Are you bored? Don’t know what to do? I’ve got your answer. Hop in the car and join me for a fun one day getaway to Asheboro and Seagrove, NC.
Asheboro, North Carolina and the surrounding area of Seagrove, Randleman, Ramseur is a quick 90 minute getaway via a scenic drive ( if you don’t opt for the highway) from both Charlotte and Raleigh. While some new COVID 2020 restrictions may apply, there is lots to see and do and still stay safe and socially distanced in the Heart of North Carolina; and it all makes for any easy one day getaway.
Let’s Start our Getaway in Downtown Asheboro
Make Asheboro your first stop for breakfast upon arrival. Several little places around town, but if you are looking for crafted coffee drinks and a lot of local, stop in at Table. They have limited indoor seating with order ahead or order at the counter service. Pastries and Danish, breakfast breads and entrees for breakfast and lunch are available.
You can of course, also order to-go and dine on the dash while you head on over to our next stop, Seagrove, NC.
More in Asheboro, NC
While you are in town, if you have time, and maybe even want to stay another day or two; there are lots of other restaurants to try, and lots of antiquing to be done. And if you are in the spirit, do stop off in the afternoon or evening at Four Saint’s Brewing. With all their own locally brewed blends on tap, you can enjoy something when you come in and/or take cans or growlers home to-go.
If you’d rather something less spirited but with every bit the gusto, drop by Carriage House Teas on Worth Street for tea. While you are there, shop for tea accessories and take a look-see at all there is at Brightside Gallery, a part of the same building. The wide porch is a wonderful place to sip and sit, if you’ve a mind to do so and want to take a little break before you begin or as you finish your day.
Plan to Getaway for the Tea with Seagrove Potters Studio Crawl on August 15, 2020
Seagrove, NC is the pottery capital of the United States with nearly 100 working artisans and craftsmen calling the area home. The area has a rich history. A DIY tour, from studio to studio to see the mix of creative style and meet the many men and women behind the vases, plates, mugs and jugs will certainly make for a fun day trip away anytime of the year. Check individual studio websites for studio hours.
Often groups of potters join together for some sort of themed event. This year, this summer’s annual August Tea with Seagrove Potters studio tour has taken a bit of a turn. Be prepared for all “new normal” precautions and parameters. Still, participating potters are anxious for you to visit their studios.
All of these potters are doing their very best to keep you safe; and they’d like you to return the favor. Please be prepared to wear a mask to each of the studios. While you are at each studio, you’ll enjoy the artwork and assorted teas from Carriage House Teas, individually wrapped macarons from Table and individually prepared to-go goodie bags from each artist and potter.
Please wear your masks, even for events that are held out of doors. When there is hand sanitizer available, please help yourself. Be sure to keep your distance, allowing one person at the register at a time. Please be aware of the space between you and the next customer. It should be easy for everyone to have room to keep a proper social distance and still enjoy the event. And, it bears repeating, please remember to be patient and kind.
Here’s the Road Map for the August 15…
As GPS and internet can come and go when you are out in the countryside, print this map up and keep it handy. You can find an easily printable copy on the Tea with Seagrove Potters’ website. I also suggest entering all of the addresses for each studio in your GPS ahead of time. Then you won’t have to scramble when you are ready to head to your next stop on the tour
Now on to Meet the Potters on the tour, first stop: Blue Hen Pottery
You’ll see Blue Hen studio right away. The studio isa right on the road, a bright yellow house with a big blue hen (with a mask a la COVID) right out front. Once you get there you will notice, there are not only bees on the work, but bee boxes out back as well. Gotta love how art follows nature.
When these talented potters aren’t planning for a tour or studio crawl. They are all hard a work creating and selling.
Like several of the artists here, Blue Hen Pottery’s Anne Pärtna was asked to work on a collaboration with fellow Seagrove Potter, Erin Younge. Their mission to create a piece of work to be auctioned off at the annual NC Pottery Center Auction in October. Here they are with their winged torso – it’s an amazing piece of work. Anne did the torso and Erin added on the wings. Check out both of their Instagram feeds for more detailed photos.
Dean & Martin Pottery Studios
Stephanie Martin also makes a fabulous series of mugs with photographs of musical icons. She calls it her Pop Culture Series and I absolutely fell in love with it. Check out this video as she tells us a bit more about her work.
Next Up, Eck McCanless Pottery
Two fascinating videos to share from Eck. First, at the Tea Tour on Aug 15, he hopes to be able to demonstrate how he works at the potters wheel under a big tent they will have set up outside. Take a look at this video, to get a great preview on how its done.
Then, watch Eck continue the process as he shares how he carves the sides of the clay vessels to get his work’s signature look. You’ll find the technique in the video here as fascinating as I did!
Eck also worked on a collaboration for the October auction at the NC Pottery Center.
He threw his piece on the wheel and then collaborated with fellow Seagrove potter Jinsong Kim and his wife Carol, who stepped in to do the filagree carving and the dots of glazework.
From the Ground Up
My visit with Michael and Mary at From the Ground Up wasn’t just about tea or pottery. I spotted these gorgeous fermentation vessels just out of the wood burning kiln, which led to a discussion about pickles!
Michael is known for his carving of leaves and twigs on his pottery vessels. The unique coloration comes from the char as a result of being fired in a wood burning kiln.
When I stopped to admire the crocks with specialty made lids, we started talking pickles. The conversation led to a trip to the refrigerator so we could tastes Michael’s first batch of fermented local cukes. I think you’ll have fun listening in …. it’s going to make you hungry!
I got to sample, too. Michael’s fermentation formulation is a keeper and I promise I’ll let you know as soon as he shares the recipe!
Later during my visit, fellow Seagrove potter, Matthew Kelly stopped by to see something else that was in the big kiln load this week.
A pair of vases the two potters made in a collaborative effort for the October Pottery Auction for the NC Pottery Center. Like the others I have mentioned here, the work and the detail is incredible.
Red Hare Pottery
The drive to Red Hare is quiet and relaxing. You may think you’ve gone astray, but just keep driving down the winding gravel road. Potter Bonnie Burn’s home and studio is all the way at the end of the trail. When you can’t go any farther, you are there.
Red Hare Pottery, 191 Barken Haller Ln., Seagrove, NC 336-465-6584 or 336-879-9855 https://www.facebook.com/rhpottery
Thomas Pottery, 1295 S. NC Hwy 705, Seagrove, NC Shop On-Line at http://www.thomaspottery.com
We’ll start and end out tale of the Tea with Seagrove Potters studio tour with Thomas Pottery. Like several of these studios, there is the pleasure of space and Bobbie and her husband have a beautiful covered patio where guests can sit and enjoy to views and vistas.
On the porch you will be greeted by Prissy Pots, the Pot Lady. The unique plant and terra cotta sculpture has become a signature welcome sign and photo opt at Thomas Studios. Here is a bit of her history.
After your Pottery Tour, Let the Getaway Continue
As I mentioned at the top of the post, after the studio tour, head back to Asheboro for Four Saints Brewing or Carriage House Teas. Or turn the other direction and head to Ramseur, NC, home to Millstone Creek Orchard. It’s about 20-25 minutes, either way.
Millstone Creek Orchard
Millstone Creek Orchards is a agroctourism farm extraordinaire. Go for pick your own fruit; and when it is available, fresh apple cider and cold apple slushies. ( Spoiler alert from now till August 19 or 20, as of this writing, Millstone Creek is temporarily out of apple cider! Yikes! What can we say, its been a busy summer! The team is working hard to pick, press and age some more. Good things take time. Until the process is done slushies and cider won’t be available for a week or so.)
Currently, the Orchard is heading toward the tail end of peach picking season and into the beginning of the apple harvest. There is no appointment needed to pick your own peaches over the next several weeks. But, once apple season starts, things will begin to change.
Like the North Carolina Zoo right now, apple picking customers will need to plan ahead before you visit. There will be a new protocol from pick-your-own operations this summer season.
Essentially, you’ll book a time to pick and the result will be more room and less crowed orchards to make the experience fun and yet, safer and easier to socially distance for everyone involved. Watch Millstone’s Social media or visit their website for more details.
One last stop before you head home
It’s another to-go experience, but one worthy of your time. If you love hotdogs, before you leave the area, treat yourself to a Mike’s Chicago Dog or two for the ride home.
Truthfully, a bit harder to negotiate in the car what with all the trimmings. But this is the real deal and worth the time it takes to call in an order for a dawg to-go. Loved it from beginning to end… the Vienna Dog, the relish, onions, pickles, mustard, sport peppers and all. Ahhhh….
For More on Seagrove, check out these previous posts and links.
When you go to visit, be sure to @TellThemHeidiSentYou