Meandering in the Southeast one road at a time.
A shop can be a place along the way or it can be the destination. If you’re willing to pull over, you may find a hidden gem or a shop that you will want to return to often. And you know it's not always the buying but the thrill of the hunt. This section features my favorites for your shopping pleasure!
Go ... Enjoy!
Shops featuring artisans bringing their talents to the market with flair, craftsmanship and one-of-a-kind appeal.
The Folk Art Center
The Folk Art Center, operated by the Southern Highland Craft Guild, features the crafts of the southern Appalachians. Metal, glass, wood, textiles and more can be found here. There is usually an exhibit on the second floor and sometimes an artist demonstrates his/her craft at the center. The Folk Art Center is located near Asheville at milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I like to wander around garden shops, especially when they have well landscaped yards. Some are very inviting and give off a cool vibe in the warmer months. If you are a patio gardener or a full-out gardening fool like some of my friends, or just love to check out seasonal plantings and creations, these are some of my favorites.
Dearness has a broad selection of plants from trees to houseplants, garden art and pots in a layout that encourages rambling through the yard. It's a good source for bulbs and seeds too. I bought the shrimp plant there which is a magnet for hummingbirds. Dearness is on Old Statesville Rd, just south of downtown Huntersville.
Southern Roots Garden Center
Southern Roots Garden Center in Belmont is worth a visit. I was really impressed with the customer service offered on my first visit here. It was a very busy spring Saturday and the place was crammed, yet I got red carpet service for my one 4-inch plant purchase. The garden center is located in Belmont on Belmont-Mt.Holly Rd not far from Belmont Abby.
This option is at Prosperity Church Rd and I-485. Its an enclosed space with a large selection of plants, pots, yard statuary and patio decor. Its a bit slick but certainly reliable.
These are some of my favorite destinations for furnishings and accessories for the home.
Hickory Furniture Mart
Hickory is the center of North Carolina furniture manufacturing, while High Point is considered the showroom and marketing center. The Hickory Furniture Mart is a multilevel shopping experience featuring manufacturer outlets, showrooms and independent dealers. The Mart also offers decorative accessories, rugs, and lighting. There’s a cafe and design services are also available. Hickory is about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte and 85 miles west of High Point on US 70. Use exit 125 or 127 from I-40.
Rug & Home
Rug & Home has four locations in Charlotte, NC , Gaffney, SC, Asheville, NC, and Kannapolis, NC. I frequent the Kannapolis store. The large showroom means it has space a big inventory including furniture and accessory items. The staff is quite helpful and the odds are good you can find something to meet your needs. Grab a bag of clips and mark your short list. They will bring them down to floor level so you can make your selection.
This can be a museum or shop that is what I would consider a hidden gem to the public, and worth the visit.
Linville Mountain Gem Shop
Linville, NC .
Sadly, the proprietors closed their physical store. I will miss this place. They have promised to develop an online presence. I'm keeping this posting up as a marker. We will see.
Linville Mountain Gem Shop is a little shop on US 221 North between Marion and Linville, NC. They have a small operation for those who want to sift through buckets of rock for gems and stones. They feature a variety of stones and polished and faceted gems. My attraction is the jewelry the owner makes. The owner/gemologist is skilled at faceting and some of his pieces are gorgeous. You might pick up a beautiful piece of jewelry here in this unexpected location. The drive from I-40 in Marion up the mountain is worth the trip. The North Cove area has some stunning views from the valley.
These are roadside stands or markets that I think are worth the break to stop and check out.
The Apple Mill
The Apple Mill in Saluda, NC is just off of I-26 at exit 59. The Apple Mill sells apples and apple products like apple butter, cider and jelly. I was able to get two boxes of a particular apple I wanted shipped in time for pies.
Shoes! Shoes! Shoes!
If you have a shoe fetish like me, then you must go to this shop in Asheville!
TOPS for Shoes
Shoe shopping is a real treat at Tops for Shoes in Asheville. You can find shoes for the entire family. There is a very broad selection in women’s shoes styles and manufacturers. You can find a comfort shoe and earth shoe or the latest in boots and casuals. Your associate will work with you until you make a decision. This means assisting you in and out of the shoe, advising you on fit and offering a professional opinion. I love this place and never miss visiting when in Asheville. Tops is on Lexington Avenue.