On November 11th a friend and I embarked on a special Virginia experience that I had never tried before. We decided to participate in the 18th annual Artisans Studio Tour in Charlottesville and surrounding counties. This year, 36 artists were displaying their work in 20 studios, many of the them right here in Nelson County near Naked Mountain where I live. I love their moto: from our hands to yours. Here is their website.
We only had time to visit four studios, but three displayed the work of more than one artist. I had intended just to get information about woodworkers and furniture crafters, which I certainly did, but I couldn’t resist the works of other artists and purchased pottery items as well as a gorgeous pair of dangling sliver earrings. The level of artistry was truly amazing and some of it among the most creative work I have ever seen anywhere.
The day we did this was gorgeous with a bright blue, sunny sky and warm, sixty degree temperature. As we drove along old, historic roadways we passed lovely old estates and farmhouses with horses and cattle dotting the mowed and grazed fields. Glimpses of the aptly named Blue Ridge Mountains were frequent.
There were alot of people engaged in this most pleasant acitivity. Checking in on the website today I am not surprised to see the report that this year’s tour was the most successful ever with a record number of visitors.
Between our studio stops, we reluctantly bypassed one of our favorite places in Nelson County, the Blue Mountain Brewery, and its special artistry: hand-crafted beers. The parking lot was jammed! We had a sort of schedule to keep. But by 2:00 p.m. our senses were saturated by stunning examples of crafts of every description and our stomachs were rumbling. We were just a smidge too late for a delightful lunch of French-inspired handcrafted soups, salads and sandwiches at the charming cottage that houses Basic Necessities. Not a problem, we simply walked up the small hill to another famous eatery in Nelson County: The Blue Ridge Pig, and had a hand-crafted, pulled BBQ sandwich with coleslaw. Excellent!