Mid-October is one of the best times to visit Alleghany County. Backroads wind through the county revealing beautiful fall foliage canopying each curve. The days are light-jacket crisp with cool, but moderate temperatures. Leftover pumpkins litter the fields as farmers take a brief break before beginning the Christmas tree the harvest. An easy conversation can begin by asking the locals who the Appalachian State Mountaineers play that week.
A welcome addition to this autumn ritual is the NC Mountain Arts Adventure studio tour. It is a great opportunity to visit with the artists where the art is made. The tour is self-paced and guests can set out to cover all 16 artists, or choose to spend more time getting to know a few of the craftsmen.
Jewelweed Studio is number 6 on the tour. Located at 185 Gumtree Lane, Sparta, Gary Medley and Alan Joyce create true works of art in stained glass. Examples of their work can be found at http://www.jewelweedstudio.com/ or you can follow them on Facebook here.
Carolina Farm Table is located in Sparta at the corner of East Doughton and Alleghany Street beside the Alleghany Law Enforcement Center. Their custom furniture shop specializes in handcrafted farm tables. Their product line can be viewed at http://www.carolinafarmtable.com/ and here on Pinterest. A profile of co-owner Devin Ulery can be read on the Absolutely Alleghany blog.
Located on Main Street in Sparta, Studio Redwood offers a variety of art classes including painted furniture and faux finish. Offered for sale are one of a kind repurposed furniture, framed prints and whimsical, handmade items. Owner Chris Davis’ work can be seen here on Studio Redwood’s Facebook page.
High on a hill overlooking the mountains, Mountain Jazmin Baskets owner Kathryn Abernathy weaves a variety of natural materials into intricate and aesthetically pleasing baskets. While each basket is a piece of art, all are practical and functional. Mountain Jazmin Baskets is located at 292 Walnut Branch Church Rd., Sparta, NC.
The natural beauty of Alleghany County coupled with the work of fine artists reinforces the opinion of many that fall is truly the best season of the year.