Pay a visit to Andy Griffith’s hometown
In honor of Andy Griffith’s passing, we’re featuring his hometown Mount Airy, NC, (several of us here with EMT grew up watching him; and not in reruns) and to hear of the passing of a man who filled our lives with love, laughter and a bit of envy for Opie having him for a dad makes us all more than a little sad.
Everyone should visit Mount Airy, NC at least once in their life. Why? Because Mount Airy, NC, is the city from whence the beloved Andy Griffith hailed and this fact alone makes them worthy of attention. Also, this is the city upon which Mayberry, the town in the Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD was based. If you want to find things to do in Mt. Airy, though, a search of TripAdvisor goes a long way towards planning a trip through the city. So what is there to do in a city so small most people don’t even know it’s there? (These are in the order found on TripAdvisor, based on popularity and rating)
It’s been said this is where the name of the Mayberry’s neighboring city, Mount Pilot, came from. No one knows for certain because Andy Griffith wanted everyone to see their hometown in the show. Pilot Mountain is a North Carolina State Park and has a number of amenities available for visitors. They have a 49-site campground with water and bath houses nearby. Reservations are recommended because they can get busy on the weekends. There is always something going on at the park and the activities abound. There’s supposed to be some excellent hiking on your way to Pilot Knob. Check their site for more information.
Remember Sheriff Taylor’s police car? The one he drove home every night? In Mt. Airy, you can tour the town inside one just like it! The tours start at Wally’s Service Station and you’re taken around the town to see all the sites related to Mayberry RFD and/or The Andy Griffith Show. A number of the sites you’ll see were businesses before the show and they remained long after it ended. For more information about the tour, visit their website.
For all things Mount Airy, this is your one-stop-shopping location. Not only can you learn about the sites related to its being Mayberry, you can also discover many attractions NOT related to Mayberry, such as things for the kids to do – like the Mule & Wagon Ride. There’s also musical events, canoeing, free weekly youth fiddle and guitar lessons and Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies, if you’re feeling peckish. There’s a full listing on their site of not just children’s activities but shopping, entertainment and places to stay and eat.
Don’t forget they host Mayberry Days every September, too. Some of the stars of the show visit, though, sadly, with the passing of George Lindsey (Goober), Don Knotts (Barney Fife) and, now, Andy Griffith, family members will come in their stead. There’s so much going on during this festival (held in the peak of fall color season) to list them here would take all day. Pay a visit to their site and plan your visit.
With more and more vineyards launching outside of Napa, it seems the ones in the Appalachian Mountains are putting out some quality wines. Their website recommends a tour, a picnic (either one you bring yourself or one they offer for sale), a bike ride of the mountains and a walk through their vineyards, complete with picnic tables throughout. Sounds pretty romantic, and in borrowing some words from Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of a Persian poem, thus called Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam - “A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou.”
Andy moved back to North Carolina once he slowed things down a bit and he loved them as much as they loved him. With a museum dedicated to his life, on display are hundreds of items, artifacts and memorabilia collected by Andy’s close friend, Emmett Forrest. It’s rumored this was the man whom Andy based the character Emmett of Emmett’s Fix-It shop after. (Emmett says he’s not but one never knows).
They don’t have a website but we can direct you to their Facebook page, where you can see a picture of the man running the place, Russell Hiatt. Next time you’re in Mayberry… Oops, Mt. Airy… stop in at Floyd’s get a cold drink, and get your ears lowered.
There’s a great deal more to do in Mt. Airy and to list them all is more space than this site has. Contact the Visitor’s Center and ask for more information or, better still, just show up. Southern hospitality is alive and well in Mt. Airy, NC, and they’re sure glad you stopped by. And while you’re in town, how about grabbing a bite at the Bluebird Diner or the Snappy Lunch?
For more information about Mt. Airy and the attractions listed here (and more):
Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce & Mount Airy Visitors Center
200 North Main Street
Mount Airy, North Carolina 27030
Phone: 1-800-948-0949 or 336-786-6116