We 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 himself 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.
Next 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 drove.
Next door, at the Mayberry Courthouse, they have a replica of Sheriff 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?
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!
Thought For The Day – Right now is a perfect time to be happy.