The people of Surry County have a long history of craft and creativity. This region features a beautiful, transitional landscape. A long-standing textile tradition is now joined by wineries dotting the fertile foothills as the land rises toward the Blue Ridge Mountains. Natural and creative inspiration also solidified Surry County as a cradle of old-time music. Gifted musicians like Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, Oscar Jenkins, and numerous others helped to define the special “Round Peak” sound still influencing pickers around the world. Visitors will find the textile and musical heritage both alive and well, along with opportunities to explore the beauty and recreation of the natural landscape as well as the fruits of the fields at a bounty of wineries and breweries.
Mount Airy is nicknamed “The Granite City” in part because it’s home to the largest open-face granite quarry in the world. The geology of the area also gives rise to one of the most distinct natural features in North Carolina, Pilot Mountain. You can learn more about the area at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History. Mount Airy maintains international relevance as the birthplace and boyhood home of Andy Griffith. His television show about small town life is still enjoyed today! Get a true feel of “Mayberry” by visiting some of these sites:
- Floyd’s Barber Shop
- Mayberry Replica Courthouse
- TV Land Statue (great for photos!)
- Mayberry Days
Surry Arts Council (218 Rockford St.) is a center for art, history, and music. There you will find the Andy Griffith Museum, the Siamese Twin Exhibit, and the Surry County Basket Makers. The Surry Arts Council also offers a wide range of programming at its multiple venues. Across the street is the Blackmon Amphitheater and artist studios, and just around the corner is the Earle Theatre and Old-Time Music Heritage Hall.
Rivers flowing through this region led to the development of a thriving textile industry, particularly the Chatham Manufacturing Company. The Yadkin River Paddle Trail even passes through historic downtown! If you love to hike, check out the NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail section running through Elkin.
Foothills Arts Center (321 E. Main St.) has continued the crafting heritage of Elkin by transforming an old mill building into a space that functions as a school of traditional craft, a center for the visual and performing arts, and studio space for artists. You can even learn to make a violin!
Yadkin Valley Fiber Center (321 E. Main St, Elkin), a part of Foothills Arts Center, exists as a space of learning and creativity dedicated to celebrating fiber arts. The center’s primary focus is weaving. Visitors can see numerous styles of looms and learn about the weaving process – including the many stages of dyeing yarn and fabric.
Yadkin Valley Quilts (235 E. Main St., Elkin) provides welcoming space for creating. While Andrae and Tim DeHaan offer a full range of quilting supplies, they insist that Yadkin Valley Quilts is a studio, not just a shop. Quilters of all levels will find something inspiring.
The November Room (206 E. Main St.) is a collective of local artists and boutique owners. This emporium-style space curates relationships with each local vendor and artist and features clothing, pottery, woodwork, food stuffs, and much more, including house blends of tea and honey as well as their own line of body care products. There are even art classes for children and adults.
The John Furches Gallery (123 W. Main St.) highlights the work of John and Shirley Furches. John’s career started with a focus in watercolor then transitioned into etching and printmaking. His work has further evolved into knife making. Shirley makes jewelry and runs the framing operation. The two of them together create one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture.
About 2.5 hours northeast of Asheville, NC, Surry County is accessible via travel along Interstate 40 East to Interstate 77 North. Visitors with a little more time to spare can drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and exit to continue toward Surry County. Winston Salem, NC is less than 45 minutes away, and the Virginia state line is only a short drive.
Not to Miss:
Mount Airy Museum of Regional History: matilto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Good Time Trolley Tours: https://www.visitmayberry.com/attractions/good-time-trolley-tours/?category=mayberry
Snappy Lunch: http://thesnappylunch.com/
Wally’s Service Station: http://www.wallysinmayberry.com/
The Mount Airy Bluegrass & Old-Time Fiddlers Convention takes place during the first weekend in June. Established in 1972, this family-friendly event brings together musicians and fans for two full days of competition, jam sessions, dancing, singing, education, and family entertainment. The Fiddlers Convention features solo and band competitions whose winners are awarded cash prizes. https://www.surryarts.org/mafiddlersconvention/index.html
If you want to learn more about the traditional Bluegrass & Old-Time music of the region, visit the Blue Ridge Music Trails of NC website. You will find events, venues where you can hear the music, learn about traditional artists, and listen to wonderful podcasts. Check it out! https://www.blueridgemusicnc.com/
Great Brews & Winning Wines!
With the number of breweries increasing, and with over 20 wineries in the Yadkin/Surry County region, there are SO many options to enjoy:
Skull Camp Brewing
Angry Troll Brewing
The Wine Lodge at Stony Knoll Vineyards
Pilot Mountain State Park
Elkin & Alleghany Rail Trail
Granite City Greenway