By Guest Blogger Marisa Tomasic

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, visitors and locals alike are fortunate enough to take in the “back in the day” charms of a simpler life in the town of Mount Airy. Known by many as Mayberry, the fictional setting of the Andy Griffith Show, this Surry County town attracts visitors from across the country and beyond.  It serves as a tiny haven for those seeking a small town atmosphere, and for visitors wanting to learn   about the boyhood home of Andy Griffith and the places and events which pay tribute to the Andy Griffith show.

Mount Airy is an excellent destination for a day trip, since it’s only about a half an hour from from Winston-Salem, and the downtown area offers a variety of fun shops, activities, and dining experiences for both children and adults.  Upon arrival, stop in at Barney’s Cafe for a simple, modestly-priced breakfast or lunch.  Stroll farther down main to the ever popular Snappy Lunch, famous for it’s delicious pork chop sandwiches.  After lunch, enjoy a milkshake or ice cream sundae at the 1950’s-style counter at Walker’s Soda Fountain, or step into Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies and savor some of the most delicious baked goods you’ll ever eat.  From “moonshine” mini- pies to banana pudding cups, this award-winning bakery is a must-visit during a trip to Mount Airy.  Visitors of all ages will find delight in stopping by Opie’s Candy Store, where bins of old-fashioned treats and a cooler full of bottled “pop” await.  Need a haircut?  Floyd’s Barber Shop, a fixture on the Andy Griffith Show, is a marvel in itself.  Be sure to get your photo taken, and take time to admire the photo wall adorned with pics of visitors from all over the world.

For the Andy Griffith Show fan, quaint shops with Mayberry-inspired souvenirs align both sides of Main Street.  Squad cars travel up and down main, taking tourists on a sight-seeing tour of the town, including Andy Griffith’s boyhood home and the Andy Griffith Museum and Playhouse.  The   Museum holds the largest collection of memorabilia from the show, as well as from Andy Griffith’s contributions to movies, theater, music, and other television productions, including the beloved Matlock series.  The museum is open year-round, seven days a week.  Each year in September, Mount Airy and the Surry Arts Council host a full week of events celebrating all things Mayberry.  Featured among them is a parade showcasing fun-loving Andy Griffith Show character re-enactors, in addition to a variety of celebrity guests affiliated with the show.  This year, Mayberry Days will be held September 24th thru the 30th.

History buffs and those who simply like to learn about the spirit and legacy of the fascinating regions of our state, will enjoy a visit to the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History.  Just a short ride from Main Street lies a true wonder of North Carolina, the world’s largest opened-faced granite quarry, a site for which the area is famous.  The Historic Earle Theatre is a perfect spot to relax a while and listen to some outstanding regional music or take in an award-winning movie.  Make a summer evening perfect by spreading out a blanket and enjoying live beach music at the Surry Arts Council’s Blackmon Amphitheater.

Simple, yet fun and joy-filled activities are waiting for you and your family in Mount Airy, recently voted as North Carolina’s most popular destination town.  Whether for just a day or a weekend get-away, “Mayberry” always welcomes you!

~Photos courtesy of Mount Airy Tourism

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