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  • Writer's pictureCheré Dastugue Coen

A spirited spirit in Mt. Airy, North Carolina

This tasting room has an invisible wine lover.

Many people I’ve met in my ghost travels are afraid of cemeteries, worried that spirits haunt the hallowed ground at night. I always thought that if a spirit remained on this plane, the last place they would hang around is a cemetery. So many nicer places to visit.

Take Old North State Winery in Mount Airy, N.C., for instance. Someone haunts the winery building, and if you ask me it makes perfect sense. I definitely would haunt a winery, wouldn’t you?

The building was constructed in 1885 by Thomas Franklin Prather as a general store. The legend remains that Prather and another general store owner in the quaint North Carolina town were at odds. During this time the town’s granite quarry was in high gear so dynamite was in abundance. On a night in 1926, someone set off dynamite in front of Prather’s store and blew off the façade.

In 1969, when Belk purchased the building to renovate into a department store, human remains were found inside a wall. An arm to be exact.

Old North State Winery took over in 2002, serving up wines created on-site mostly from grapes in the Yadkin Valley. The store is an arm — pun intended — of Fish Hippie apparel and accessories.

Is it the one-armed person who walks through the winery at night, opening and closing doors and throwing wine glasses around? No one knows but many have heard the footsteps and seen odd things happening. Our server mentioned the lamps hanging from the ceiling as moving on their own at odd times. Just then, the lamp above our heads starting shaking from side to side. You can see the video here. Is it air moving through the building or something else? For one thing, none of the other lighting fixtures moved. You be the judge.

While you’re visiting Old North State Winery, be sure and sample Restless Soul, a blend of malbec, tannat and cabernet sauvignon that’s an homage to the spirit haunting the building.

Mount Airy, by the way, is the hometown of Andy Griffith, who used his growing up years as basis for his long-running television show. You can learn more about Griffith and the show at a museum in his honor or by enjoying a Squad Car Tours in 1960s police cars.

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