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Note: This is part of a history series on popular tourism activities in Transylvania County. A corresponding display is on the second floor of the Transylvania County Library through July 2024.

People find joy, inspiration, and creativity in the mountains of Transylvania County. They immerse themselves in nature’s beauty, appreciate, and interpret it through visual arts such as painting, sculpture, photography, handicrafts, and more.

Mountain potter at a downtown Brevard festival

Photographers like Joe Wilde, and R. Henry Scadin, as well as artists like Eris Mazzarelli, Corydon Bell and Constance Griffin often moved to or worked in the area, their work obviously inspired by the beautiful landscape.  

One doesn’t have to look far to see the variety of handicrafts popular in the area. These crafts sometimes come from long-standing traditions and cultures from the mountains, honoring methods and techniques of ancestors and inhabitants that have been honed over generations.

Joe Wilde, photographer

Transylvania County’s mountains, forests, and streams provide inspiration to makers and artists alike. Pottery, carving, basketry, and weaving are examples of Appalachian traditional arts that live on today with new interpretations.

Poetry and the written word is yet another way that visitors have found a way to express their delight with Transylvania County, such as on July 22, 1954 when the Transylvania Times printed a poem written by visitor Bonnie Smith of Mendota, Virginia entitled “Transylvania”:

I’ve climbed your mountains bathed with mist
Where altitudes rise so high
‘Neath the fragrant balsam and the pine
In the beautiful “Land of the Sky”

Quilt exhibition 1999

From your highlands, there is grandeur
To dim distance far below
From rolling hills to mountain peaks
Where laughing rills and rivers flow

Cascading down the mountain side
Music sweet I love to hear
Where the little squirrels abound
And the fleeting hoof of deer

Rippling, dancing, singing ever
With the lucky sportsman near
Sweeping on with mirrored beauty
Where the gleaming trout appear

Sometimes I hear your birds sing
Tho’ so long since I was there
But I can vision from afar
The Carolina Hills so fair

The sun-kissed hills of Transylvania
Where your wild flowers grow
And the beauty of your sunsets
Painting the skies with its after-glow

The fragrant breeze, the summer camps
In that delighted atmosphere
Through the sylvan shades I see Brevard
In my dreams across the years.
–Mrs. Bonnie Smith

Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. This article was written by Local History Librarian Laura Sperry. Special thanks to Bill Parris for the poem. Sources available upon request. For more information, comments, or suggestions, contact NC Room staff at [email protected] or 828-884-1820.

Craft show attendees 1999

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212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712