Seagrove, a Pottery ParadiseDozens of pottery shops and studios throughout Seagrove attract visitors from around the countryQuite simply, Seagrove and the uniquely named hamlets which surround it in rural Randolph County are the perfect place for anyone interested in pottery.Far from being a mere collection of shops, Seagrove actually refers to a region of artisans that has made the area the nation’s largest community of potters. Part of Seagrove’s allure lies in its singular history and high concentration of potters. The other part, especially for the uninitiated, lies in the experience itself.The area’s famous future may have been preordained in the late 1700s, when Colonial potters began to fashion earthenware goods – including jugs, crocks, pots and storage jars – from the local red clay. But technology played its trump card with the rise of the American glass industry during the century that followed. By about 1900, pottery in the area and elsewhere had almost vanished.Then, in 1920, a Raleigh eccentric named Juliana Busbee helped to revive the art form by hiring locals to supply her establishment with handcrafted wares. Extinction was averted and a surge in demand in recent decades has brought the total number of resident craftspeople to more than 90.There is a broad sampling of works representing the majority of the artisans in the surrounding region at the Interstate 73/74 Visitors Center – Northbound, just one mile south of Seagrove. This is both useful and important, since, after a quick perusal of the map available at the visitors center, it quickly becomes apparent that visiting all 70-plus shops and studios is a futile endeavor.Many pottery studios in Seagrove allow guests to watch them workPerhaps the best place for you to start is at the North Carolina Pottery Center located at 250 East Ave. in Seagrove. Here, you can get a quick education in the roots of the craft from interpretive displays, which are both permanent and temporary.Though it’s natural to begin in the town, make sure your route takes you into the surrounding countryside, where hamlets with names like Erect and Whynot await your visit. Potters of national and international renown, who trace their craft bloodlines back through as many as nine generations, inhabit these unlikely places, where ricks of wood are often the telltale sign of the family kiln.Doing research online, too, can help you have a more focused experience. However, potters are experimenters by definition, so it’s best to bring an open mind into each studio.North Carolina pottery is both a constantly evolving and highly varied organism. It includes traditional jugs with human features, which gave the name “Jugtown” to the area, a tremendous variety of functional items, and artistic works.If you’re staying overnight, Seagrove does feature two bed-and-breakfast inns: Seagrove Stoneware Inn and The Duck Smith House Bed & Breakfast. In addition, nearby Asheboro, home of the North Carolina Zoo, houses a wide range of accommodations and a variety of restaurants. Seagrove is approximately 20 miles south of Asheboro, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 220 and North Carolina Highway 705.Just as the weather warms, the Celebration of Spring, in mid-April, features more than 65 local potters hosting special events, offering studio tours, demonstrations and selling their pottery. The area's signature event is in the fall - the annual Seagrove Pottery Festival, usually the weekend before Thanksgiving, has been a staple for more than 35 years. The largest pottery community in the U.S. comes together with traditional crafts people to sell their wares during the two-day festival. And for the past decade, the Celebration of Seagrove Potters also happens that weekend, including a Friday night gala.More FROM VISITNC.COMThere’s much to see and do in North Carolina, so read on.10 Beautiful Places to Visit Across North CarolinaThere are countless natural wonders in North Carolina, and you have to look no further than the beauty of our state and national parks, from spring to fall.Shop Local and Bring Home Keepsakes from Your TravelsWhether you’re visiting the coast, one of our cities or the mountains, local gift shops and specialty stores offer lasting mementos from your trip.North Carolina, the Furniture Capital of the WorldIf you're shopping for high-quality, name-brand home furnishings at bargain prices, look no further than the Hickory and High Point areas.