Nov 042009

Andy Opie statue webWe had to work yesterday. Of course, when your job is playing tourist, that’s not exactly a bad thing!

As I said in yesterday’s blog, Mount Airy, North Carolina is the hometown of television star Andy Griffith, and was the inspiration for the fictional town of Mayberry in the old Andy Griffith show. No longer a small town, Mount Airy still retains a lot of charm, and has made a business out of its connection with Mayberry.

We started our day with a visit to the Andy Griffith Playhouse, the center of music and the arts in Mount Airy. The museum isn’t officially open to the public yet, but a very nice young lady gave us a tour of the brand new Andy Griffith Museum. Outside, a statue of Sheriff Taylor and Opie heading out for a day of fishing is a favorite photo opportunity for tourists.

Our next stop was the Visitor Center downtown, and the ladies there were very friendly and gave us several tips on places to see and things to do. From there we strolled a couple of blocks down Main Street, poking our heads into several shops and soaking up the atmosphere.

Main Street is a lot busier than when Andy and Barney patrolled the town, but Russell Hiatt is still cutting hair at Floyd’s City Barber Shop, as he has for the past 62 years. The walls of the shop are lined with over 20,000 pictures of regular folks and celebrities who have sat in the old barber chair where Andy Griffith Nick barber chair webhimself once got his haircuts, including Lou Ferrigno of Incredible Hulk fame, George Lindsey who played Goober on the Andy Griffith Show, and talk show host Oprah Winfrey. Now my picture is on the Wall of Fame too, and here is one of me and my new friend Mr. Hiatt.  

Snappy Diner outside webNext door to the barber shop, you can have a delicious pork chop sandwich next door at the Snappy Diner, which Andy Taylor referred to in the television show. But go early, because they close in mid-afternoon!

We wanted to tour the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, which is supposed to have some excellent exhibits, but when we stopped in, the three people at the counter couldn’t seem to figure out how to allow us to do that, since the director was at a Rotary meeting, and they were sure he would want to talk to us first. Maybe they were afraid we were spies there to steal valuable information so we could go across the street and open our own museum, I don’t know. We finally gave up and went off in search of other things to write about.

At Wally’s Service Station, you can book a tour of the town in a police car that looks like the one Sheriff Andy Taylor Wallys Service Station webdrove.

Next door, at the Mayberry Courthouse, they have a replica of Police car 2 webSheriff Taylor’s office, and Miss Terry took a picture of me in the jail cell where town drunk Otis slept off his binges. I’m always worried when she puts me in a cage, because I never know when she might snap a lock on the door and just leave me there! Could you blame her?Nick in Otis jail cell web

A few blocks away, the small house where Andy Griffith lived as a boy is now a bed and breakfast, decorated with antiques from the 1930s and 1940s, including some original Andy Griffith memorabilia.

We had a great day “working,” and we look forward to putting our noses to the grindstone again today. It’s a fun job, and somebody has to do it!

While we were hard at work, Bad Nick was working too, posting a new Bad Nick Blog titled Health Care, Canadian Style. Check it out and leave a comment.


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Nick Russell

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  7 Responses to “Playing Tourist In Mayberry”

  1. We never missed watching the Andy Griffith Show back in those dear days of work (darn, I used the W word!). Thanks for taking us back to Mayberry!

  2. How fun! Who wasn’t a fan of Andy Griffith! We have now added that to our “must see” list for 2010! Thanks for the write-up.

  3. Wow, what a fun trip to Mayberry! I will have to put it on the must do list. Thanks for the pictures and the post.

  4. Good Morning Nick… It is a tough life but someone has to do it… I love this job too… Great photos and comentary of Mayberry oops I mean Mount Airy… Will have to go there one day… Thanks

    Have Fun & Travel Safe

  5. We have spent some time in Mayberry..don’t miss the onion rings at the Snappy Diner.. also, they used to have a Mayberry Days the last weekend in September. that is when we were there a number of years ago.

  6. Hay Jim, I thought you were Greek … you are always diving for lobsters and whatever. That my story and I sticking to it!

  7. Looks like we might have passed each other on the street. Nice little town with friendly people.

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