Film Sites from Bull Durham to the Blue Ridge Parkway

Mount Airy Visitors CenterFilm Sites from Bull Durham to the Blue Ridge Parkway

Take a Squad Car Tour in Mount Airy, the real Mayberry

See some of North Carolina’s great film locations and performing arts venues while enjoying the history of their picturesque settings in this five-day itinerary.

5-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Visit Durham and Duke University for gardens and history.

Day 2: Find history and outdoor fun in Hillsborough, Burlington and Greensboro.

Day 3: Stop in Winston-Salem for history and heritage.

Day 4: See where a television legend was born in Mount Airy.

Day 5: Visit Boone and Linville for outdoor activity and beauty.

Day 1: Durham

Start your trip in Durham at Duke University, instituted in 1924 by James Buchanan Duke as a memorial to his father, Washington Duke. As you walk the campus, take time to study the stately Georgian-style architecture on the East Campus, the dramatic Gothic design of the West Campus, Duke Chapel and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. The campus has hosted a number of films and TV shows, including Weeds, Kiss the Girls, The Handmaid’s Tale and Dawson’s Creek.

Make your next stop Historic Durham Athletic Park, featured in the film Bull Durham. Built in 1926 as a minor-league facility, it seats 3,500 and is set against a backdrop of the downtown Durham skyline. A hallmark of the facility is the round tower with conical roof, which serves as the ticket office. The stadium is located just a mile north of where the team currently plays.

For an inspirational experience, visit the North Carolina Central University Arts Museum. North Carolina Central University was the nation's first state-supported liberal arts college for African-American students. The movie Weeds filmed here.

Day 2: Hillsborough, Burlington & Greensboro

Spend the first part of your day at Ayr Mount Historic Site and Poet’s Walk in Hillsborough. Scottish merchant William Kirkland built the brick plantation house in 1815. It includes a collection of Federal period furniture, porcelain and crystal. Of interest is a set of North Carolina etchings by Louis Orr. Poet’s Walk is a trail winding through landscaped grounds, woodlands and pastures on 256-acres along the banks of the Eno River.

Next, visit Historic Snow Camp Outdoor Theatre, which interprets colonial and antebellum life through living-history and theatrical productions. The outdoor amphitheater was the location for scenes from Stephen King’s Children of the Corn II. During summer months, you can catch the historical dramas The Sword of Peace and Pathway to Freedom.

At the Greensboro Historical Museum, explore exhibits about short-story writer O. Henry and famed war correspondent and newscaster Edward R. Murrow. You’ll learn about the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins that affected the nation and about Dolley Madison’s lasting legacy as first lady.

To see where one of the games in Bull Durham was filmed, head to War Memorial Stadium. Originally opened in 1926 as a football stadium, it was transformed during the years into a baseball park. Several franchises have called it home.

Cap off your evening with a performance at the Carolina Theatre. First opened in 1927, this restored vaudeville theatre serves as one of Greensboro’s premier performing arts centers showcasing theater, dance, concerts and films.

Day 3: Winston-Salem

Begin the day at Old Salem, the historic Moravian town where costumed interpreters demonstrate household activities and trades of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Founded in 1766, the town of Salem has survived to become one of America’s most authentic and well-documented colonial sites. Be sure to include stops at Winkler Bakery, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, the Old Salem Toy Museum and Old Salem Tavern.

Staying in Winston-Salem, head over to the internationally renowned University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the first state-supported facility of its kind in the world. Its many venues host student performances in dance, drama, music and film. The Moving Image Archives houses one of the nation's largest non-commercial collections of films. It includes 16,500 original feature film prints on 70 mm, 35 mm and 16 mm; 240 live action and animated short films, documentaries and newsreels on 35 mm and 16 mm; 4,600 previews of coming attractions on 35 mm; and 9,300 videocassette, laserdisc and DVD titles. Attend one of the current student films.

Day 4: Mount Airy

Spend your day exploring Andy Griffith’s hometown and the inspiration for the fictional town of Mayberry in the classic television series The Andy Griffith Show. Get a trim at the Mount Airy version of Floyd’s City Barber Shop and visit The Snappy Lunch for a tasty pork chop sandwich. The Andy Griffith Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia.

The Andy Griffith Playhouse, circa 1920, is Mount Airy's first known public school site. Griffith attended elementary school and performed on stage here during the 1930s and 1940s. Plan a September trip to celebrate the annual Mayberry Days Festival.

You can also visit Aunt Bee's Room at the Mayberry Motor Inn, dedicated to the memory of Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) with a collection including her vanity, twin bedroom suit and various other belongings.

Day 5: Boone & Linville

Take a relaxing drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. More than half of its 469 miles meander through the mountains of North Carolina, comprising what many have come to know as America's Favorite Drive. The Parkway encompasses a world of mountain forests, wildlife and wildflowers thousands of feet above a patchwork of quaint mountain towns, fields and farms.

At Grandfather Mountain, you’ll encounter nature on a whole new level on the Mile High Swinging Bridge, hiking trails and cliff-side picnic area. The park is an International Biosphere Reserve. Learn more about the mountain at Grandfather’s Nature Museum. Exhibits and award-winning films speak to its many aspects – endangered species, unique weather, colorful wildflowers and birds. The area's curvy mountain roads were featured in the movie Forrest Gump.

Enjoy all this trip idea has to offer by mixing and matching to your particular interest. Be sure to check days and hours of operation for each venue.

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