Visit Mayberry in Mount Airy

Visit Mayberry in Mount Airy

Cruise Mayberry in a 1962 squad car replica

Visitors who stroll through the streets of Mount Airy might find its small-town charm and the warm, friendly smiles of its residents comfortably familiar. That’s because this quaint North Carolina setting was Andy Griffith’s childhood home and the inspiration for Mayberry in the beloved 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show.

Located 40 minutes northwest of Winston-Salem and just minutes from the Virginia state line, Mount Airy has embraced its role as the real-life Mayberry and boasts a number of sights and attractions that honor its native son and the show.

The Mount Airy Visitors Center offers free maps for those who’d like to explore by foot. In addition, visitors eager to enjoy an authentic Mayberry experience can tour the city in a vintage squad car similar to those driven by Deputy Barney Fife and Sheriff Andy Taylor. Squad Car Tours operates multiple cars and can accommodate up to five passengers at a time with a “deputy” driver pointing out the sights on these 30- to 45-minute tours, which depart from Wally’s Service Station.

A replica of the jail and courthouse sit nearby, as does Andy Griffith’s childhood home, which is Andy’s Homeplace, a bed and breakfast owned and operated by the Hampton Inn of Mount Airy. Overnight accommodations also are available at the Mayberry Motor Inn, where guests can request the Aunt Bee room, furnished with items once owned by the late actress, Frances Bavier, who played beloved Aunt Bee.

No Mayberry visit would be complete without a fried pork chop sandwich from the Snappy Lunch followed by a stop in Floyd’s City Barber Shop, where Russell Hiatt has shorn the locks of famous former Mayberry residents such as George Lindsey (Goober Pyle). Hiatt proudly displays more than 20,000 photographs on his wall of fame.

Another must-see sight is the bronze TV Land statue of Sheriff Taylor and Opie outside the Andy Griffith Playhouse, where Griffith completed his own early acting training. Those interested in learning even more about Griffith’s life can visit the Andy Griffith Museum, which features hundreds of items from the career of the actor, producer, singer and writer, all collected by his friend Emmett Forrest. A Mayberry-themed mural spanning three walls was completed in summer 2013 by Greensboro’s Chip Holton, artist in residence at the O. Henry and Proximity hotels. Betty Lynn, the actress who played Barney Fife’s girlfriend, Thelma Lou, stops by the museum the third Friday of every month to sign autographs and chat with fans.

In addition to Mayberry-themed attractions open year round, each September Mount Airy celebrates Mayberry Days. Thousands of fans descend on the city for the four-day family festival hosted by the Surry Arts Council, which features a parade, golf tournament, Andy Griffith trivia contests, screening of show episodes, special appearances by actors from the show, live entertainment and more.

photo courtesy of Mount Airy Visitors Center

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