Friday morning, Rob and I were up early and soon driving north on the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway. The previous year, we had stopped at the Maybry Mill restaurant and were told that coming early was advisable so we had decided this time to have breakfast there. The bulk of the building that can be seen by the public is a gift shop and visitor’s center, The seating for the restaurant runs along the back of the building in a long but relatively narrow room that overlooks the woods. We had a great breakfast. Mine included a fried slice of country ham, something I don’t indulge in often but really enjoy.
Afterward, we traveled back to the community of Mayberry as we had the previous year to visit the Mayberry Trading Post. We ended up visiting with Peggy Barkley, the proprietor, quite a bit. She was kind enough to answer questions I had about the store and its connection to Andy Griffith. She did make one comment that ensured we would have to return to the restaurant by the Maybry Mill. She told us the sweet potato pancakes were what they were known for on their breakfast menu. I had chosen the cornmeal pancakes but said her recommendation meant we had to go back again someday.
I always encourage Mayberry fans to step outside the city limits of Mount Airy when attending the festival and visit the Trading Post at least once.
Keeping with what has become our tradition, we again visited the candy factory in Meadows of Dan to pick up sweets for our sweets back home. We then drove back past Mount Airy to Winston-Salem to visit a still-new branch of the Mast General Store chain, the first of which opened in 1883. The new Winston-Salem location had opened in 2015 and has an interesting inventory of everything from clothing to penny candy.
My big find was a barbecue sauce flavored with the great Southern pop, Cheerwine. Rob bought a s’mores maker that has a basket with clamps on the end that holds the graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow all at the same time. (As we later learned when using it, the contraption makes an interesting variation on the traditional s’more as the cracker gets toasted in the process.)
We spent a good deal of the afternoon touring the newly-renovated Andy Griffith Museum. The museum is small, but they did a masterful job of utilizing the space efficiently. The renovated space had just been unveiled to the public at the end of June a few months earlier. The half-million dollar project now includes touchscreen displays and facades of Mount Airy landmarks like Snappy Lunch and of familiar sights in Mayberry, such as the courthouse doors with the original sheriff and justice of the peace signs.
That afternoon we attended the annual trivia contest. I was especially interested in attending as there was a special person I was anxious to finally meet face-to-face who I knew would be at the gathering of members of the internet chapter to be held immediately after the contest.