Mayberry Comes to Life in Mount Airy, North Carolina

Wally's Service Station


June 8, 2022

Visit Mt. Airy, Where Mayberry Comes to Life

When you can’t walk on the back lot of a favorite childhood TV show, what’s the next best thing? Visiting the town’s model. So, all you Andy Griffith fans, take a trip to Mount Airy, North Carolina, the small town where Mayberry comes to life.

For those who don’t know, Mount Airy is the hometown of Hollywood star, Andy Griffith. It is also the inspiration for the 1960’s TV town in The Andy Griffith Show.

Andy grew up in Mount Airy, living there until he left for college. (FYI…You can actually stay in his childhood home which is available for nightly rentals.)

But….is the town Mount Airy or is it really Mayberry?

Bronze of memorable show opening scene depicting Andy and Opie going fishing.
"Andy Griffith Show" Mayberry Artwork Print by James Ward

Is it Mount Airy—or is it Mayberry?

Actually, you will find a lot of both Mount Airy and Mayberry when you visit. First, the townspeople are every bit as friendly as their TV counterparts are known to be. Southern hospitality is in full force here. Be sure to listen for the sweet southern accent.

Second, Mount Airy’s tourism website is Even locals embrace the fictional TV town as their own.

Third, while Mount Airy is a functioning town, you see bits of Mayberry at every turn. The town, affectionately known as “Mayberry,” honors their hometown boy with attractions show fans love to visit.

Here are a few of the attractions we stopped to see:

Retro 60’s look inside Mayberry’s namesake, Walker’s Soda Fountain. Notice the retro soda dispensers!!

Walker's Soda Fountain

The 1st Mayberry attraction we visited was Walker’s Soda Fountain. It’s the counterpart to Walker’s Drugstore from the show.

They do serve lunch, but we skipped it and went straight for old-fashioned ice cream sundaes.

Sitting on bar stools at the counter feels a little like Opie Taylor may have felt in the show. The retro 50’s décor and music playing in the background just adds to the nostalgia.

FYI...Walker’s Drugstore was the place where Andy met Ellie who became his 1st girlfriend on the show.

Walker's entrance as seen from the street. (Our visit was during early fall, thus the door decor.)
Floyd's Barber Shop, another staple from "Mayberry," is part of Mt. Airy's business line up.

Floyd's Barber Shoppe

Another of Mount Airy’s Mayberry attractions is the 1950’s era barber shop on Main Street. It was the inspiration for Floyd’s Barber Shoppe on the show.

The shop is both a fully-functioning barber shop and tourist draw. Stop by and meet Bill, son of original owner Russell Hiatt. He’s happy to snap your photo and share a little southern hospitality.

The shop was closed when we were there but the window definitely says Mayberry.
Not an exact replica of the Darlins' 1929 Ford Model AA used on the show, but you get the idea.

Remember the Darlins'?

Straight from the hills, the Darlins brought mountain music with them whenever they came to Mayberry. Dad “Briscoe” played the jug. Sister “Charlene” sang while the four brothers played.

This fictional family only made 6-appearances on The Andy Griffith Show but they sure made an impression on the show’s fans.

FYI….two of the boys were actually in a bluegrass band called “The Dillards.” Their Andy Griffith appearances boosted the bands career.

The Darlins' Cabin (behind Wally's Service Station) lends an old mountain home feel to the area.
A large, permanent collection of memorabilia is in Mount Airy’s Andy Griffith Museum.

Andy Griffith Museum

Say thank you to Emmett Forrest, Andy Griffith’s childhood friend. He curated the treasure-trove of memorabilia found in the Andy Griffith Museum.

Inside you will find show props donated by Andy plus items donated by fellow cast members. The museum covers not only The Andy Griffith Show but also spans Andy’s entire career.

Fan favorites include costumes worn by cast on the show when portraying Otis Campbell, Charlotte Darlin’, Goober, and of course Barney Fife.

Andy Griffith show set from the "courthouse."

Mayberry Comes to Life for Fans

If you are a fan of The Andy Griffith Show, Mount Airy should be on your travel bucket list. You can tour the town in a vintage squad car, see a replica jail, and enjoy places that remind you of Mayberry.

If you aren’t familiar with the show, are a bit curious or are headed to Mount Airy, be sure to catch a few episodes before you go. You might just fall in love with Mayberry before you get to experience the real town that inspired the fictional place.

Either way, it’s a win-win visit.

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Tags: Press

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