Keith in Mayberry

Road trips are fun, especially when you have no plan in place and just drive, drive, and drive until you can’t no more — kind of like “Old Town Road.”

Rhonda and I did that a few years ago when we decided to visit Mount Airy, North Carolina, the home base of the Andy Griffith Show.

I’m a big — make that huge — fan of the “Andy Griffith Show.” I still watch re-runs each weeknight on ME TV. Thank goodness for stations like ME TV and TV Land that keep the old shows on the air. Our local stations also keep the Andy Griffith Show in circulation so they don’t become a distant memory. It’s hard to forget about Andy and Barney Fife once you watch them. I’ve watched them since I was a child and still get a kick out of the show.

More than 50 years since the last episode ended, the show remains a favorite to all generations and has proven to be one of the most watched shows of all-time. When the show ended in 1968, it went off the air as the top-rated show in the nation and we all know the reason why the show was a success then and remains a hit even to this day.

One of my favorite episodes is the “Convicts at Large” where three female convicts held them hostage in a cabin. Also atop the list are the “Pickle Story” and the “Christmas Story.” Episoides featuring the “Darlings” are favorites of mine too. Who can forget “Barney’s First Car” and the “Mountain Wedding.”

I could go on and on with memorable episodes.

We spent one day in “Mayberry” and relived the past, strolling down Main Street and grabbing dinner at Snappy Lunch. The fried pork chop sandwich was delicious.

We toured the Andy Griffith Museum and Andy Griffith Playhouse. The Mayberry replica courthouse was a treat and we drove by Griffith’s childhood home, located at 711 East Haymore Street in Mount Airy. The courthouse is adjacent to Wally’s Service Station. I sat behind Andy’s desk, typed on a vintage typewriter, of course, and also did my first time behind a jail cell, which, was just for fun. The courthouse setting provided perfect photo opportunities.

I also sat in a police squad car, which was a real treat, although the Barney impersonator was off the day we visited town.

The residence where Griffith grew up now serves as a Bed and Breakfast for guests and still looks simple and inviting.

When we visited Mayberry seven years ago, a few weeks before Griffith’s death, the late Russell Hiatt, owner of Floyd’s Barber Shop, cut my hair and chopped it pretty good. I didn’t care, though. The fact that Mr. Hiatt trimmed my hair was a real treat and a memory that will last a lifetime.

Also located in Mount Airy is the historic Earle Theatre.

We then took a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania and took I some “Amish” cooking in Pennsylvania. It was a simple stroll down memory lane and one that I will never forget.

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