"" Writer's Wanderings: Mayberry, USA --Mt. Airy, NC

Monday, August 02, 2010

Mayberry, USA --Mt. Airy, NC

Nothing says nostalgia like Mayberry, USA, or at least the memories of Andy Griffith and Opie walking down a dirt path, fishing poles in hand, while themed music plays in the background. That same music was playing through some speakers as we parked in front of Floyd’s Barber Shop in Mayberry (Mt. Airy), North Carolina.

We arrived in the nostalgic town on a Friday afternoon on our way back north from Miami. Mt. Airy is not far east of I-77 and after checking into our hotel, we headed for the center of town where several of the “landmarks” from the show are located.

A parking spot was vacant right in front of Floyd’s Barber Shop and two cars away from Sheriff Taylor’s, or was it Barney Fife’s (?), police cruiser. The Barber Shop is in operation and there was someone in one of the chairs getting his hair cut. Next to the Barber Shop was the Snappy Lunch restaurant often mentioned in the Mayberry series. We were too late for lunch. Opie’s Candy Store was also there but I don’t recall that ever being in the storyline.

Outside a country store, sat two men who could have been from the same era playing a game of checkers. A few doors down from there, we stopped into a real soda fountain from the 50s era. Round red topped stools lined a chrome trimmed bar with all the equipment for REAL sodas and shakes behind the counter. It was tempting.

We walked to the corner of the street and headed for the Andy Griffith Museum in the Surry County Arts building. There was a large room full of all sorts of pictures showing Andy Griffith in the many venues in which he performed. Several exhibits contained some props and clothes from the Mayberry show. It cost $3 to look around but was worth the entry fee.

Something we hadn’t discovered until we started researching Mt. Airy was that this was also where the original Siamese twins, Eng and Chang Bunker settled down in the 1860s to farm. The twins were married to two sisters and had 21 kids between the two of them. There is a small room with pictures of them and their families lining several walls in the same arts building.

After our museum tour, we returned to the car and drove a short distance to Wally’s Service Station where for $30 you can get a tour of Mayberry in a vintage squad car—that’s one fee for all the passengers.

Next to the service station is a reconstructed version of what the TV Mayberry town hall looked like. Inside is a mock up of Andy’s desk and Otis’ cell and the opportunity to take pictures of all. Later we stopped in at the original old jail of Mt. Airy. It was nothing like the TV version. Otis might have sobered up a lot sooner in there.

Mt. Airy also has the largest granite wall quarry in the world or so we were told and we drove out to see that as well. The lady in the visitor’s center had said that it can be seen in outer space and that the astronauts use it as a landmark. We’ll take her word for it. The quarry was huge though and quite impressive.
On our way back to our hotel, we passed by the little house where Andy Griffith grew up. It is run by Hampton Inns and you can stay the night in it. A sign reminds passersby that it does have guests in it and to respect their privacy. As we slowed down to take the picture, the occupants came to the door and held up Andy Griffith and his girlfriend, Helen, masks to their faces. We waved and moved on before Barney had a chance to show up and complain about us holding up traffic.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...