We are lucky to live in a region of North Carolina that holds tight to our rich traditions and creative spirit. Arts, crafts and sculpture are all near and dear to our hearts and they often come to reflect our personalities as we decorate our mountain homes near Asheville NC.
If you’re craving an old-fashioned sort of outing, and searching for things to do in Lenoir NC, a visit to Bolick and Traditions Pottery should certainly be top on your list. Conveniently located just south of Blowing Rock, the scenic nature of this property alone is reason to visit. Tucked into the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, the farm will transport you to another time, with an old-fashioned village, two pottery shops, and the serenity of a flowing mountain stream.
Several worthwhile events happen here throughout the year, for those of you who live in the gated communities near Asheville NC, such as their well-known kiln openings, or the foot-tapping mountain music and lively dancing on summer Sundays.
Incredible artists display their fine work at Bolick and Traditions. Both galleries are chock full of functional, decorative and folk art pottery. Two of these artists are Mike and Janet Calhoun who were married in 1986. Mike soon learned the art of pottery, which allowed him to channel his creativity and imagination into his artisan face jugs.
For those who travel from their mountain homes near Asheville NC –Santas, Wizards, Clay Spirits and Cry Babies are some of the most popular of Mike’s creations. Our region is seeped with moonshine history. Moonshine tours are popular for locals and tourists alike, highlighting some of the most ingenious folks and where they made their popular liquor. Mike’s jugs are a great way to pay homage to the history of moonshine, but there’s plenty more–handmade pottery, teapots, mugs, bowls, pitchers, and candlesticks.
There are many reasons to visit Bolick and Traditions Pottery when you’ve got that free day stretched before you and you need some fun things to do in Lenoir NC. The last Saturday of every June, they have an incredible tradition, the Annual Heritage Day and Wood Kiln Opening that many with mountain homes near Asheville NC attend.
In its 26th year, this past June 24th did not disappoint with live entertainment, music played by The Dollar Brother, The Martin Laurel Band (bluegrass and gospel) as well as Glenn Bolick and Friends, Denny Key, Bruce Hill, Connie Trivette, Gail Evans, Vicki Shell, and Janet Calhoun. Storytelling by Frawley and Orville Hicks also kept folks spellbound. Their write up describes it perfectly: “The purpose of the event is to educate the public on some of the traditional ways of life. Through demonstrations of heritage arts, crafts, and interactive events, visitors can get a glimpse of the way their grandparents may have lived, worked, and entertained.”
The festival featured regional artists who demonstrated, educated, and sold their works. These potters create the same shapes that have been in their families for more than 190 years as well as creating their own unique designs. Charlie Glenn was in attendance, demonstrating and selling his handmade instruments, and the talented John Peterson had his banjos for sale as well.
Admission was free and the festivities lasted all day from ten until four. The wood kiln, otherwise known as the groundhog wood kiln, which uses the method of firing without electricity, was filled with face jugs, owl mugs, sculpted chickens, Rebekah pitchers, hand-formed animals, teapots, vases, pitchers and more. Those who got there early had the best selection.
The shops were also bustling with people, many who live in the gated communities of Asheville NC, browsing for more pottery, and additional arts and craft items such as quilts, goat milk soaps and lotion, leather, iron and wood works. “We love to offer local and US made items such as sterling silver, and aluminum jewelry from NC, Lula N Lee jewelry from Texas, and wall art from P. Graham Dunn with an inspirational flair.
Soaps, lotions, honeys, and candles are also offered from local artists, and craftsman,” their website describes. All pottery is microwave, oven and dishwasher safe and all glazes are lead-free for convenience and good health. For those who love to quilt, there was an interactive quilting party and a Gee Haw Whimmie Diddle Contest. Plenty of delicious food was served, so there was no need to bring coolers—only chairs were needed to kick back in a comfortable spot to enjoy the celebration.
When you’re in the mood for new things to do in Lenoir NC, just take the short trip to 1155 Main Street, where you can find Original Owens Pottery, and gifts from Natural Life, Demdaco, Savannah Bee Company, Chala and Mona-B fashion and handbags, plus a bounty of handmade jewelry, soaps, lotions and candles. “The shop in Blowing Rock is more than a pottery fix. We blend casual clothing, accessories, and other needful things for the home, body, & spirit.
Trendy clothing like flowing vests, crochet ponchos, and wraps. Our selection of handbags include animal themes and up-cycled material that are fashionable, and affordable,” their website describes. They make it easy for those who can’t make the trip in person. You can shop online for convenience or get out and visit one of their festive wood kiln openings if you live in the gated communities near Asheville NC. Calls can be made for availability, pricing and orders. In addition, Mike’s jugs are available on Pinterest.
For those of you who just can’t get enough pottery, there are North Carolina Pottery Shows in March, April and October—opportunities to browse and shop for personal gifts throughout the year. March brings the Catawba Valley Pottery Festival in the Hickory Metro Center. April means spring and Merlefest at the Wilkes Community College–easy to find in the Heritage Craft Tent. And autumn is the time to celebrate the North Carolina State Fair located in the Village of Yesteryear in October. Mark these shows on your calendar and bring your friends and family.
Living at The Coves Mountain River Club affords endless possibilities to inspire your creative side while finding those perfect unique artistic pieces to make your charming mountain house feel like home. The Blue Ridge Mountains lend a stunning backdrop to The Coves, just beyond your door, and with a short drive you can explore and take in the creations of so many talented and valued artists in our region and perhaps be inspired to be creative yourself.
Bolick and Traditions Pottery can be found at 4443 Bolick Road, Lenoir, NC 28645; Phone: (828) 295-5099
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9am-5pm; Sunday: 1pm-5pm.
While you’re in town, be sure to stop by The Coves. We’ll take you up to our mountaintop lodge and show you around.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.