I grew up watching the Andy Griffith Show and reflect, with fondness, on the simpler innocence of the era. Of course, when it became possible to consider lodging in Andy’s real-life hometown of Mt. Airy, NC, nostalgia set in and it had to be satisfied. Some pre-travel Googling led me to the website for Mayberry Motor Inn and, I’m glad my son and I chose to stay there rather than one of the major hotel chains in the area.
The Mayberry Motor Inn is a fairly typical 60’s era motel. It’s in very good condition for a motel that is more than half a century old. Everything about the motel reminds one of a bygone era of when times were simpler. The lobby is small, with all sorts of Andy Griffith show memorabilia. The motel staff was welcoming and conversation with them left me feeling like I was chatting with old friends.
Of course, in keeping with the Mayberry theme, you’ll find a replica of Barney Fife’s police car and Emmett’s repair truck sitting just outside the motel lobby. There is also a room you can peer into which is dedicated to Aunt Bea; it features a large collection of memorabilia from her actual estate.
Prior to checking in, I asked to see a room. The clerk gave me a key and pointed me in the direction of the room. Yes, it was a REAL key (not a card), with one of those fobs that states you can put it in any mailbox to return it — I doubt that actually works anymore, but if you’re over 50 you know what I’m talking about.
The room itself was simple and clean, with a slightly musty, though not intolerable smell that should probably be expected in an older motel. Turning on the air conditioning took care of nearly all the smell while my son and I went to dinner. There was no coffee maker, no ironing board, no iron; just like in the old days, before the public came to expect those things in lodging. The only things that might be considered out-of-place for a motel this age was a large screen TV with enough channels to make my son happy, a microwave, and refrigerator; all in very good condition. The bathroom was small, compared to most motels, but I’m not a toilet reader anyhow, so space in a bathroom isn’t critical. The beds were some of the best I have slept on in a long time and the linens were clean. There was a Gideon Bible on the room’s one round table and an envelope to leave a tip for the two ladies who take care of the rooms. Of course, knowing the care that likely goes into keeping the place as nice as it is, I was more than happy to express my appreciation by leaving a tip.
The continental breakfast was simple yet charming. You go to the motel lobby, retrieve your coffee, juice, pastry or fruit and sit in one of the 2 or 3 chairs on the sidewalk just outside the office or return to your room. This, too, reminded me of travel with my family when I was young and my father would get his morning coffee at the motel lobby.
The Mayberry Motor Inn was not particularly busy when we were there on a Tuesday evening; only a half-dozen rooms actually appeared to be occupied. However, it was a place I would stay again even if it were crowded.
If you are looking for major hotel chain comforts after a long day of travel, this may not be the place for you. However, if you are looking for a place that is relaxing and not the “same old same old” of most chains, I recommend checking out the Mayberry Motor Inn.