Motor Man and I were in Martinsville, VA this weekend for a Late Model race.
Yesterday morning, at the hotel, Motor Man chatted with a couple who had been to Mt. Airy, NC on Saturday for the Mayberry Festival.
(For those of you who may not be familiar with Mt. Airy, it’s the hometown of Andy Griffith. The town of Mayberry in the Andy Griffith show, was based on Mt. Airy.)
Since we had a few hours before Sunday’s race, we checked online to see how far Mt Airy is from Martinsville (approximately 50 miles), and off we went.
We stumbled upon “Wally’s Service Station”…
..and learned that we could take a tour of the town IN the squad car!
Our tour guide was a friendly gentleman named Lee, who was very knowledgeable about Mt. Airy, as well as the Andy Griffith show. As we drove down Main Street, and tourists waved and took pictures of us in the squad car, Lee would blow the siren and call out the window: “citizen’s arr-rest!”.
He drove us by Andy’s childhood home, which Andy’s family purchased in 1935 for $600. Supposedly, Andy’s dad, a carpenter by trade, was terrified at signing his name to go in debt for that amount of money.
The home is now owned by Hampton Inn, sleeps five, and is available for nightly rentals. (Including taxes, the cost is about $200 per night, so three nights would have paid off the Griffith’s 1935 mortgage.)
Following the tour, Lee encouraged us to visit the replica of the Mayberry courthouse, located next door to the filling station. He said he had let Otis out of jail earlier in the morning.
Then, Motor Man and I “tried out” Otis’s jail cell. Yes, the first thing I looked for when we walked in the courthouse was the set of keys hanging within easy reach of the cell.
There are many little shops and restaurants in downtown Mt. Airy, most with names referring to Mayberry residents. A few were open yesterday, but we needed to return to Martinsville for the race. We’re hoping to make another trip soon when we’ll have more time to explore
Mayberry Mt. Airy.
And, next time, we’ll try to avoid “jail time”.