Why Not Visit This Small Town—Whynot, NC

Why Not Visit This Small Town—Whynot, NC

Behind every name, there is a story. Take your bike to Whynot, NC, and you’ll discover a place whose origin story will surely resonate with any rider who has attended an overly long meeting that just never seems to end.

Whynot is a small place of only around 100 residents, nestled in North Carolina’s countryside. Although the area was settled by German and British migrants in the 1700s, Whynot itself wasn’t founded until 1860.

Local officials called a town meeting to decide a name for the oven-fresh burg. The debate over the name went on and on, with everyone pitching in with “Why not this?” and “Why not that?”

Finally, a frustrated farmer—identified by local historians as one Martin Auman—sprang from his seat and yelled: “Just name it ‘Why Not’ and let’s go home!”

Well, that’s what they did. Over the years, the space was dropped, and the town came to be called by the single-word name Whynot.

Today, Whynot is a peaceful hamlet in rural North California, surrounded by green forests and wide-open fields. It’s easy to imagine that the area looks much like it did 160 years ago when Farmer Auman got tired of the neverending debate, just with a few more paved roads, power lines, and more modern houses.

The quiet two-lane roads meandering through a region make for a relaxing motorcycle outing. You shouldn’t come here expecting high-intensity riding action—this is a place to have a calm, peaceful ride in scenic surroundings.

Pottery, Pottery Everywhere

But there’s more to Whynot than just bucolic countryside. Mainly, there’s pottery, and lots of it.

Locals have been making stunning pottery ever since they settled in the region and the practice continues today. In fact, the North Carolina Pottery Highway (SR 705)—which goes right by Whynot—has more than 100 potteries and galleries within a 15-square-mile area.

You can’t throw a stone around Whynot without it landing in a pottery studio. Don’t do that, though, since you might hit a priceless vase.

As a couple of examples, Whynot Pottery and Acacia Art Tile, specializing in stoneware pottery, sits right in Whynot by Slack Lake. A 15-minute ride away, Jugtown Pottery, with its building and equipment dating to the 1920s, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

If pottery isn’t your thrill, each of the small towns in the region has something unique to offer in terms of attractions and food. As a particular highlight for motorcyclists, the American Classic Motorcycle Museum (with an adjoining diner) in Asheboro showcases 45 antique Harley-Davidsons from 1936 to 1978.

For seeing African wildlife in recreated natural surroundings, pop over to the North Carolina Zoo, 20 minutes from Whynot. The nearby Pisgah Covered Bridge is another worthwhile historical curiosity.

For your next trip to a unique rural American destination, point your front wheel to North Carolina and visit the friendly folks at Whynot.

After all, why not?

Facts & Info

Nearby Attractions

  • Jugtown Pottery
  • American Classic Motorcycle Museum of Asheboro
  • North Carolina Zoo
  • Pisgah Covered Bridge

Nearby Roads

The prime road any visitor to Whynot should ride is, of course, the aforementioned SR 705, or the North Carolina Pottery Highway. Starting in Seagrove (10 minutes from Whynot), this 21-mile road not only lets you explore local handicrafts, but it’s a relaxing, calm cruise in itself.

If you’re after more curves, hit Old Liberty Rd from nearby Asheboro to Liberty. This road packs plenty of elevation changes and twists into 20 miles of motorcycling fun. Enjoy the scenery on the way and then fill your tank and stomach at Liberty before a return jaunt on the same road.

Finally, you are in North Carolina, which means you have access to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Cherohala Skyway. They’re not exactly close to Whynot, but the small town makes for a good starting point for your cross-North Carolina trip.

There aren’t many lodging options in Whynot, but the Duck Smith House in Seagrove is an excellent place to stay only a 10-minute ride away. You can park your bike right next to the charming bed-and-breakfast, and each room has its own bath for washing your gear. The hearty breakfast provides a good start for your riding day.

For more conventional hotel accommodations, head over to Holiday Inn Asheboro. With convenient parking and on-site laundry facilities, it makes for a great entrance to the Whynot area and the Old Liberty Rd.

The region also has plenty of campgrounds if you prefer more rustic moto tours.

Best Time to Travel

To get the most out of Whynot, I recommend traveling to the area between April and early June, or September and early November. In spring, you get to enjoy warm weather while nature blooms to life around you, while the fall leaves in North Carolina are hard to beat.

Summer is perfectly doable as well, as long as you can stomach North Carolina’s heat and humidity. Riding in winter may be possible, but the area can see snow and freezing temperatures, so take that into account.