I was fourteen years old when I saw my very first episode of The Andy Griffith Show. It was the beginning of what was to become a lifelong passion for the wonderful make believe town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Little did I realize that forty-five years later, I would enter the Andy Taylor Home to the whistling theme song and a big wet kiss from Ellie Walker, a delightful three year old black schnauzer.
Dave and Marsha Scheuermann, who live in the small town of Clear Lake, Wisconsin, have created a very real part of Mayberry by replicating Sheriff Andy Taylor’s Home. Nestled among six acres, located in the quiet countryside just outside Clear Lake, the Scheuermanns own and operate the Taylor Home Inn, Bed & Breakfast.
I have been communicating with Dave and Marsha since they first began their dream of recreating the Taylor home. From our many emails we shared, I got the impression that they were two very special and unique individuals. I was not mistaken. This past week, my wife Linda and I had the pleasure of spending a night at the Taylor Home Inn. It was truly one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.
From the moment we walked into their living room, we were treated like family, and not paying guests. It is difficult to express the feeling one gets when you first enter the Taylor living room. It is as if you step back in time, and are really entering Mayberry. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful stone fireplace that is an almost exact replica to the one found in the television Taylor home. In fact, everything in the living room and dining area are either exact replicas, or as close as humanly possible. The pictures on the wall, the ceramic pelican that Opie won at the fair, the vintage black and white television, and a guitar were all there. It was a surreal feeling to sit on the sofa, and see everything that Andy, Aunt Bee, and Opie saw over forty five years ago.
Walking into the Taylor Home Inn kitchen was a very emotional experience. I half expected to see Barney come in through the back door for his morning cup of coffee. I have spent many hours in the Taylor kitchen over the years, through the wonders of television, but I never expected to be there one day. Everything was there, except for the crack in the ceiling. Dave and Marsha must have done a super job hiding that slight little flaw. Seeing Aunt Bee’s white china cabinet filled with blue willow dishes, really made that kitchen come alive as no other kitchen could. The canister set and cookie jar on the countertop were exactly like those used by Aunt Bee, Andy, and Opie.
That much loved kitchen in the Taylor Home Inn produced the most scrumptious breakfast that Linda and I have ever had, and it was served on blue willow dishes by a charming waiter. We knew it was breakfast, when Marsha did her “call to breakfast”, a wonderfully performed rendition of good old 14A on the living room piano. Marsha and Dave started off serving Marsha’s own specialty dish of vanilla yogurt, covered with sweet and crunch Minnesota granola, mixed with home made maple syrup, right from Clear Lake, and topped by numerous fresh blueberries. Add to that a large glass of orange juice, and we were finished with course number one. Next on the menu came freshly baked pecan and apple pancake, sprinkled with powdered sugar. The third course was an expertly prepared fluffy omelet with ham, cheese, green peppers, and cilantro. To make the breakfast complete, we shared the Taylor table with a wonderful family from Canada who were visiting Clear Lake before returning their mother to their native country of Brazil.
The guest rooms were again replica’s of the three Taylor bedrooms. The beds and other furnishings were as close as the television set furniture as possible. The only difference was we had the use of a beautiful large private bathroom that comes with each bedroom. Each bathroom is totally modern, yet fits in perfectly with the décor of each guest bedroom. Linda and I spent the night in Andy’s room, which is the largest of the three bedrooms.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say more about Ellie Walker. She was an absolute delight. We even got to do an Ernest T. impression while staying at the Inn. We would go outside, and there we found some nice rocks lying around. Dave and Marsha demonstrated that if you threw the rocks out into the fields, Ellie Walker would chase after them and retrieve them. She kept us entertained for quite a while with this favorite activity of hers. She was also an excellent lap sitter.
Of course the Taylor family always spent time on their front porch, as we did during our visit. Dave and Marsha, Linda, and I spent several hours just sitting and talking about Mayberry. We drank coffee, shared our favorite episodes and moments, and what better place to do so than out on the front porch. That quiet time, spent with two new special friends, were perhaps some of the best two hours of my life.
There are many more things I could tell you about our visit, but I want you to discover some of them on your own when you visit the Taylor Home Inn. Do we plan to return? Just try to keep us away. We are already planning on a return trip for our anniversary next year, and hopefully we can make it there again before then. It is truly a wonderful experience. We all have our dreams, but for many of us they just never come true. Dave and Marsha had a dream, and theirs did come true. They took a small part of make believe and transformed it into reality. They are truly two very fortunate people.
Kenneth Anderson is a regular contributer and is working on a book of Mayberry reflections. Details to be announced soon.
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