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Since its beginnings in 1990, the Surry Arts Council’s annual Mayberry Days has become one of the most anticipated events in the region. With Mayberry days approaching the end of this month, this is an appropriate time to mention some of the fun things to see and do in Mt. Airy. Every few days another article will pop up in this section to give Mayberry lovers an idea of some of the noteworthy places to visit when in Mt. Airy.
Every year visitors from across the nation flock to the small town near the mountains on the Virginia border to sample a
taste of “Mayberry” in Andy Griffith’s birthplace. Mt. Airy is packed with places with Mayberry names and a Mayberry feel. Since good food is a priority when you travel, you will be happy to know Mt. Airy offers several fine dining establishments.
A down-home place to catch a bite right on Main Street is the Snappy Lunch. Everyone who visits Mt. Airy knows about the Snappy Lunch. Mentioned a couple of times on “The Andy Griffith Show,” the Snappy Lunch is world famous for its porkchop sandwich. If you have never had one, you don’t know what you are missing! Down the street is the cozy Bluebird Diner. We had enjoyed the small diner our first visit to Mt. Airy and make it a point to return each year. One reason it is a standout is it is about the only place open at night in Downtown Mt. Airy!
My brother and I discovered a fun new place to eat, Goober’s, a wild, psychedelic, multi-colored, tie-dye kind of place with great food! We loved it. Another local restaurant with delicious food is the Derby, for traditional Southern food served in a round restaurant. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a
delicious Meat and Three/Blueplate Special.
A local steak joint not too far from Goobur’s, the Sagebrush Steak House, had a blurb in the “Mayberry Confidential” last year that said to come by between 10 and midnight Saturday night for some Mayberry fun, and fun it was! Michael Hoover showed up to do some Elvis songs and Harvey Bullock, James Best and Betty Lynn were there for greetings and photo ops. We were certainly glad we checked it out and we added it to our list of fun places to eat in Mt. Airy!
Downtown Mt. Airy is full of quaint spots any visitor would enjoy. Floyd’s City Barbershop, the Mayberry 5
and Dime, Pages Books, the Mayberry Trading Post, Main Street Emporium and more businesses than I can list offer a taste of Mayberry and small town Americana. If you have ever wanted a souvenir or memorabilia from “The Andy Griffith show,” you fill find plenty to choose from in these quaint shops.
Also on Main Street is a little-known wonder which sure to be a hit with Coca Cola fans, Mt. Airy’s Antique Coca Cola Sign. I am hoping if enough people get interested, Mount Airy might consider restoring the antique sign to its former glory – like it was in Andy’s youth.
On Saturday morning of Mayberry Days, there is a parade down Main Street with old cars, marching bands and Mayberry tribute artists…oh, and of course, some of the original cast members from “The Andy Griffith Show!” The parade is a slice of Americana not to be missed, so be sure your vacation plans include the Saturday morning parade!
Wally’s Service is an antique gas
station that now serves as a Mt. Airy tourist attraction. Located just a few blocks from downtown, Wally’s is a short walk from where the main action took place, but well worth the walk. With its red tile roof, antique pumps, rocking chairs and souvenirs, Wally’s also plays host to various old cars and squad cars which park in front and make fabulous photo ops, especially with “Wally” standing out front in his uniform!
Right next door to Wally’s is the new Mayberry Courthouse. Built inside an antique brick Texaco garage, the room has been fixed up to look almost exactly like the Mayberry Courthouse complete with its jail with two cells!
Another site of interest a few blocks away from Main Street is Mayberry Square.
One place not to be missed in Mt. Airy is Andy Griffith’s childhood home which was the family home from the 30’s through the 1960’s. Andy Griffith’s Homeplace, located at 711 Haymore Street in Mt. Airy, is now a bed and breakfast. The inside of the home has been restored to a style reflecting the period when Andy lived there. For more info, call (336) 789-9569.
The town water tower, located on a hill near Andy’s birthplace, has just been painted with the familiar image of Sheriff Taylor and Opie.
Not too far from Andy’s home stands the Moravian Church where Andy got his first music lessons and where he was encouraged to pursue his college studies in ministry.
Sunday morning after Mayberry Days offers a rare opportunity to see Mt Airy when it is still and quiet, and to visit the Moravian Church that had such a strong influence on Andy Griffith.
The Mayberry Motor Lodge offers guests and visitors a fine collection of memorabilia and an Aunt Bee room fixed up like Aunt Bee was a resident.
Don’t forget to visit the Mount Airy Visitors Center and see the huge collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia housed there. The Visitors Center, located at 615 N. Main Street, houses a large display of Emmett Forrest’s Andy Griffith memorabilia, probably the world’s largest collection. Admission is free. The center has a toll-free number: 1-800-576-0231.
Stay tuned all month as we run a series of articles about Mt. Airy.
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