A Perfect Day: A Visit to Mayberry and RagApple Lassie

The Beloved planned a Day Trip for us last Saturday.  Last time we went, I took him to the beach, rememberAnd I drove the whole way.  Because it was His Day.  Since Saturday was My Day, he drove all the way.  That was the First Treat.  Here are some pictures from The Drive.LD trip driving1

LD trip driving2

LD trip driving4

Bucolic, n'est-ce pas?

Bucolic, n’est-ce pas?

We ended up driving to Mt. Airy, NC.  We thought it was Closer than it was, but it was 4 hours away.  Of course, we were Avoiding interstates so we could actually see some cool stuff along the way, but still.  Four hours is A Very Lot.

Mt. Airy is the home of Andy Griffith, one of our national treasures.  For those of you who might not be familiar with Andy Griffith, he has been acting for probably well over fifty years.  Arguably, his most notable role was as Small Town Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show.  And how to describe this show for the Uninitiated?  Kind of an idealized but very skewed snapshot of small town life in the US of the 1960s.  249 snapshots, to be precise.  What we didn’t see was The Civil Rights movement, the Peace Movement, Viet Nam protests or Anyone Being Assassinated.  What we did see was humor, the bonds of family and friendship, and wisdom wrapped in an Aw Shucks naivete.  If you’re not familiar, or even if you are, take a look:
One of my favorite Barney Fife monologues–it doesn’t get much better than, “Men, here at The Rock…”


Busy businessman from Charlotte (yay!) learns to slow down

See?  Anyway, Mayberry was modeled after Mt. Airy.  Here’s what Mt. Airy looks like today.  If you’d like to listen to the Andy Griffith Show theme song, and I can’t imagine that you Don’t, click here.  It will open in a new window, because I am a Helper:

Note "Mayberry Consignment."

Note the attractive hanging baskets.

Schema for Small Southern Town.

Schema for Small Southern Town.

So, did The Beloved just throw a dart at the map of NC and head out for Mt. Airy?  Did he take me there because I am such an Avid Fan of the Andy Griffith Show?  No and no.  We made a pilgrimage to Mt. Airy to eat a world famous pork chop sammich at Snappy Lunch.  We heard about this sammich several years ago–maybe on The Food Network, or maybe in an article by Jane and Michael Stern.  Maybe both.  We’ve been dreaming about this sammich for at least ten years, and we finally had one.  I’m not sure about you guys, but when I’ve been anticipating something that I’ve read about or seen on TV and then I finally get to experience it For Real, I get very emotional.  So there we were, in line outside of Snappy Lunch, and I was all Welled Up.  I welled up again when I saw the menu, and then again when the sammich came.  I am a Weller and a Sap, I admit it freely.  Please, enjoy this Photo Montage of our visit to Snappy Lunch.

The joy.  The joy!

The joy. The joy!

SL is open from 5:45am-1:15pm.  If you're late, you're out of luck.

SL is open from 5:45am-1:15pm. If you’re late, you’re out of luck.

The Beloved checking out Snappy Lunch's Wall o' Fame.  We didn't recognize anyone except Donna Fargo.  She sang "The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA."

The Beloved checking out Snappy Lunch’s Wall o’ Fame. We didn’t recognize anyone except Donna Fargo. She sang “The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA.”

The front counter

The front counter

The view from out table in the back room.

The view from our table in the back room.

Four bucks for a pork chop sandwich, and I didn't have to eat the rest of the day.

Four bucks for a pork chop sandwich, and I didn’t have to eat the rest of the day.

Nothing fancy about the trappings at Snappy Lunch.

Nothing fancy about the trappings at Snappy Lunch.

I thought it would be deep fried, but it was batter-dipped and then pan fried.  I had mine with chili, mustard and onions.

I thought it would be deep fried, but it was batter-dipped and then pan fried. I had mine with chili, mustard and onions.

See?  Here are my "fixin's."  The chili was very sweet--kind of like baked beans.  Unexpected, but nice with the pork.

See? Here are my “fixin’s.” The chili was very sweet–kind of like baked beans. Unexpected, but nice with the pork.

They have a crazy machine at Snappy Lunch that tenderizes the meat.  It's called the Tenderator.  Seriously.  It cuts wee parallel slits in both sides of the pork.  See!

They have a crazy machine at Snappy Lunch that tenderizes the meat. It’s called the Tenderator. Seriously. It cuts wee parallel slits in both sides of the pork. See!

Very, very, very tasty, but it needed a little something...

Very, very, very tasty, but it needed a little something…

Okay, I felt like the sammich needed some crunch and tang, so it was Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips to the rescue.  Nice!

Okay, I felt like the sammich needed some crunch and tang, so it was Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips to the rescue. Nice!

There we go!

There we go!

The Beloved was Quite Pleased with his sammich even without the chips.

The Beloved was Quite Pleased with his sammich even without the chips.

After the excitement of the pork chop sandwich, it was time to go to a local winery.  The majority of wineries in North Carolina make muscadine wine.  It is, shall we say, an acquired taste.  We are working on acquiring the taste, but we’re not quite there.  Yet.  In the Yadkin Valley and in the Appalachians, there are a few wineries that make wines from Vinifera grapes.  So, we went to one.  I got to pick it, so of course I picked the one with the most Whacked Out Name:  RagApple Lassie Vineyards.  Apparently, RagApple Lassie was the NC State Grand Champion bovine one year back when all they had was black and white film.  Here’s a picture of RagApple Lassie the second.

See:  it's RALII.  And her trainer, young Jim.  Okay, I made that part up.

See: it’s RALII. And her trainer, young Jim. Okay, I made that part up.

These guys have 30 acres under cultivation, and they must grow about ten different varieties of grapes.  While we found their drier wines to be a little on the petroleum-y side, their off-dry and sweeter wines, of which we are usually Not Fans, were quite good.  We got to taste about fifteen wines for twelve dollars, plus we got to keep the glass.  And here’s a Very Cool Thing they did.  They had unfermented grape juice for us to taste:  pinot gris and chardonnay.  I can’t tell you how many wine tastings and winery tours we’ve been on, and nobody has ever let us taste the “raw” juice.  Very, very cool.  Neither were what we expected.  The pinot gris tasted much like pear nectar, and the chardonnay was a bit brighter and more complex with a bit of a citrus note at the end.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the vineyards.

Seriously, how can you say no to a place that has this lady in the front yard?

Seriously, how can you say no to a place that has this lady in the front yard?

And here she is up close.  She's on springs, too, so she bobs when the wind blows.  Yay.

And here she is up close. She’s on springs, too, so she bobs when the wind blows. Yay.

Cases and cases of wine.  Call me crazy, but I detected a distinct Dairy Theme.

Cases and cases of wine. Call me crazy, but I detected a distinct Dairy Theme.

Not only did the original RagApple Lassie the cow win an award, but their wines win a lot, too.

Not only did the original RagApple Lassie the cow win an award, but their wines win a lot, too.

RAL was selling four-packs of pints of wine while we were there.  The story is that they were supposed to have gotten in a shipment of skinny bottles for their sweet dessert wine (think a less syrupy eiswein).  They opened the boxes and realized that the bottle folks had sent the wrong bottles.  Oops.  One by one, everyone looked in the boxes and said, “Oh my God, there are the wrong bottles.”  Rather than sending them back or recycling them, they came up with a new, one-time-only, red blend and called it “Oh My God.”  We bought a four pack, both because it was tasty and because the story is priceless.

Is it wine?  Is it beer?  It's Oh, my God!

Is it wine? Is it beer? It’s Oh, my God!

Gotta love a winery with a sense of humor!

Gotta love a winery with a sense of humor!

So, that’s pretty much it for our trip–we had a wonderful time.  The weather was perfect, and The Beloved and I like hanging out and driving around, so it was a Great Day.  Here are some more pictures that I took because the subjects Amused Me.  Enjoy!

I've never heard of this grocery store.  I'm sure it's lovely.

I’ve never heard of this grocery store. I’m sure it’s lovely.

Okay, maybe a cemetary isn't so much amusing, but we saw a Very Lot of cemetaries.  This one is representative of the rest.

Okay, maybe a cemetery isn’t so much amusing, but we saw a Very Lot of cemeteries. This one is representative of the rest.

This is blurry a little, so let me narrate.  That cross over on the right side says "Jesus Christ."  That thing in the middle is a decal of a machine gun.  WWJD?

This is blurry a little, so let me narrate. That cross over on the right side says “Jesus Christ.” That thing in the middle is a decal of a machine gun. WWJD?

A prize for anyone who can tell me what vacuums have to do with gold.  Or vice versa.

A prize for anyone who can tell me what vacuums have to do with gold. Or vice versa.

Awesome.

Awesome.

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Comments

  1. fred says

    Wow, looks like you had a fun trip. Food did not look that healthy so I guess you two had to walk the cats a few more laps when you got home.

  2. says

    On Muscadine:

    Bring out the Old Chyne, the Cold Chyne to me,
    And how Ile charge him come and see,
    Brawn tusked, Brawn well sowst and fine,
    With a precious cup of Muscadine:

    How shall I sing, how shall I look,
    In honour of the Master-Cook?

    The Pig shall turn round and answer me,
    Canst thou spare me a shoulder? a wy, a wy.p. 108
    The Duck, Goose, and Capon, good fellows all three
    Shall dance thee an antick, so shall the Turkey:
    But O! the Cold Chyne, the Cold Chyne for me:

    How shall I sing, how shall I look,
    In honour of the Master-Cook?

    With brewis Ile noynt thee from head to th’ heel,
    Shal make thee run nimbler than the new oyld wheel;
    With Pye-crust wee’l make thee
    The eighth wise man to be;
    But O! the Old Chyne, the Cold Chyne for me:

    How shall I sing, how shall I look,
    In honour of the Master-Cook?

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/ring/two/two13.htm

  3. says

    –Thanks for that, Dr. J I guess it’s pork, turducken and muscadine wine for the next theme party!

    I’ll FLY OVER if you do that and I get to sing The Song. It’s from *The Worm Ouroboros*, by E. R. Eddison.

  4. says

    Hi,

    I enjoyed reading about your and your Beloved’s trip to Mt. Airy…Old memories from my NC youth and before the Andy Griffith show became the “TV hit-show” and his movies (as an example; “No Time for Sergeants” and…)

    The Fall Festival is also fun..The food is good. And! Of course, the Blue Ridge Mountains. Before I left NC for Milwaukee, WI..Marquette University.,marriage to the love of my life and many years “up North,” I grew up in Beaufort, Mt. Airy and Francisco (a tiny little place near the Dan River). Parents were school teachers and farm-folk.

    My 88 year old Mother still lives in Mt. Airy. Trips to see her are several per year and the beauty and the food of our fall travels are wonderful..We now live in St. Petersburg, FL. Fall is much nicer in NC..

    Again, enjoying your blog.

    Thanks,

    Phil Edwards

    • says

      You have a point, but I must say, 8-9 hours for a day trip is fairly epic! We do stuff like this pretty frequently–we are Day Trip People. RIP Andy, indeed. Sigh. I’m very happy I wrote this instead of waiting until after he died to pay tribute. Still, I will read as many as I can now. :)

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