Visit Mayberry: Mount Airy & Pilot Mountain State Park
Mount Airy - www.visitmayberry.com, 1-800-948-0949
Visit the North Carolina town whose friendliness inspired a much-loved 1960s TV sitcom, and still honors her native son.
While the area is rich in other attractions like wineries, the world’s largest open-face granite quarry and possesses history from Saura Indians to the original Siamese twins – it is the close connection to an innocent time celebrating small-town Americana, which pulls in most visitors. Take a Squad Car tour in a replica of Deputy Barney Fife’s or Sheriff Andy’s car. Leaving from Wally’s Service Station, up to five people can climb in and cruise the sights for 30-45 minutes. A replica of the jail and courthouse is next door.
Plan ahead and contact Alma Venable at the Mayberry Motor Inn for a look at her Aunt Bee room. Venable began collecting the late actress’ items following her estate sale in 1990. She is thrilled to show off her collection, and can often be seen portraying Aunt Bee during the town’s annual Mayberry Days every September.
Need a haircut? A visit to Floyd’s City Barber Shop could be in order. Russell Hiatt has shorn the locks of some famous past residents of Mayberry, George Lindsey, a.k.a. “Goober”, and has more than 20,000 photographs on his Wall of Fame. Stop by the Snappy Lunch restaurant for a fried pork chop sandwich.
The arts are a major component of North Carolina life, and Mount Airy offers a wide array at the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Originally an early 20th century elementary school, it was the site of Griffith’s own early thespian training. A TV Land bronze statue of Sheriff Taylor and Opie resides outside the playhouse.
Pilot Mountain State Park – www.ncparks.gov
Approach from any direction and see Pilot Mountain rising more than 1,400 feet above the rolling countryside of the upper Piedmont plateau. Dedicated as a National Natural Landmark in 1976, this solitary peak is the centerpiece of Pilot Mountain State Park.
Fun, from relaxation to exhilaration, is easy to find here. Treat yourself to a horseback ride through the woods or challenge the river from raft or canoe. A seven-mile woodland corridor joins two sections of the park, each section offering a wealth of opportunities for outdoor fun. The mountain segment, which includes the two pinnacles, contains most of the visitor facilities. The more primitive river section centers around the lazy, meandering Yadkin River.