Andy Griffith: New Book Explores ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star’s Passion for Surprising Part of North Carolina

Born and raised in the foothills of the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Andy Griffith held a deep respect and admiration for The Old North State his entire life. Growing up in Mount Airy wasn’t always easy, however. Though the Matlock star always accepted his rough upbringing as a part of himself, he was never afraid to admit that being thought of as “white trash” had a profound effect on him as a child.

So, when it came time to begin his college career, Andy Griffith left Mount Airy behind, traveling east to attend UNC-Chapel Hill. And, after receiving his Bachelor of Music, the future television star traveled further east still, to a town called Manteo. He didn’t know it yet, but the small seaside town on Roanoke Island would become one of the great loves of his life.

Like so many who find themselves in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, surrounded by the rich history and gorgeous sea views of its quaint towns, Andy Griffith felt a devotion to the island immediately. In a new book entitled Andy Griffith’s Manteo: His Real Mayberry, North Carolina local, John Railey, set out to put this fondness into words.

“I’d interviewed him once as a journalist,” Railey explained in the Winston-Salem Journal. “And I’d seen him around Nags Head and Manteo growing up. But, you know, I never knew the real guy, and we were all fascinated by him. You know, everybody had stories about seeing him going in the liquor store barefoot.”

North Carolina Author Explains the Process of Creating His Andy Griffith Book

John Railey, a local and fervent admirer of North Carolina himself, couldn’t fathom why no one had written a book explaining Andy Griffith’s connection to Manteo. “It was just a gift to find,” Railey said. “I couldn’t believe this book had never been done because that island formed him as an artist.”

“When he was in The Lost Colony, he made the connections there that took him to the top and he never stopped giving back to the place. It was just a godsend to be able to do this story.”

While in the process of writing Andy Griffith’s Manteo, John Railey interviewed dozens of people close to the late actor. No stone was left unturned. And, luckily for Railey, everyone he spoke to was more than willing to share their stories.

“They felt like it hadn’t been recorded all that he did for the island and all the island did for him. So a lot of people closest to him were ready to talk. They just opened up,” Railey recalled. “I mean, they were pulling out scrapbooks, and I have in my book all these candid photos of Andy. The real guy, not scripted. Just laid-back Andy on the island.”

Along with his interviews with those close to Griffith, Railey also found a few unpublished interviews with Andy himself. In these interviews, Andy Griffith detailed his affection for North Carolina and, specifically, Manteo. In one interview, Andy Griffith explained, “If Mayberry is anywhere, it is Manteo.”

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