Andy Griffith Once Described Mayberry as a Place That No Longer Exists

by Lauren Boisvert

“It had a feeling of the 30s,” said Andy Griffith in a 1996 Today Show interview. He was talking, of course, of Mayberry, North Carolina, the fictional small town that served as the setting for The Andy Griffith Show. Filmed in the 60s, it might now be described as depicting “a time gone by.” But that’s how Griffith described the show originally, depicting an even longer “time gone by.”

Mayberry was based on Griffith’s real hometown, Mount Airy, North Carolina. Mount Airy is located on the North Carolina-Virginia border, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. According to Griffith, Mayberry started as just a generic place in the South. But, as time went by, he wanted to bring more heart to the place, and started incorporating elements from his hometown and surrounding areas.

As for Mayberry being a place that no longer exists, that’s probably slightly true. After all, technology has caught up with us, views and opinions have changed, the landscape is altered every day. There’s really no place that has held onto those core values like Mayberry; there was practically no crime in Mayberry, and Andy Taylor didn’t even carry a gun. Barney, in comparison, only had one bullet in his firearm; he mostly used it to shoot himself in the foot anyway, according to Don Knotts.

But, those wholesome times in Mayberry are mostly gone. With climate change, crime rates, and infrastructure, it’s hard to keep a small town thriving. One exception stands like a beacon of hope for those who crave small-town life, though; Mount Airy.

With a population of 10,400, Mount Airy fully embraces its reputation as the real-life Mayberry. For anyone looking to recapture those times, that’s a good place to start.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Star Betty Lynn Loved Mount Airy

As we honor Betty Lynn‘s life and achievements after her recent death, it’s important to note that she loved Mount Airy, North Carolina. She adored the small town so much that she moved there in 2006.

Betty Lynn was best known for playing Barney’s girlfriend Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show. She was a frequent guest at the Mayberry Days festivals in Mount Airy. When she turned 95, the town threw her a party. She was always ready to sign autographs and talk with fans at the Andy Griffith Museum, and there was an outpouring of love from the town when she passed.

Tanya Jones, executive director of the Surry Arts Council, where Mount Airy is located in Surry County, spoke to the Mount Airy News about Betty Lynn as a resident of the town. She stated, “It was clear from our first encounter that faith, family, friends and—very, very importantly—her fans are the things that meant the most to her. Betty brought so much joy and love to so many people.”