Famous for its history and loved for its homey feel, Mount Airy in the mountains of Surry County, North Carolina, may just steal your heart.
The downtown of actor Andy Griffith's hometown is a recreation of Mayberry, the fictional town in which "The Andy Griffith Show" was set, and walking past Floyd’s City Barber Shop and the Snappy Lunch cafe that Andy and his son Opie visit brings the TV show to life.
For those who aren't fans of "The Andy Griffith Show," there's the appeal of enjoying the old-timey atmosphere of a slower pace and simpler times. Snappy Lunch, home of the Famous Pork Chop Sandwich, used to be a post office and shoe store and features photos of the characters from the 1960s TV show.
Visitors can also take a stroll down Main Street to visit Earle Theatre, an old music hall now used to show movies and host performers. The theater is also considered a museum of musical heritage, featuring the history of local musicians.
While downtown, visitors can go to Walker’s Soda Fountain and fall in love with a snapshot of the older days, complete with ice cream, milkshakes, sandwiches and, of course, fresh foundation sodas.
Surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, there’s more to do than just eating. One popular attraction is the hiking venue Pilot Mountain State Park. It's only about a 20 minute drive, so it's a quick addition to your trip to take in a scenic view and enjoy a hike at whatever difficulty level you prefer.
Actress Betty Lynn, who played Thelma Lou on "The Andy Griffith Show", pays her respects at the Andy Griffith statue in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. Griffith, a Mt. Airy native, died Tuesday at age 86 at his home in Manteo, North Carolina. (Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer/MCT)
If you want to get a feel for the town but don't know where to start, you can try out the Mayberry Squad Car Tours. Tour guides with this local company teach visitors the history and layout of downtown Mount Airy from the inside of a classic police vehicle.
No matter where you stop on your visit to Mount Airy, you are sure to enjoy the slow pace and peaceful, old-school vibe of this small mountain town.