Destination: Mount Airy, a.k.a Mayberry
Distance from Charlotte: 99 miles - perfect for a day trip or overnight destination
Good to know: Kids can watch a few episodes before visiting on TVLand
The Andy Griffith Show ended in 1968, but look no further than Mount Airy, N.C. to find Mayberry. Here, residents have embraced their favorite hometown boy, Andy Griffith, and what he did for their small town. Griffith’s drew from his memories of growing up in Mount Airy to create one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Today, travelers flock from around the world to the real Mayberry. The Visitors Center tracks guests from all 50 states, plus Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand.
Squad Car Tour
Get the lay of the land and have a ton of fun on a Squad Car Tour. In a vintage Ford Galaxie, just like Barney’s, you sit back and listen to a friendly guide who narrates the history of Mount Airy. The most popular spots on this 40-minute tour are the home where Andy Griffith grew up, Floyd’s City Barber Shop, and the Andy Griffith Museum.
Floyd’s City Barber Shop
The truly authentic Floyd’s boasts thousands of photos of locals, tourists, and other famous people. If you’re lucky, you might see Russell Hiatt who finally retired after 68 years of cutting hair. He’s cut Andy Griffith’s hair, and is one of the barbers who inspired the character Floyd on the show. Russell is very accommodating and, health permitting is happy to share a few stories along with letting tourists take their photograph with him.
Andy’s Childhood Home
Follow your GPS to 711 East Haymore Street where you’ll find Andy’s childhood home. Many stop for a quick photo, but a true Andy fan can book a stay here through The Hampton Inn. Decorated in 1930s-40s style, it has two bedrooms and one bath with Andy memorabilia at every turn.
Lunch at Snappy’s
Serving diners since 1923, Snappy’s is Mount Airy’s oldest eating establishment and the only Mount Airy business mentioned on the show. With this in mind, its enormous popularity isn’t surprising. So, go early or expect to wait in a line for their world famous pork shop sandwich and more from their menu selections.
The Andy Griffith Museum
A Mayberry visit isn’t complete without a trip to the Andy Griffith Museum. Here, you’ll find the largest collection of Griffith memorabilia, gathered by Andy’s longtime friend, Emmett Forrest. This place is packed with items from his life and career in movies, television, and music. Enhance your visit with an audio guide for a more thorough experience. Betty Lynn, the actress who played Thelma Lou makes monthly appearances and graciously signs autographs and allows photographs with fans.
Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies
Along quaint Main Street, take a yummy break at Miss Angels. The owners gather apples and peaches from their own orchards for truly made-from-scratch sonker desserts. These are deep-dish fruit pies and well worth the indulgence.
Stay at Mayberry Motor Inn
Completing your Mayberry visit, stay at the Mayberry Motor Lodge and peek into Room 109 to see the Aunt Bee collection. Alma Venable, known as Mayberry’s own Aunt Bee, is a big fan and even looks like her. The actress who played Aunt Bee, France Bavier retired to nearby Siler City, NC and Alma purchased hundreds of items from Bavier’s estate after her death.
For more info, go to visitmayberry.com.
Sara Kendall has traveled halfway across the globe with her kids and lived to tell about it. Stay tuned to hear about family destinations around Charlotte and beyond. Check out more of Sara’s travel at her website www.latitudecrossing.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.