Explore Pottery Country on Scenic Byways
What inspires you? Perhaps, an artistic and functional piece of pottery will fit the bill.
North Carolina is a state known worldwide for beautiful pottery.
On the Pottery Highway scenic byway, pottery enthusiasts can journey through 43 miles of rural countryside to visit local potters and watch a 200-year-old tradition of pottery making take shape before their eyes.
Start the byway by following the fresh scent of longleaf pines to the village of Pinehurst, named for its location in a pine forest. The northern part of Moore County is home to the largest concentration of working potters in the United States who practice traditional and modern pottery forms.
The rich tradition of pottery making has been in some of these families since the 18th century. Local artists and shops frame this picturesque town, which embodies a New England charm.
From Pinehurst, follow the byway by taking N.C. 211 north for 11.5 miles to the intersection with N.C. 705 near Eagle Springs, named for a mineral spring owned by the Eagle family. Eagle Springs has plenty of small-town charm and Southern hospitality. Here you will find one-of-a-kind handmade pottery glazed in unique palettes, reflecting a primitive elegance. Step back in time and choose handmade ware, which is signed and dated by the potter.
Turn right onto N.C. 705 west and note the old cedar trees lining the first part of this route, where the byway begins. This portion of the road is known locally as “Cedar Lane.” Continue west on N.C. 705 for nine miles to the intersection with N.C. 24/27 in the Garners Store community. At this intersection, the byway crosses the Sandhills Scenic Drive. Continue three miles north to the town of Robbins.
With plenty of character, this friendly down-home place will make travelers forget the business of everyday life. Robbins’ history of potters and artisans can be traced back for five generations.
Currently, more than 100 potters turn their unique wares there. The Pottery Road byway, also called the “Pottery Highway,” runs right through the middle of this quaint little town. Slow down, and pay close attention as N.C. 705 makes a turn that can be difficult to see.
Leaving Robbins, travel three miles west on N.C. 705 to North Howard Mill Road (S.R. 1456). Here the byway intersects with the Devil’s Stompin’ Ground Road, also a scenic byway. From this intersection, continue nearly 4.5 miles to the community of Westmoore.
Perhaps one of the most famous locations in Westmoore is a small area called “Jugtown,” just 2.5 miles northeast of the town on Jugtown Road (S.R. 1420) off Busbee Road (S.R. 1419). Raleigh artist Jacques Busbee, who made and distributed his pottery nationally from here, established Jugtown in 1920.
Some of the potters in this area specialize in historical pottery and their wares have the look and feel of pottery from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
From Westmoore, continue 5.5 miles west on N.C. 705 into Randolph County and the Whynot community, which is listed on the National Register of Historic places. Whynot received its name because residents could not decide on a name for the post office — “Why not this? … Why not that? … Whynot!” Here you can find two-person teapots, custom lamps, unusual jars and bottles and large bases bathed in a wood-fired salt glaze.
Travel a half mile west to Seagrove, where the byway ends. The Seagrove community encompasses Randolph, Moore, Montgomery, Chatham and Lee counties, and is the largest community of potters in the United States. Artistic and with a focus on functional, Seagrove potters happily receive tens of thousands of visitors each year.
Seagrove is about nine miles south of the N.C. Zoological Park in Asheboro. Other area attractions include Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines, which houses the last remaining stand of ancient longleaf pines. The preserve is a showcase for a hardwood swamp forest filled with unique plants and animals, some of which are endangered.
On Pottery Road, travelers will find master potters with a vast knowledge of clays, glazes and firing techniques that have survived the hands of time and continue to play an important role in the artistic culture of North Carolina.
This release was submitted by the N.C. Department of Transportation.
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