Back to Mayberry

Do you yearn to go back to Mayberry? Some of us never left. Sheriff Taylor, Aunt Bea and little Opie inhabit the happy place that we find in our dreams. Betty Lynn, the actress known as Thelma Lou, still lives there. Now in her 80s, she shows up once a month at the Andy Griffith Museum to sign autographs. Don't miss this fine museum's displays of original objects and clothing from the TV show.

Mount Airy, North Carolina is the real-life Mayberry, the town where Andy Griffith grew up. The schoolhouse he attended as a lad is now the Andy Griffith Playhouse featuring live productions. Across the way, take pictures of the iconic, life-size statue of Andy and OpieĀ  from the opening scene in the TV show.

Start with one of the guided tours so you can find your way back later to places you want to visit. Many of the guides knew Andy personally and they spin yarns about the old days. Then begin your personal tour on foot in the old downtown, taking a day to shop and dine. The look is largely unchanged since the 1930s and '40s when a young Andy looked for odd jobs with the merchants here, had haircuts, ate in these restaurants, shopped in these stores. In the Old City Jail, find a replica of the office where Sheriff Taylor and Deputy Fife worked.

Emmit's Fix It Shop, Floyd's Barber Shop and Wally's Service Station take their names from the TV show's but Snappy Lunch has been here since before the show. It's still the same restaurant that has been a local favorite since Andy Griffith's day. Don't miss its famous pork chop sandwiches You can even sleep in the home where Andy lived with his parents until he finished high school. For details about Andy's Homeplace and reservations, email The simple cottage is furnished as it might have been in the old days. Your hosts will supply a continental breakfast or a voucher for breakfast at Snappy Lunch.

Mount Airy's Museum of Regional History departs from the Mayberry theme but it's well worth a visit. Displays start with native Americans and take you through the region's industrial, social, agriculture and business history. Mount Airy is also in the heart of the Yadkin Valley wine industry. Take a self-guided tour to wineries that offer tastings, salesrooms, specialized products and fine dining. Some also offer venues for weddings and other events. On Main Street in Mount Airy, the Old North State Winery and Brewery offers its own wines and hand-crafted, small-batch ales as well as gourmet cuisine.