Exploring Mount Airy and the Blue Ridge Parkway

Andy and Opie
Andy and Opie

Many of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s have fond memories of watching The Andy Griffith Show. I loved watching Andy and Opie walking down the path with their fishing poles at the beginning of each of the older episodes. It was this image that was chosen for a statue in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Mount Airy is the birthplace of Andy Griffith. A walk down Main Street is like walking through the fictional town of Mayberry. Just a few blocks from Floyd’s Barber Shop you can visit Wally’s Service Station and the Mayberry Courthouse.

After breakfast at the Snappy lunch (famous for their pork chop sandwich) we visited the Andy Griffith museum which contains exhibits from Andy’s long acting career. In addition to playing Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry, he was in several movies and later played TV’s Matlock. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2005.

After the museum we walked through an exhibit about Chang and Eng Bunker, Siamese twins who settled in the area and raised their families in the 1800’s. We couldn’t leave town without stopping at Wally’s Service Station for a look around. After driving by Andy Griffith’s home place we drove north on Highway 52 for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We turned onto the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Marker 199 in Fancy Gap, Virginia and continued going north. After stopping to take a short hike we arrived at Mabry Mill to discover that none of the facilities on the parkway are open until May 1. No worries. I was able to take pictures from the parking lot.

We spent 2 nights at the Mayberry Campground in Mount Airy. 

Days 2, 3, 4 and 5 – Rainy Days in Southwestern Virginia

Day 2, Friday May 17: We traveled 113 miles from Statesville, NC to Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin, VA. Claytor Lake is a great state park and an easy drive to our daughter’s house. Her family came to the park on Friday night for burgers, hot dogs and s’mores. We started having sprinkles in the afternoon but the weather cooperated and didn’t start raining until after dinner.

Day 3, Saturday, May 18: We watched the rain come down all day, hoping it would stop in time for our grandson’s soccer game. The game was canceled but they were still able to spend the night with us. I picked up a brick oven pizza from MK’s Gourmet Pizzeria – it was delicious! We watched DVD’s, ate pizza, and made s’mores in a drizzle. What a great night!

Day 4, Sunday, May 19: We woke up to more rain so we decided to take the kids to meet their parents in Floyd, VA. We were hoping to take a hike on the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway but again, the weather didn’t cooperate. As it turned out, I’m glad it rained. We really enjoyed the Sunday Jam Session at the Floyd Country Store.

Listening to a jam session at the Floyd Country Store is a great way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon in Southwestern Virginia. You can read about our experience on our daughter’s blog entry Indoor Appalachian entertainment at the Floyd Country Store.

Day 5, Monday, May 20: A day of housekeeping, grocery shopping, and a final visit with family. We said our goodbyes after our granddaughter’s swim team practice. We’re going to miss them!

We didn’t let a little rain spoil our fun!