Visiting the real Mayberry: Mount Airy, North Carolina


My husband and two friends  were coming back from Myrtle Beach, and we decided to visit the home of Andy Griffith, Mount Airy,  North Carolina  It was the town that The Andy Griffith Show’s Mayberry  was based upon.  The four of us used to watch it every now and then.
Why did we want to go there?

I guess because we all grew up on that hokey show. I used to dismiss it as being hillbilly like and something I wasn’t interested in, but I did watch it.  It painted a picture of a really simple life: one where everyone knew everyone,  and everything had a happy ending. Like other 50’s and 60’s shows, there was a lesson to learn at the end of the show.
Andy Griffith Museum

We found an honest to goodness Andy Griffith Museum, with a statue of Opie and Andy on the outside.  There were a few flowers strewn around because Andy had died several weeks before.

Price of admission: $3.00
What I liked was Sheriff Taylor’s desk, and Barney’s suit he wore on special occasions. There are various posters, and memorabilia  of Andy’s career. Posters, and various items from his movies, “No Time for Sergeants, “A face in the Crowd” A few things from his TV show, “Matlock”. I watched it every once in a while. It’s proof that Andy did have acting ability.
While reading he memorabilia, I realized Andy had 3 wives. His first wife was his college sweetheart, but they eventually got divorced.  Maybe fame was too much for their marriage. Who knows?

We had a malt at the drugstore, where the real Andy Griffith had supposedly worked in high school. But the owner never met him although he contended that he met all the other members of the cast. The servers were wearing old 50’s clothes, a nice touch. The ice cream was good. It tasted genuine, like the town.
Recreated parts of Mayberry
You can go by the prison, the Goober’s (George Lindsay’s) filling station, and the barber shop ( Howard McNear). It was fun to get locked into the jail. (Only for a minute of course)
Going by Andy’s little house
Like all movie stars and rich people Andy had a big house somewhere else, but he kept a modest house in Mount Airy. It’s now a bed and breakfast where you can stay.
What were we looking for?
A piece of our childhood that was not real?
Aunt Bea
For this posting I did a little research about Frances Bavier, the actress who played Aunt Bea.  It was interesting to find out that the actress  At the museum I learned she  had settled into another town in North Carolina,  Siler City. Was it a case of fantasy interacting with reality? Maybe she was hoping to lead a happier life.
It was sad to find out that she’d led a lonely life.. She’d actually been a difficult actress. Later, she contacted the real Andy Griffith and apologized for her behavior.
So, in the final analysis, life wasn’t like Mayberry to the people who played the roles. Divorces and isolation had plagued them too.
I would recommend Mount Airy if you want to recapture a part of your childhood. It’ll make you feel young, and happy.  Just for a little while.

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4 thoughts on “Visiting the real Mayberry: Mount Airy, North Carolina

  1. Hi,
    I grew up on The Andy Griffith Show and Barney and Aunt Bee and Opie were hits. It was a life where problems were solved with respect and love. Although things may have been different in their real lives, the ideal of living in harmony is something that I believe we all try to attain.
    I enjoyed the article and the next time I am at home, I just may visit the museum.
    Thanks.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

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