Destination: Mount Airy, NC
Best known as the real-life Mayberry, there’s more to this picturesque mountain town than just Andy Griffith history
The Real mayberry
Produced and directed by Mount Airy native, Bill Hayes, The Real Mayberry explores the challenges of small town America and provides a fresh and optimistic perspective of Andy Griffith's hometown.
Nestled along the banks of the Ararat River, this small North Carolina town may be best known as the inspiration behind Andy Griffith’s fictional Mayberry, but it’s also home to real people, real businesses and real community. Recently, it’s become the subject of a documentary called The Real Mayberry that examines how a small town steeped in history can survive without losing its soul. Read on to meet a few of the stars of the film and learn what makes Mount Airy so much more than just Mayberry.
The Rock Stacker
“In every small town there is someone that everybody has met or seen and that they say hello to, and in Mt. Airy, that person is Raymond,” says former Mount Airy Mayor Deborah Cochran.
“Stone stacking is a way of benediction for the community because I love people and I want them to appreciate the joys of this Earth and creation of God,” says Raymond Goehrig, who spends a good chunk of his time stacking rocks in the Ararat River near downtown Mount Airy. Watch this video to meet the man behind the stacks.
Every June, fans and musicians come together for two days of competition, jam sessions, dancing, singing and entertainment at the Mount Airy Bluegrass and Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention. Dedicated to old-time and bluegrass music, it’s a uniquely North Carolina experience not to be missed.Get a sneak peek of the Mount Airy Bluegrass and Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention — watch the video here.
The American Manufacturer
While much of America’s manufacturing operations have moved overseas, Farm to Feet’s parent company Nester Hosiery has committed to keeping their business in Mount Airy and to use only American-made products. More than 20 years after they launched, they’re not simply surviving — they’re thriving.
“Nester was founded back in 1993, and in 1995 is when about half of the hosiery mills went bankrupt. But we were so small that we were able to just take on challenges one by one and we made a commitment that we were going to manufacture here in the U.S. — whatever it took,” says Kelly Nester, president and CEO.
Learn how Nester Hosiery was able overcome these challenges and become a vital part of Mount Airy’s economy.
explore mount airy, nc
This small North Carolina town is the perfect jumping off point for a weekend spent exploring the nearby rivers, mountains, restaurants and wineries. Here’s what to do in Mount Airy, North Carolina.
The Real Mayberry: Native son Andy Griffith drew inspiration for picture-perfect Mayberry from his hometown — there are more than 35 references to real Mount Airy people, places and things in the show. Tour the Andy Griffith Museum for an overview, then explore the other Mayberry attractions, like Andy’s homeplace and Floyd’s Barber Shop.
Yadkin Valley: Emerging as the “Napa Valley of the east,” the wine industry around Mount Airy has boomed in recent years, and is now home to 35 different wineries. A wine tour is the easiest way to experience the best the valley has to offer.
Pilot Mountain State Park: Pilot Mountain State Park is 3,703 acres of wilderness, perfect for sightseers, hikers and campers alike. The most popular trail is the Jomeokee Trail, an easy hike that circumnavigates the big pinnacle of Pilot Mountain.
Explore the Ararat River: Whether you’re heading out to cast a line or paddling a kayak, the Ararat is home to some of the best river views in the region. Thanks to a recent million-dollar restoration project, a two-mile section of the river was designated as a delayed-harvest stream and fishing is allowed during designated seasons.