I’ve been watching The Andy Griffith Show since I was a child, and my husband, Jerry, still watches the show whenever he can find old reruns on TV. Now that we are stationed on the East Coast, we have been wanting to visit Mayberry – both Andy Griffith’s hometown and the inspiration for the show’s fictional location.
Little did I know Mayberry, NC isn’t Mayberry at all; it’s Mount Airy located just north of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We were driving from our home in Alabama back to Virginia and decided to finally make the detour up to Mayberry! Of course during all of my research I found several other things I wanted to stop and see along the way – most of which were in Winston-Salem.
ORIGINAL KRISPY KREME
Who knew Winston-Salem is where Krispy Kreme was founded? Yes, it was founded here in 1937 by Vernon Rudolf. He initially began selling the doughnuts to the local grocery stores. The taste and smell of Rudolph’s doughnuts was so good that customers started coming to his bakery, requesting to buy doughnuts right out of the oven. It was then that he cut a hole in an outside wall and began selling them to customers directly. The very first Krispy Kreme location is on South Main Street in what is now historic Old Salem – so we stopped buy to have a few and check out the place! I am sorry to say that we were very disappointed. There is nothing special about this building that will lead you to believe it was the first location. It looks like any other Krispy Kreme location in the United States. Also, the doughnuts were HORRIBLE!!!! Oh, well, checked it off the list, and here is a picture to prove I was there:
ONE SHELL OF A STOP!
My love of uniqueness knows no bounds, and when I found this novelty shell station online, I knew I had to add this to our road trip through North Carolina. There were originally eight clamshell-shaped stations built in the 1930s by Quality Oil, a Winston-Salem based distributor of Shell oil. The last remaining station is located at 1111 E Sprague St, Winston-Salem, NC. It slid into disrepair towards the end of the 20th century and I am so glad a state historic society, Preservation North Carolina, stepped in and restored the faded highway icon. Definitely worthy of a photo detour – Jackpot, right?
It was getting late and we wanted to get dinner before we left Winston-Salem and finished our journey to Mayberry. Of course I researched places to eat and found one of my favorites – Crafted! We had eaten at Crafted in Greensboro, NC years ago and LOVED IT, so when I saw they had one in Winston-Salem I knew exactly where we would have dinner! Crafted is located at 527 N Liberty St, Winston-Salem – it’s a great spot!
We parked right next to an entire ART park in which you can walk a few blocks in either direction to check out all of the wall murals! I only took a picture of one b/c Jerry was not amused:
When we got seated, I ordered the Jade IPA from the local Foothills Brewery – it was so good – Bold, citrusy Pacific Jade hops with tropical fruit notes and a hint of peppery finish.
We started with Chips and Queso – this is the best Queso you will EVER eat – it’s a MUST TRY! Jerry got two “Mercanized” Tacos – very traditional and boring. I went with the Bowtie – beer battered fish, guac spread, red cabbage, roasted corn and poblano salsa, honey mustard, chipotle aioli, crumbled quest and cilantro – very spicy; and the Baja Style – cilantro, guac spread, Baja sauce, red cabbage and pico de Gallo with chicken. If you are ever in Greensboro or Winston-Salem, you definitely want to eat at Crafted. The food here is beyond amazing. A for sure, definite, you have to go, must!
Finally on the road to Mayberry, I knew we would pass Pilot Mountain, however, this is as close as Jerry would let me get:
I definitely want to come back and explore Pilot Mountain. As you can imagine, it is known for its Big Pinnacle peak that can be seen for miles around. Pilot Mountain has been a navigational landmark for centuries, and is a recreational landmark as well, offering miles of trails, camping, climbing and spectacular scenery. Rock climbing and rappelling are allowed on portions of the park’s steep cliffs, and those cliffs offer endless views of piedmont, Sauratown Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains.
THE WORLD’S FIRST SIAMESE TWINS
Who would have ever thought the very first set of “Siamese Twins” settled near Mount Airy, NC? During my research I found the story of the Bunker twins fascinating – I cannot believe they lived full lives in spite of being conjoined. Eng and Chang Bunker spent years touring the world as a sideshow attraction before settling in Mount Airy, NC. They married sisters Adelaide and Sarah Yates and raised their families, with 22 children in all. Before you ask – yes, they had a bed made for four people and the twins slept together with their wives.
They are buried nearby at the White Plains Baptist Church.
AT LAST – MAYBERRY
We immediately made our way to Main Street to see what we could find:
Wally’s Service Station – Wally’s operated as a Gulf station for several years before it was restored and registered as an historic site. It has a shop inside with unique Mayberry gifts and souvenirs, and is home to the popular Squad Car Tours. On site is a replica of the Mayberry Courthouse and Otis’ jail cell as well as the Darling’s cabin and storefronts resembling downtown Mayberry.
The squad care was not parked outside, so we came back by the next morning on the way out of town to snap a few pictures. The gentlemen giving tours was so nice! I wish we would have had time to take a squad car tour, but we had to get on the road!
The Darlin’s Cabin – If you watched the show you would remember the Darlings Family as the ones who played blue grass music. The father, Briscoe, was widowed and had five grown children (four sons and one daughter) who all lived together. Due to their secluded lifestyle, their lack of social grace, and their superstitious beliefs, they were perceived by the people of Mayberry as being somewhat backward. Their arrival in town usually meant trouble for Sheriff Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife, despite their friendly relationship with the family. Below is a replica of their cabin:
Floyd’s City Barbershop – There’s no need to get a haircut unless you want to, but fans of the show will want to snap a photo and/or peek your head in. Just because.
The Snappy Lunch – One of the few Mount Airy businesses ever mentioned by name on The Andy Griffith Show. It was too late to go in, however my research shows that this cozy, old-fashioned diner is well worth a stop, but plan for an early lunch or snack because it closes at one o’clock and it fills up fast. If you go, try their trademark meal – the famous pork chop sandwich, I hear it’s good!
Andy Griffith’s Homeplace – Griffith lived in this two-bedroom home with his parents from the time he was six years old until he moved away for college. This house is one of the most popular photo stops in town, but big Mayberry fans can take it a step further and stay there overnight—the local Hampton Inn rents out the property for about $175-200 a night, but you’ll need to plan ahead because reservations can be hard to come by. There was someone actually staying there so I only snapped this quick photo:
Mayberry Courthouse – Whenever I have a beer or two, Jerry will jokingly call me “Otis” – referring to the “town drunk” in The Andy Griffith Show – so we definitely had to pay a visit to the Courthouse where there is a replica of Otis’ jail cell inside!
We went back the next morning on the way out of town so we could take a peek inside!
Andy Griffith and Opie – These statues were right outside the Andy Griffith Museum (which was closed, so we did not get to go inside).
If you pay a visit to Mayberry, make sure you have more time than I did so you can partake in the things I missed:
Squad Car Tours
Opie’s Candy Store
Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies – An award winning bakery – research suggested you try a Sonker (cross between a pie and cobbler), or a pie topped with glaze made of moonshine!
Old North State Winery and Brewery and White Elephant Beer Company (it was Sunday night when I arrived so these places were closed).
Hope you enjoyed my trip down Mayberry Lane!