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Faces and Places of the South

Andy Griffith Museum

Mount Airy, North Carolina

When many people think of Andy Griffith, they recall his role as small-town sheriff Andy Taylor in the beloved family sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show.” The award-winning, eight-season show captured the hearts of viewers from its debut in 1960, following the heartwarming story of sheriff and widower Andy Taylor; his son, Opie; his bumbling deputy, Barney Fife; and other comical characters in the close-knit community of Mayberry. 

“‘The Andy Griffith Show’ was about friendship, kindness and taking care of one another,” said Abigail Linville, director of collections and exhibitions at the Surry Arts Council. “It was a simpler time and place, and that’s what made his character so endearing to people.”

Three years before the actor’s death in 2012, the Andy Griffith Museum opened in his hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina. The museum featured  memorabilia from his extensive career in film, theater and music. Many artifacts were donated by Griffith’s friends and family, among them a rocking chair made by Griffith’s father, the suit Griffith wore in “Matlock,” and the original sheriff and deputy badges from “The Andy Griffith Show.”

“Everyone puts him in the category of Andy Taylor,” said Linville. “The most common statement I hear is ‘I had no idea he did anything else. I had no idea he did ‘A Face in the Crowd,’ ‘Waitress’ and ‘No Time for Sergeants.’ I encourage people to come to the museum so they can see the type of actor he was.”

In September each year, the Surry Arts Council celebrates the legacy of the “The Andy Griffith Show” with Mayberry Days, a weeklong festival that draws thousands of fans.

Presidents’ Homes


Virginia is the birthplace of more U.S. presidents than any other state in the country, and today, groups can visit eight of their beautiful, historic homes.

Visitors could easily spend a day at George Washington’s stunning country mansion Mount Vernon, along the banks of the Potomac River. The expansive estate includes the main house, a distillery and gristmill, flower gardens and  an education center.

Charlottesville, Virginia, is known as the home of the country’s third, fourth and fifth presidents: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and James Madison. Considered one of the most brilliant politicians in American history, Jefferson spent nearly 40 years modifying the house and gardens of his hilltop home, Monticello, a project he called his “essay in architecture.” Unique features include Venetian porches with wooden blinds, an octagonal Dome Room and 13 skylights.

The Neoclassical-style plantation house Montpelier served as the home of James Madison, also known as the Father of the Constitution. In addition to touring the house, groups can wander through more than eight miles of surrounding trails. Other history buffs may want to stop by the lovely country house of Ash-Lawn Highland at the base of the Southwest Mountains, where James Monroe lived.