Mount Airy : North carolina


What It Is Like to Retire in Mount Airy

Mount Airy, located in northwest North Carolina, has a lot to attract active adults 55+. It has a vital downtown  that attracts tourists and retirees. The town has 10,100 people, but almost 40,000 people live in the immediate area. Andy Griffith, who hails from here (Mount Airy was the inspiration for Mayberry), has a theatre named after him, the Andy Griffith Playhouse, which features regular community productions. The Downtown Cinema Theatre broadcasts a weekly bluegrass radio concert. Mount Airy has much to like as a retirement community. Tourist attractions like the mountains and the Andy Griffith connection, combined with North Carolina’s moderate climate have contributed to a strong economy.  In 2013, Mount Airy was designated by the State of North Carolina as an official North Carolina Retirement Destination. On the downside the town is very touristy and totally dominated by the Andy Griffith memorabilia. Mount Airy is located in Surry County. The cities of Winston-Salem and Greensboro are nearby. Here is a guide to North Carolina retirement.

Watch this short, fun video of Mount Airy's police car presented by John Brady:

Where to Retire in Mount Airy and Home Prices

Retirees to Mount Airy can live in town or in some of the developments on the outside of town. The city was approved as a certified retirement community.

Real Estate Values
The prices for real estate will strike some northeasterners as a bargain in Mount Airy.  According to Zillow, the median home value was $151,251 in early 2022.


What Is Special about Mount Airy

Friendly small town. The pork sandwich at the Snappy Lunch. Pilot Mountain State Park. Recreational facilities now include two major parks, three minor parks, two 2.2 mile fitness greenways along side waterways (with a third connecting the first two now under development), a first class fitness and recreation center with both indoor and outdoor Olympic sized swimming pools, multiple fitness facilities. The professionally staffed Mt. Airy Parks and Recreation Department offers year around recreation and fitness programs.


What Is Not Special about Mount Airy

If it would bother you to tell your friends you live in "Mayberry", you shouldn't move here! It is a more than a bit hokey, although the residents enjoy their heritage.

Who Will Like Retirement in Mount Airy

People who enjoy being near the mountains, like small town life, and enjoy the attractions of busy tourist town with many theatres will enjoy Mount Airy. If you are used to living in affluent suburbs or a busy city this town is not for you.

Local Economy Is Driven by

Mt. Airy has economic bases in tourism and retirement.


Climate and Physical Environment

Mount Airy is located in western North Carolina and is near both the Smokies and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Due to its elevation it is considerably cooler here than in the rest of North Carolina.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The Municipal Government Campus contains the Municipal Building (City Hall), Public Library, large contemporary amphitheater, Police Station, Recreation and Fitness Center, City Green and leased to the Surry Arts Council the Andy Griffith Playhouse and the new two story Andy Griffith Museum. The Campus anchors the south end of the Historic Downtown, acting as an attractive transition between the Downtown and adjacent residential areas. The Earle Theatre broadcasts a weekly bluegrass radio concert, the Merry-Go-Round, since 1948. The Blue Ridge Music Center has an amphitheater. Mount Airy, NC also has a regional history museum, the Old Time Music Heritage Hall (located in the Earle Theater, formally the Downtown Cinema) and a modern amphitheater, all which offer a wide variety of cultural activities during the year. A wide variety of festivals (music,wine,arts and crafts, Mayberry) also contribute to the culture of Mount Airy. The nearby (10 miles) Surry Community College is recognized nationally for the quality and breadth of its offering.



Surprisingly, crime is reported to be well above average in Mount Airy.

Medical Facilities

The Northern Hospital of Surry County, more a medical center provides an extremely wide variety of medical care in conjunction with the medical and dental community in very modern facilities.



Smith Reynolds Airport is 38 miles away in Winston-Salem. Piedmont Triad International is 55 miles in Greensboro. Charlotte Douglas International airport is 104 miles away.The Surry County Scenic Bikeway and Mount Airy Loop address the needs of bicyclists.

Valuable Links

Visit Mayberry

What people are saying about Mount Airy

Mount Airy has 2 private golf courses in town, and several public courses within 20 miles of town. There are several vineyards in Surry County that produce and bottle their wine, and are available for tours and tasting. During the summer outdoor concerts are held several times during the week and weekends at the amphitheater. During the winter concerts and plays are held in the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Charges for the events are very reasonable, usually under $15. The town has many fine restaurants in and around town, and of course the normal 'chain' restaurants. Several times per year there are parades and other events in the Downtown area. The 2 largest events are 'Mayberry Days' and Autumn Leaves Festival. Both events are in the fall, and draw as many as 200,000 people to town. The Surry Art League runs the Playhouse, Downtown Theater, and Amphitheater, gives grants to various art groups and schools. These grants have helped artists display their work and have encouraged youths to develop artistic talent. Mount Airy is more than just another small town if you look beyond the Andy Griffith theme, it has many social and cultural events, many churches, and great weather.
Posted by FEweese on December 15, 2008
Re: Discuss what its like to live in Mount Airy
It's a quintessential small town in North Carolina. If that's what you are looking for - great!
Posted by David Maben on March 17, 2007

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