Monday, April 30, 2012

Mayberry RFD (Mount Airy, NC)

Okay, we’re going to back up a little bit here and start over.  We, as you already know, arrived at Mayberry Campground on Friday around two o’clock.  That left us with a little time to do a “drive by” to get the lay of the land.  So we headed into Mount Airy, specifically Main Street which is also referred to as Mayberry.  Now, the only thing that Mount Airy has to do with Mayberry is that the shows star, Andy Griffith, was born and raised here.  The show itself was never filmed here, but Andy did bring some of Mount Airy to Mayberry and, because of Andy, the town has brought a lot of Mayberry to Mount Airy.  Here is how Main Street looks today.


We decided to park the truck and do a little walk about to see what we’d want to visit on a later trip to Mayberry RFD.  Floyd’s City Barber Shop was still opened so we stopped by so I could get a haircut.  Russ Hiatt has been cutting hair in this location for “65 years come this July” (I turn Medicare “come this July” so Russ was just starting out cutting hair when I was making my entrance into this world).  Russ used to cut Andy’s hair when he lived here and Floyd’s City Barber Shop was based on Russ’s - “Two Chairs, No Waiting!”




Saturday morning Don and Jenny arrived at our door around eleven o’clock.  We headed into town for a day of tourism with hopes of bumping into Andy and Opie on the streets of Mayberry.  Our first stop was at 711 Haymore Street, just a few blocks from Main Street, to take some pictures of Andy Griffith’s boyhood home.  The home is owned by a hotel and can be rented out as a bed and breakfast.  The Griffith family resided in the home until 1966.


Our next stop was at the Andy Griffith Museum which houses the largest collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia collected by his childhood friend Emmett Forrest.  As luck would have it, Emmett was on hand to answer questions and pass on stories about Andy and himself.  Betty Lynn, the actress who played Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show, makes appearances at the museum on the third Friday each month.



And, yes, we did bump into Andy and Opie as they were heading out to do a little fishing.



While in Mayberry there are three ways to get around to see the sights.  You can walk or you can take a Mule Wagon Ride or you can tour by Squad Car.



Being that Mayberry only covers four blocks, we elected to walk and stop by a few of the establishments on our way.  The first stop after the Museum was Snappy Lunch which was right next door to Floyd’s City Barber Shop.  Snappy Lunch was established in 1923, and it's one of the oldest Mount Airy restaurants.  It became famous after it was mentioned on the Andy Griffith Show.  The most popular item on the menu is the Pork Chop Sandwich, a delicious piece of grilled boneless pork, topped with condiments such as coleslaw, chili and others.


With our bellies full, we set out to become tourists.


Wally’s Service Station, where Goober and Gomer worked, was built in 1937 as a Gulf Station and later became an Esso Station.  Although it wasn’t called Wally’s Service Station back then, it was a place where Andy would stop by to have an RC cola and a Moon Pie.  You can still have those today, however, they are no longer a nickel each and are a lot smaller than those that Andy used to enjoy.


Here are a couple more pictures from along Main Street, Mayberry (Mount Airy).



Unfortunately, the City Jail isn’t opened on Saturdays or Sundays.  We plan to stop by later today so we’ll snap a couple of pictures to be included in another blog entry.  Oh, by the way, Andy isn’t the only “star” from Mount Airy.  It is also home to the old time bluegrass singer Tommy Jarrell and country singer Donna Fargo.  P. T. Barnum’s Siamese Twins, Eng and Chang Bunker, made their home in Mount Airy after their touring days with the circus.

Well, there you have it from Mayberry.  We’ve enjoyed being a tourist and dropping in on Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea, Opie, and the all the rest.  Brings back memories of “a simpler time, a sweeter place, a lesson, a laugh, a father and a son”.

May God Bless - - - - - - - - -

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