Along the Virginia-North Carolina border, 12 miles southeast of Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 200 via US-52, Mount Airy (pop. 10,388) was the boyhood home of Andy Griffith, who based much of his long-running TV show The Andy Griffith Show and the spin-off sitcom Mayberry RFD on the region. If you have fond memories of Opie, Andy, Barney, and Aunt Bee, you’ll definitely want to visit Mount Airy, which has effectively recreated itself in the image of the show. Take a Mayberry Squad Car Tour (336/789-6743) and let a wannabe Barney show you the sights. Eat an ever-tender pork-chop sandwich, raved about by Gourmet magazine and Oprah, at the popular Snappy Lunch (125 N. Main St., 336/786-4931, closed Sun.) in the compact downtown business district. And don’t neglect to admire the “Wall of Fame” comprising thousands of pictures of visitors at Floyd’s Barber Shop, next door. Stay the night at the comfortable, clean, and inexpensive Mayberry Motor Inn (501 Andy Griffith Parkway/US-52, 336/786-4109, $80 and up) across the highway—just look for the black-and-white Mayberry sheriff’s car parked out front.
The Mayberry mania reaches a peak during Mayberry Days in late September; details on this (and anything to do with Andy Griffith) can be found at the Mount Airy visitors center (800/948-0949)