Touring Mayberry

There is no show that better captured the optimism and simplicity of life in small-town American better than the Andy Griffith show. The show starred Andy Griffith in the role of Andy Taylor, the widowed sheriff of the fictional small community of Mayberry, North Carolina. The town was based on the real-life hometown of Andy Griffith, Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Along with Sheriff Taylor, other characters include the inept but well-meaning deputy, who is also his cousin, Barney Fife (Don Knotts); Andy's spinster aunt and housekeeper, Bee Taylor (Frances Bavier), and Andy's precocious young son, Opie (Ron Howard). The show ran from 1960-1967, won six Emmys, and was in the top 10 rated programs every year. Today the show is still popular and finding a new audience on popular channels like TV Land and on online streaming services. 

The town of Mount Airy has become a tourist attraction in and of itself, and on a recent trip to Charlotte, I decided to take a short day trip to visit the home town of America's favorite Sheriff. 
About an hour and a half north of Charlotte off I-77 you find Mount Airy a small town of about 10,000 people, and home to the Andy Griffith Playhouse and Museum. The museum is open 7 days a week, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas and is home to the largest collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia including items from his long television career, music career, and his personal life. 

Just down Main Street not far from the museum is a homage to Wally's Service Station, as well as a building that houses a replica of the famous jail cell and sheriff's office. At Wally's, you can also sign up to take a tour of the town in a vintage Squadcar like Andy drove in the show. The tour is $40 per car and can take up to 5 people. 

The tour guide will drive you around town and show you places that inspired the show, Andy's childhood home, and points of local historical interest. The best part is that once you get outside of the city limits your driver can turn the siren on. The tour lasts about 45 minutes, just plan on having your picture taken by all the tourists as you cruise down Main Street. After the tour, you can stop in at the gift shop at Wally's for a cold drink or a souvenir.  If you want more info on taking a Squad Car Tour, visit their website at

Google Map of Mount Airy
Andy Griffith Museum 
Squad Car Tours