There are so many great souvenirs at Dollywood to suit all sorts of tastes. In one of the oldest stretches of the park there are rustic facades housing authentic Appalachian craftsmen blowing glass, carving wood, dipping candles, cutting leather and hammering away at the blacksmith shop—all creating handmade souvenirs for your purchase. There is one great souvenir you can get in Dollywood’s Craftsman’s Valley that is often overlooked. It’s affordable, sleek and handmade. It’s your own personalized leather bracelet! You are not going to find it advertised nor talked about much. It’s one of the hidden gems in the souvenir realm. To get started, you literally must find a barrel which is kind of hiding out in a corner.
Making your way past the Valley Theater, you come to Smoky Creek Leather and Hat Co. in the heart of Craftsman’s Valley at Dollywood. Over in the corner, on the wall where all the leather cowboy hats hang, there is a barrel housing a burlap sack of strips of leather with snap buttons on them. Pick one out that suits your style, whether it be black, brown or tan. (Note: These are not measly thin pieces of leather. These are good-sized at a couple inches wide each). Next, take your leather strip to the register. Last time I checked, this still rings up for less than $15 (not just for the leather, but the whole customization process is included, too!) Finally, take your leather outside and around to the leatherworker.
The Craftsman and the Customization Process
You’ll find the leatherworker outside on the right-side porch, which is his workshop. Under the warm glowing lights, you will probably find him tanning leather belts, stamping them with designs or fastening on buckles. He gladly will help you customize your leather bracelet and add all the finishing touches. The craftsman will size it for you, attach the button fastener, let you pick out stamps to spell your name and finish staining it. You’ll watch him do all this, impressed by his skill, and then before you know it, you’ll be wearing around your own custom handmade personalized leather bracelet at Dollywood!
A New Conversation Starter
I like to wear my bracelet frequently. Its leather compliments my boots and is classy enough that it looks good for any occasion. A number of times people have asked me, where did you get that bracelet? I tell them, Dollywood! And then it suddenly serves as a conversation starter. “Have you ever been to Dollywood?” I ask. And from here on, I get to talk about something I love!
Get your own leather bracelet during your next visit to Dollywood!