Audrey writes of high quality foods, local diners, mom-and-pop places, and authentic tastes in the foothills of North Carolina.
Mount Airy AKA Andy Griffith's Mayberry
Mount Airy is a charming town in the North Carolina foothills with many things to do. Many people visit because they love The Andy Griffith Show, and Mount Airy, or Mayberry, is the town that the show is based on.
Still, others may take a quick southward route from Virginia while traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway to visit the vibrant and historic Downtown area. Below is a list of things to do in and around Mount Airy.
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Things to Do in the Historic Downtown Area
- Walk Around Historic Downtown Mt. Airy: The buildings, plants, and scenery are beautiful to see. I recommend taking a stroll up and down Main Street and Market Street just to take it all in.
- Shopping on Main Street: There are many places to shop on Main Street and Market Streets. There are clothing boutiques like the Rustic Tribe, farmhouse home decor shops, primitives shops, and antique malls. Bear Creek Gifts is a favorite for souvenirs and fudge.
- The Earle Theatre: Check out the Earle Theatre at 4 pm or 7 pm for a $7.00 movie. You can sit in the historic balcony or on the lower level. Snacks are available for purchase. On Saturdays, a local radio show broadcasts from the Earle, featuring bluegrass music. You can see a mini-museum exhibit about bluegrass and mountain folk music in the lobby outside the restrooms.
- Old North State Vineyard: Schedule a wine tasting at Old North State on Main Street. This is also where you can buy local brand Fish Hippie clothing and eat a scrumptious dinner prepared by a talented chef.
- William Alfred Moore House: This antebellum home is available for tour or hosting of parties. It has a rich history and is full of fascinating antique furniture. Some other old homes, like the Gertrude Smith House, are also open to visitors if pre-planned. Sometimes, I like to just stroll around the historic quarter and gaze at the romantic, large, classic homes and imagine times gone by.
- Mount Airy Museum of Regional History: Learn about Mount Airy, Surry County, and The Andy Griffith Show by visiting this local museum located on Main Street. There is a children's playroom upstairs with giant Lincoln logs, dress-up attire, and other fun toys. There is also a primitive cabin display with items that our ancestors may have used during the 1800s.
- Dining and Coffee Downtown: Leon's offers breakfast and lunch in a diner-style atmosphere, complete with barstools and 1950s wallpaper. Old North State is a splurge dinner spot, and Pages and Charis offer coffee and sweets. Miss Angel's Heavenly Pies serves way more than pie; they always have a splendid array of muffins, cakes, pies, ice cream, cookies, and more. You can also score some international cuisine, such as sushi at Kazoku or tacos at Mi Casa on Main. Finally, if you want to live the full tourist experience, you will have to visit Snappy Lunch, a 100-year-old breakfast and lunch spot that is famous from The Andy Griffith Show. Be sure to try the famous Pork Chop Sandwich.
- Bar Hopping on Market Street: If you're into a more laid-back bar atmosphere, definitely visit White Elephant Beer Co. on Market Street, and then order a homemade pizza at Thirsty Souls Community Brewing, and try one of their house-brewed IPAs. The latter is one of my favorite spots in the whole city.
- Tours and Different Types of Fun and Games: Schedule a Mayberry Ghost Tour, an after-hours tour telling all the secrets of Mount Airy. Alternatively, you may try your hand at the Mayberry Escape room or visit the Arcade at Paradise Games. You can also take a tour in Barney Fife's Police Cruiser through Squad Car Tours, LLC. Still another mode of touring the town is on Good Time Trolley Tours, which lasts 90 minutes in the open air, and tells you all kinds of facts about the lovely town.
- Attend Autumn Leaves Festival or Mayberry Days: Autumn Leaves Festival is a vendor event on Main Street in Mount Airy that is held every October just as the leaves are starting to turn, as the name indicates. Here you can eat delicious food truck food and buy all kinds of crafts and artisan items. During Mayberry Days, the focus is definitely more on The Andy Griffith Show, but there are still vendors and food trucks. Mayberry Days is held the third week of September but definitely double-check specific dates online.
- Wally’s Service Station: A short stroll down Main Street will take you to Wally’s service station where you can get some great photo ops as well as purchase souvenirs, gifts, and candy. The station has old gas pumps and classic early 20th-century memorabilia.
Things to Do Outside of Downtown
- Bowling: You can go bowling at the Mount Airy Bowling lanes. With many five-star reviews, this is a place for fun for the whole family.
- The Granite City Greenway: The Greenway is a six and half-mile walking and bike riding track in the heart of Mount Airy that features canoeing, fishing, picnic areas, and restrooms. It is open from sunup to sundown all year long. Visit the Greenway Outdoor Center for bike, fishing gear, or paddleboard rentals. You can also have a cold beer at the Whistling Duck Bar, which is part of the Greenway Center.
- Mayberry Mall: On a rainy day, visit the small and recently renovated Mayberry Mall. There are several department stores, a Hobby Lobby, food stalls, and clothing and gift options.
- Drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway: Take a short trip north past Low Gap, NC, and into Virginia. There you can join the Blue Ridge Parkway and visit the Blue Ridge Music Center. Be sure to check beforehand when they will have musical artists performing. The Parkway's views are especially beautiful in fall when the leaves take on gorgeous coloring and the air is fresh.
- Indulge in Self-Care: There are plenty of places to get a massage, acupuncture, facials, and manicures. Some of our favorites are Soft Touch Skin Care and Spay Tanning on Franklin Street for massage, facials, and tanning, and G Nails salon and spa for manicures and pedicures.
- Play Putt-Putt, Golf, or Frisbee Golf: You can play 36-hole putt-putt at Hardy's Custom Golf, as well as use their driving range. The Golf Course is located at Mount Airy Country Club, and Frisbee Golf can be played at Westwood Park in Mount Airy, or at Nelson Acres Park in nearby Pilot Mountain, just a fifteen-minute drive away.
- Ride Go-Karts: Go-kart riding is available at Mayberry Shazzam in nearby Pilot Mountain.
- Play in The Splash Pad: The Splash Pad in nearby Dobson, NC is an outdoor sprinkler park for children with permanent sprinkler fixtures inside a fence. It is free to visit and is located at Dobson Square Park. In the winter months, Ice Skating is offered at the same park instead of the water fun.
What Do You Think?
Have something to add to the list? Let me know and I will gladly do so. Mount Airy has many things to keep tourists entertained, and hopefully, this list will keep you busy.
© 2021 Audrey Lancho