March 17, 2017

Finding Small-Town America - Mount Airy, NC


There's a certain stereotype to small-town America, and it's no coincidence that it looks a lot like Mount Airy, North Carolina. Small shops. Old-timey buildings. Locals greeting each other on the streets. Vintage and knickknack shops sandwiched between local food joints!

Left to right: Barney, Opie (front), Andy, and Aunt Bea
This town in the northwestern part of the state, a stone's throw from the Virginia border, holds the distinction of being the inspiration for the town of Mayberry as featured in the 1960s sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show. Little more than a small dot on the map from a bird's eye view, Mount Airy represents quintessential small town America: slow-paced living high on quality relationships with neighbors and low on the anonymity of big cities. Capitalizing on its connection to Andy Griffith and the show, the town has carefully preserved its main street shops and maintained a few replica buildings as iconic trademarks of the sitcom, such as the courthouse, Floyd's Barber Shop, and Wally's service center.

The Andy Griffith Show followed the life of the widower sheriff, Andy Taylor, who spends more time raising his son Opie and calming his excitable cousin, Deputy Barney Fife, than solving any actual crime, since the biggest commotion in town is usually caused by the local drunk who often breaks into the county jail to pass out after a bender.

Growing up, I absolutely adored the show. Barney Fife and his "one bullet" was by far my favorite, but there was something charming in each character. For my husband's birthday this year, I gifted him a weekend away as a family to a place where family fits right on in and is celebrated.

Whether you're a fan of the show or not, Mount Airy is great for a stopover or detour from the Blue Ridge Parkway or just a quiet weekend away. We found an absolutely adorable 1930s house with three bedrooms on Airbnb just around the corner from Main Street for less than a price of hotel rooms! We spent our Saturday wandering up and down Main Street, snapping photos in front of the various replica buildings and locking my husband up in the jail for "failure to buy his wife chocolates on a regular basis" (preggo lady has needs, y'know!). We also took an excursion out to see the views from Pilot Mountain, a short drive south of Mount Airy. They did not disappoint!

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Beyond the town itself, there are a few wineries in the area, and the Blue Ridge Parkway and accompanying Appalachians are within a very short drive. Mount Airy hosts "Mayberry Days" that advertises to be a family-friendly celebration of the town and the show, oftentimes featuring actors from the show itself.

Coming home from a long weekend is always a sad affair for us, but even more so after having slowed our hectic lives to a comfortable amble in a town where the journey isn't necessarily about the destination, but the quality time spent getting there.









Have you been to Mount Airy? What's your favorite small-town America location?

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