There are many beautiful paintings of quilting squares displayed on buildings and barns around Avery County. Until recently, there was no source of information about these works of art for residents and visitors who wanted to take a driving tour around the county. Most of these pieces were created between 2008 and 2011, when the Avery Arts Council developed a Barn Quilt Trail in the county. The driving trail featured many “quilt squares” showcasing our Appalachian heritage, displayed on historic barns and other buildings. When the arts council disbanded in mid-2012, the website, brochures and all supporting information were lost.
Recently, with the support of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, Lou Ann Morehouse, the former Arts Council Director, and Barbara Webster, internationally known quilt artist, the Town of Beech Mountain’s Tourism and Economic Development Department has been able to re-create the trail. They were able to track down many of the original quilt squares and documented numerous squares that were installed after the original quilt trail was established. The result is a drivable trail in three sections, which can provide a good day’s entertainment for those interested in art, quilting, Appalachian heritage, old buildings, or just a great treasure hunt. Kate Gavenus, Director of Tourism and Economic Development for the Town of Beech Mountain, says that the new trail is just a start. “We have likely missed some quilt squares that should be featured on the trail. We hope that the public will take an interest and let us know of others that can be added. While it takes time to get things on the printed maps, additions can be made quickly to the website, and put into print later.” The website is www.averycountyquilttrail.com , and maps can be requested online or by calling the Beech Mountain Visitor Center at 828-387-9283.