Alamance, Chatham, Guilford, Lee, Orange and Randolph

h, the rich earth. In North Carolina’s Piedmont region, coarse clay soil serves as inspiration for potters. For nearly 200 years, master potters have forged a unique tradition and style of pottery making, crafting local clays into incredible forms and colors.

The Seagrove area attracts visitors from around the country. Here, generations of potters have perfected a salt-glazing technique developed by their European descendants. The results are beautiful works that are functional, yet masterful works of art. It’s fitting that the North Carolina Pottery Center makes its home in Seagrove and that two major pottery festivals are held in this region each year. Opportunities abound to tour quaint galleries and working artists studios in this region.

The rich soil that produces beautiful pottery also contributes to a thriving agriculture community. Vineyards roll across the hills. One of the state’s two wine trails meanders through here. Farmers markets overflow with heirloom tomatoes, cut flowers, lavender and basil, arugula and other leafy greens, berries, figs—nearly every fruit and vegetable you can imagine.

In fact, this area has the largest concentration of organic farms in North Carolina. You can visit many farm operations and enjoy hands-on experiences while you sample the tasty goat cheeses, herb breads and fresh fruits and vegetables.

A quote by popular author Barbara Kingsolver found on the Chatham County Cooperative Extension’s Web site for organic and sustainable farming sets the stage for what you might expect on this trail: 

Recall that whatever lofty things you might accomplish today, you will do them only because you first ate something that grew out of dirt.”

Is it a coincidence or is it natural to add that the beautiful pottery you are eating from may have also come from the same place?

Plan your trip using the drop down list of towns and the map at the right, or by the category links on the left.


Scenic Byways
Photo Credits:
(Top) Lavender Fields - Sunshine Lavender Farms
(Top) Potter - Photo by Bill Russ
Figs - Old Timey Fig Bushes
(Top) Barn by Jennifer E Miller
(Left) Elvin Owen Turning Pottery, Circa 1970 – Photo from Museum of NC Traditional Pottery
(Left) Teapot & Cup –
Tom Gray Pottery
(Left) Tomatoes –
Jackson Brothers Produce
Quote at left:
Kingsolver, Barbara. (Nov. 3, 2003). A Good Farmer.
The Nation, 227, # 0014.





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