If you shrunk Asheville, you’d get something like Mount Airy, a tiny town of 10,000 surrounded by state parks and home to a growing dining scene.
Or at least that’s what Thirsty Souls Brewing co-owner Maria Kriska calls the town 100 miles north of Charlotte: “mini Asheville.”
The big picture: Life here revolves around Main Street and Andy Griffith, the actor and Mount Airy native famous for his namesake show set in Mayberry, a fictional town based on — you guessed it — Mount Airy.
What’s new: Despite the town’s decades-old roots, there’s a lot of new blossoming along Main.
- A new cocktail bar from the owners of the local Tex-Mex restaurant, Mi Casa, will open on the same street as the town’s two breweries.
- The popular thrift store, Groovy Goose, just moved to a new space.
- And Maria and her husband and brewery co-owner Yon Kriska will open two Airbnbs above the brewery this year.
Here’s how to spend the perfect weekend in Mount Airy.
FOOD + DRINK
Keepsmiling A’Latte: Try not to smile at this teeny and friendly coffee shop while you sip a “Joe’s Joe,” a cinnamon and mocha latte. 162-A W. Pine St.
Snappy Lunch: Order the pork chop sandwich at this downtown landmark, made famous in part by its mention on The Andy Griffith Show. 125 N. Main St.
Walker’s Soda Fountain: Travel back in time and order an old-school milkshake from this nearly 100-year-old gem. 175 N. Main St.
Thirsty Souls: Mount Airy’s first brewery, Thirsty Souls is full of natural light and greenery. The Kriska family offers pizza, craft beer, and a build-your-own spiked seltzer station in a cozy, industrial setting. 238 Market St.
- Across the street, you’ll find the town’s other brewery, White Elephant Beer Co., making this one of the easiest and tastiest beer crawls in North Carolina.
Old North State Winery: The spot for a nice dinner. The restaurant also has a tasting bar for wine and a chef’s table experience. 308 N. Main St.
Mi Casa: Try the margarita flight before or after dinner, and say hello to Tyler behind the bar. 243 N. Main St.
Find a funky sweater at Groovy Goose. This local favorite for thrift finds just relocated to a larger space just outside downtown. 527 W. Lebanon St.
Go for a hike. Mount Airy is surrounded by three excellent state parks with bountiful hikes to choose from.
- The closest — and shortest to hike — is Pilot Mountain.
- Further out, you’ll find Hanging Rock and Stone Mountain. All are within 45 minutes from downtown.
Detour to local wine. After a hike, stop by a vineyard in the outskirts of Mount Airy.
Stock up on sweets at Opie’s Candy Shop. Pick up old-school candy at this classic candy shop on Main Street.
Enjoy local murals, starting with the one of Melva Houston, painted on the exterior wall of Thirsty Souls in the appropriately named Melva’s Alley.