Hometown of the famous actor Andy Griffith and the resting place of the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, Mt Airy is located in Surry County, North Carolina. In fact, it is fondly called ‘Mayberry’, since it was the inspiration for the fictional town of the same name in 'The Andy Griffith Show’, which aired in the 1960s. Today, Mt. Airy still looks as charming as Mayberry looked in this show, half a century ago.
Besides housing a number of attractions built or restored in the honor of Andy Griffith, this city offers plenty of options for eateries and outdoor entertainment. And with a population of just 10,000 people, you get enough privacy to explore the city at your own pace. If you’re wondering what you can do in Mt Airy, take a look at this list to get an idea.
1. Go on nature hikes at Pilot Mountain State Park
Pilot Mountain State Park is known for its stunning natural beauty and picturesque views of the mountains. It is very popular with outdoor enthusiasts for camping, horseback riding and canoeing. Besides this, it has some of the most beautiful nature trails, which allow you to be amidst the lush green flora of this place and at the same time get glimpses of the colorful birds that have taken sanctuary in the park. Moreover, adventure lovers can try rock climbing or rappelling, here.
Pilot Mountain State Park
Address: 1792 Pilot Knob Park Rd, Pinnacle, NC 27043
Opening hours: 7 AM - 9 PM
Website: Pilot Mountain State Park
2. Immerse yourself in the region's history at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History
If you are curious to know more about the city, then the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History definitely deserves a visit. This museum houses a vast array of collectibles, ranging from those belonging to the Saura Indians of the 17th century to those owned by Andy Griffith in the 20th century. Through its exhibits, this museum provides a great deal of information about the city’s history, as well as the people who lived here.
Mt Airy Museum of Regional History
Address: 301 N Main St, Mt Airy, NC 27030
Website: Mt Airy Museum of Regional History
3. Browse through Andy Griffith's memorabilia at the Andy Griffith Museum
Mt Airy, home of Andy Griffith, has paid homage to this wonderful actor by preserving some of the items from his life and career. This museum also houses some of the mementos from his TV shows, most of which were collected by his childhood friend, Emmett Forrest. Some were also donated by his film crew and co-actors. This museum is located close to the Andy Griffith Playhouse and his boyhood home.
Andy Griffith Museum
Address: 218 Rockford St, Mt Airy, NC 27030
Website: Andy Griffith Museum
4. Watch an event at Blackmon Amphitheater
Blackmon Amphitheater is an outdoor theater, with state of the art facilities and amenities, located in downtown Mt Airy. It is the location where the Summer Music Series by the Surry Arts Council takes place, from April to October. On nights when beach music is the theme, you can groove to the beats and enjoy Yadkin wine (mentioned below) and hot dogs, for an additional charge.
Address: 231 Spring St, Mt Airy, NC 27030
Website: Blackmon Amphitheater
5. Relax with a local vintage at any of the Yadkin Valley Wineries
Yadkin Valley is a wine hub, close to Mt Airy, comprised of more than 30 local wineries. The products here range from sweet, fruity wines to strong and slightly bitter ones. The winery tour includes a tour of the entire wine-making process and a wine tasting session. You can even buy your favorite wine, at a reasonable price, from the shop on the property.
With so many vineyards to choose from, you’ll have enough choice to experiment with different wines, each time at a new winery, during your stay in Mt Airy.
Midnight Magdalena Vineyards
Address: 5109 Howell School Rd, Jonesville, NC 28642
Website: Midnight Magdalena Vineyards
6. Opt for a squad car tour
A squad tour is a unique type of tour of Mt Airy. On this tour, you are taken around Andy Griffith’s ‘Mayberry’, in a black and white police patrol car similar to the one Barney drove on the show. During this tour, you will get to visit the iconic places from the show, such as Andy’s home, the Old Jail and others. Besides all this, you will also get to see the barbershop and the lunch home, that were featured on the show.
Squad Car Tours LLC
Address: 625 S Main St, Mt Airy, NC 27030
7. Experience jamming at the Earle Theater
If you are a fan of bluegrass and old time music, then this is the place for you. The Earle Theater holds jams every Thursday and Saturday, where you can hear local bands play these genres. This place was originally a music hall from the 1930s and was then converted to a theater. This theater is full of musical heritage and has helped to keep Surry County’s old time music alive.
Address: 142 N Main St, Mt Airy, NC 27030
8. Walk around downtown Mt Airy
If you want to get the essence of any place, the best way to do it is on foot. And if it is a city like Mt Airy, then the pleasure of exploring the city on foot doubles. Mt Airy is a city where urban living blends harmoniously with tradition. The vibrant Main Street, downtown, is lined with plenty of shops and eateries. So if you get a hunger pang while walking, just stop at one of these restaurants and try some authentic food.
Downtown Mt Airy
Address: Main Street, Mount Airy, NC 27030
9. Drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway
Sunset over rhododendron at Craggy Pinnacle by Robert Stephens, © 2017 All Rights Reserved.Posted by Blue Ridge Parkway on Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Located a couple of miles away from Mt Airy, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most frequented national parks in North America. This national park is renowned for its scenic beauty. In fact, the drive to this park is equally scenic, too.
The colorful trees that pop up from both sides of the road will leave you enchanted. Besides all this, the waterfall and lovely towns near the mountain will have you wanting to return. This park has several little attractions within it, such as the ‘Humpback Rocks’, the 'Peaks of Otter’ and more.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Address: North Carolina & Virginia, USA
Website: Blue Ridge Parkway
10. Be fascinated with North Carolina's historic Siamese Twins Exhibit
If you’re a little bit of a history buff and enjoy trivial pursuits, then a must to check off your travel bucket list when in North Carolina is the renowned Siamese Twins Exhibit. Hailed from the world-famous conjoined twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, Mount Airy established an exhibit after the pair, displaying their life in Mount Airy when then moved back in 1845 from Mekong, Siam. The exhibit outlines their early upbringing and childhood in Siam all the way to their migration to North Carolina in the years that followed. For those who are interested in seeing their graves, they are conveniently just seven minutes away by foot from the Surry Arts Council, who curated the exhibit.
Siamese Twins Exhibit
Address: 218 Rockford St, Mt Airy, NC 27030, United States
Website: Siamese Twins Exhibit
Opening hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Mondays to Fridays
Duration: Approximately 1.5 hours
Price: X USD
Contact: 336.786.7998; [email protected]
11. Get a few interesting Instagram shots of the Open Pit Granite Quarry
When in North Carolina, it’s impossible to miss the state’s pride for their official claim to fame which is plastered throughout the state; granite. History buffs and photography buffs alike can make a subtle detour to the North Carolina Granite Corporation’s quarry, just outside of town proper. See the 150-year-old quarry which was dubbed as the official state rock, but due to tighter rules and regulations, the quarry is not open to tours anymore, but there is a free designated viewing area people can visit daily just on a ridge above the excavation site. Catch a snapshot of the quarry from interesting angles and up your Instagram game with some of North Carolina’s most historic yet underrates gems.
Open Pit Granite Quarry
Address: The North Carolina, Granite Corporation, PO Box 151, Mount Airy, NC 27030
Website: Open Pit Granite Quarry
Contact: 1.800.227.6242; [email protected]
12. Learn about 1900 design at the Gertrude Smith House
One of the most fascinating design points in North Carolina can be found in the Gertrude Smith House, a local attraction to definitely check out. This scenic property was a Victorian-Colonial Revival home that was completely refurbished by Gertrude Smith, the daughter of the homeowner, Jefferson Smith Davis who died in the 20th century. Post-death, Smith came back from studies in New York as an interior decorator and designer, where she used the house as a canvas for her ideas. To date, the Gertrude Smith House has become a tourist attraction people enjoy as it boasts the lifestyles of the early 1900s that many continue to grow curious about before and even more after visiting her home.
Gertrude Smith House
Address: 708 N. Main St., Mount Airy, NC 27030
Website: Gertrude Smith House
Opening hours: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Fridays, and Saturdays
Contact: ]+1 (336) 786 6856; [email protected]
Welcome to the Granite City
Mt. Airy, with its small town feel, welcomes tourists with warmth. By now, you know that Mt Airy is much more than Andy Griffith and the Siamese twins. But, if you are still in doubt, simply book your tickets and come here to experience what this place is, for yourself. You will not regret your decision.
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