Hey Andy, can you imagine that, a Revolutionary war hero living right here in Mayberry? Who you suppose it could be?…Wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out to be me?
There are plenty of Mayberry, NC sights and sounds to see in Mount Airy and surrounding areas. But there’s more that extends beyond The Andy Griffith Show, from the Round Peak-style of old-time string music and old-time dances to a new emerging viticulture scene, which is quickly becoming the Napa of the East known as Yadkin Valley wine country.
About Mount Airy
Mount Airy is the quintessential small town located in the upper Yadkin Valley near the Virginia state line, surrounded by views of both the Sauratown and Blue Ridge Mountains. A former stagecoach stop along the Ararat River, this designated “Friendly City” is thought to have inspired Mayberry, the fictional North Carolina town where The Andy Griffith Show was set. The town was incorporated in 1885 and was once among the state’s largest producers of tobacco, furniture, and textiles.
It is a fact that actor and native son Andy Griffith grew up here, and it’s no coincidence that fans of The Andy Griffith Show come to Mount Airy to trace the steps of native son Andy Griffith and to experience, at least for a moment, life in that nostalgic, fictional town known as Mayberry, NC.
The fabric of life in Mount Airy echoes that of Mayberry, NC, and at least 35 Mount Airy people, places and things are referenced in the classic 1960s sitcom. For example, Mount Pilot in the nearby town of Mayberry was a reference to the actual town of Pilot Mountain and Pilot Mount State Park that also sits nearby to Mount Airy.
Andy Griffith fans from all 50 states and numerous countries come to Mount Airy to visit The Andy Griffith Museum, Floyd’s City Barber Shop, Wally’s Service Station, Snappy Lunch, Andy’s childhood home, the Andy Griffith Playhouse, and take a ride in a squad car.
An Emerging Wine Country
In the last few years, Surry County has become fertile ground for a booming vineyard and winery trade. This Yadkin Valley wine region has grown to over 40 wineries since 2002, with many wineries in close proximity to Mount Airy. Old North State Winery is located in downtown Mount Airy with many more vineyards within a short drive of Mount Airy. One of the Southeast’s largest vineyard estates, Shelton Vineyard is only 15 minutes from downtown Mount Airy.
Round-Peak Style of Old-Time Music
Mount Airy is more than just Mayberry as it is home of old-time music legends Tommy Jarrell and Benton Flippen along with country singer Donna Fargo. Many musicians from the Round Peak community could play music passed down from the earliest English and Scotch-Irish settlers. This music eventually became known as Round Peak music, which was one of several distinct regional styles of a genre called “old-time” music.
Tommy Jarrell was raised in the Round Peak community where old-time music was not only a form of entertainment, but a way to bring neighbors and the community together. Tommy Jarrell was enormously influential on the old-time music revival in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Live Bluegrass Music
Mount Airy’s WPAQ 740 AM radio station has been operating the nation’s second longest-running radio show, the Merry-Go-Round, (The Grand Ole Opry is the longest running show) since 1948. The live broadcast has featured bluegrass and old-time legends, such as Tommy Jarrell, Benton Flippen, and the Carter family.
Many Things to See
Whether it is those fans who are seeking out Mount Airy’s rich music traditions to wine connoisseurs searching for Yadkin Valley’s finest wines or those who trek to see the roots of Mayberry, NC, there are many reasons to come to love Mount Airy.