The Best Things To Do In Seagrove, North Carolina
The tiny town of Seagrove, North Carolina, has just 236 residents, but its contributions stretch well beyond that number. The town has a storied history of pottery, and Seagrove pottery is found in some of the world’s greatest museums and art collections. Today, visitors can experience the artistry firsthand in studios all over town. Beyond its pottery riches, the town offers a quaint weekend escape too. Whether you’re headed to Seagrove to scope out your next clay piece or you’re in need of a small-town escape, here is the best of what Seagrove and its surrounding areas have to offer.
Large deposits of natural clay make the soil in Seagrove particularly ideal for turning pots. The area’s indigenous peoples and early farmers utilized the soil and local timber to create vessels for daily life and trade. In the early 20th century, Jacques and Julianna Busbee, fellow artists and pottery enthusiasts, began marketing Seagrove as a potter’s paradise, encouraging pottery admirers to turn to North Carolina to grow their collections. The duo went on to open Jugtown Pottery and later, an outpost of their original shop in Manhattan. James Owen was the Busbees’ first pottery hire, and some of his descendants, such as Ben Owen, are still working potters in Seagrove. Now, Seagrove pottery has become a must-have for collectors.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Seagrove is Wednesday through Saturday when the town comes alive. During these days, the town hums with visitors. There are also several annual events that draw crowds. The Celebration of Seagrove Potters Festival is held each November. During the festival, there are pottery demonstrations, silent auctions, and of course, plenty of pieces available for sale. In the spring, the Spring Studio Tour and Kiln Opening is when potters debut their latest collections.
What to Do
Around 50 pottery shops, studios, and galleries are open to the public. Walk through the history of Seagrove at the North Carolina Pottery Center. Here, permanent exhibits explain how pottery has served the community from indigenous makers to today. While at the museum, pick up a map that marks every studio in the area. Several pieces from various studios and galleries are on display to help you decide where you’d like to spend more time shopping and exploring.
At Eck McCanless, you’ll find hand-thrown agateware in vibrant colors. McCanless is a lifelong second-generation Seagrove potter. Nearby, The Triangle Studio showcases works by founder and owner Kate Waltman as well as other female artists. Johnston works primarily in large scale, layering and carving intricate designs as she goes. Husband and wife duo David Fernandez and Alexa Modderno create and sell their wares at Seagrove Stoneware Pottery. Additionally, Modderno runs a local inn via AirBnB, and Fernandez is the town’s mayor.
In addition to pottery, other area highlights include the North Carolina Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Zoo, and golfing in Pinehurst.
Where to Stay
Book a room at Seagrove Stoneware Inn to stay in the heart of Seagrove and within walking distance of many in-town studios and galleries. The inn has just two rooms, both with private baths, but what it lacks in space it makes up for in charm. In nearby Asheboro, there are plenty of points hotels as well as 32 quaint Getaway Cabins inviting you to lean into nature and disconnect from everyday stressors.
Pinehurst and Southern Pines are a short 40-minute drive and offer a variety of lodging. Tanglewood Farm Bed & Breakfast in Southern Pines is situated on a 10-acre working horse farm and has three private apartments with full kitchens for guests. They even have stabling for equestrians traveling with their horses. In addition to horse neighs, you’ll awake to roosters crowing and chickens wandering through the pastures too. In Pinehurst, there’s the stately and luxurious Carolina Hotel. Dubbed the “Queen of the South,” The Carolina Hotel has 230 rooms and suites. The recently revamped outdoor terraces complete with firepits is a cozy place to sip morning coffee or evening cocktails.
Where to Eat
If there’s one place you can’t miss in Seagrove, it’s The General, the town’s wine bar. Aptly named, The General is housed in Seagrove’s circa 1910 former general store. Today, it’s owned by David Fernandez, the town mayor and potter from Seagrove Stoneware Pottery. A Jack of all trades, Fernandez delivers a robust menu featuring a selection of Old and New World wines as well as several beers on tap. Bottles of wine are chilled in buckets handmade by Fernandez himself, and the restaurant regularly hosts potluck suppers for residents and visitors alike. Nearby, Cagle’s Diner is a family-owned meat and three, but we have it on good authority their hotdogs and hamburgers are some of the best around too. Their signature Carolina Burger is a crowd favorite. It’s topped with chili and coleslaw, so it’s a bit messy but well worth the indulgence.
The Table, a breakfast and lunch spot in neighboring Asheboro, is a delightful spot to start the day. Owner and operator Dustie Gregson leads an all-female leadership team including Chef Deanna Clement who is an Asheboro native and head baker Kristiana Van Eyk. The restaurant is housed in a restored 1925 office building. There’s also Magnolia 23, a family-owned establishment serving a menu packed with soul food.