and a trophy! Details and a list of participating businesses are available on the event’s Facebook page.
Visit the Blue Ridge Artisans Craft Show at the McDowell Arts Council Association to shop the work of local artisans working in pottery, woodworking, jewelry, textiles, and other fine arts. Every item is handmade right here in McDowell County! Open Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. from November 25 through Christmas.
Don’t miss Marion’s Shop Small Main Street Crawl on Small Business Saturday, November 26. Peruse displays from dozens of vendors featuring jewelry, pottery, baskets, woodwork, ornaments, and gifts. The 34th Annual Appalachian Potters Market will take place on Saturday, December 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at McDowell High School. Shop unique handmade ceramics to find one-of-a-kind gifts. All proceeds benefit the arts council.
In Old Fort, stop by the Arrowhead Gallery & Studios to shop for handmade items from more than 30 local artists. Check their calendar listings for upcoming workshops where you can make your own gifts including stained glass ornaments and kudzu baskets! Stop by The Davis Country Store to pick up more special finds that are locally sourced and created or check out the Old Fort Ride House for a gift for the outdoors enthusiast in your life, and pick out a great book gift at Catawba Vale Business HUB. Throughout the holiday season, Mountain Gateway Museum's gift shop features locally crafted tree ornaments, local authors' books, and a variety of items specific to the Old Fort community and western North Carolina.