While not confined to autumn, most of the region’s artist’s studio tours take place during months when visitors can combine a colorful drive in the country with visits to places where art of all kinds is actually created. There’s also the added benefit of starting holiday shopping!
All of the tours are self-guided, and most are free. Download maps from the tour websites, or find directions on your smartphone.
Southeastern Delaware Artists Studio Tour
Nov. 29-30, artstudiotour.com
A Thanksgiving holiday tradition, this tour also features the “Art in the Hat” raffle for which each artist donates a piece as a prize. Brochures and maps of the free, self-guided tour are available for download.
Mountain Maryland Art Sale and Tour
Oct. 19-20, artsaleandtour.com
The tour gives visitors the opportunity to visit the studios of about 20 artists in Western Maryland working in media ranging from jewelry to ceramics, wood-turning, and furniture design.
Countryside Artisans of Maryland
Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15 countrysideartisans.com
Artists in Montgomery, Howard and Frederick counties participate and you can enjoy the Maryland countryside as well.
Chestertown River Arts Studio Tour
Oct. 19-20 & Oct. 26-27, chestertownriverarts.net
Start at the Chestertown River Arts Gallery in downtown Chestertown to view a sampler of the participating artists and collect a map to their studios. Some 50 artists from Rock Hall to Betterton to Church Hill open their studios for the 20th tour. Some locations have multiple artists for you to meet. Media include fine art, photography, sculpture, metal work, pottery, fiber, woodcraft, jewelry, furniture, and glass. The weekend of Oct. 19-20 coincides with the “Shore Love Quilting Show” and Market at the Kent Center in Chestertown.
Valley Craft Network Studio Tour
Nov. 23-24, valleycraftnetwork.org
Always the weekend before Thanksgiving, this tour in the Middletown and Pleasant Valley areas of Frederick and Washington counties welcomes visitors for the 38th time. Among the more unusual artisans are a cheesemaker and cider maker.
Carroll County Artists Studio Tour
Dec. 7-8, ccartists.com
This trail ambles to 17 art studios and two galleries. Basketry, metalwork, jewelry and furniture are just some of the art forms available. Download the mobile map app on the website.
Artists’ Open House Weekend
Oct. 12-14, facebook.com/artistsopenhouseweekend
This Columbus Day Weekend tradition features a weekend tour along with both scheduled and ongoing demonstrations on the holiday Monday. Maps, schedules and other information are available on the website.
Oct. 19-20, potterstour.com
This tour is for pottery enthusiasts, since all of the artists are potters. Visit 19 potters working their magic with clay in nine studios and producing a variety of creative results. The tour is timed to catch the best fall color along Indiana County’s rural roads. Download a self-guided map from the website.
Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour
Nov. 2-3, fallarttour.org
Among the largest of the tours, this one features 100 artists in more than 40 studios and galleries await your visit in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll find artists creating paintings, sculptures, pottery, glass, forged ironwork, jewelry, textiles and photographs. This tour charges $10 for the map and tickets. All of the money goes to a fund which provides grants to artists.
Artisans Studio Tour, Charlottesville
Nov. 9-10, artisanstudiotour.com
Another large tour, the 25th annual Charlottesville area tour features 46 artists in 25 studios this year. The popular “Passport” program gives visitors a chance to win a $50 credit toward purchases. Stop at five of the locations and you are eligible to win a $300 credit. Self-guided map and directions are on the website.
16 Hands Studio Tour
Nov. 29–Dec. 1, 16hands.com
These Floyd County artisans open their studios and also host a visiting artist. View information on all at the website. Don’t miss the town of Floyd with its great musical heritage and traditions, like jam sessions at the Floyd Country Store.
Trails and Trees Studio Tour
Nov. 2-3, trailsandtrees.org
“Visit Creativity Where it Lives” in the area around Martinsburg, W.Va. This tour features 18 artisans in 11 studios. Each studio provides refreshments. The downloadable brochure includes details about each artist and maps.