Surry County

About

Partially bordering Virginia, two-thirds of Surry County exists within the Piedmont, with the remaining third located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The county was formed in 1771 out of Rowan and gets its name from the English county also known as Surrey (except with an ‘e’), which was the birthplace of then-Governor William Tryon. The county seat of Dobson was incorporated in 1891 and is either named for a local justice of the peace or a member of the General Assembly.

While Fisher Peak in the Blue Ridge is the highest peak in Surry County in at 3,570 feet, the county is best known for the Big Pinnacle of Pilot Mountain, which has an elevation of 2.421 feet. Also known as “the Knob”, Big Pinnacle’s tree-topped bare rock walls rise 200 feet and are visible for miles. A favorite among hikers, Pilot Mountain State Park offers 16 trails, including the Little Pinnacle Overlook offering impressive close-up views of Big Pinnacle.

Approximately 14 miles south of Pilot Mountain is the county’s most populous city, Mount Airy. Known as “Granite City,” Mount Airy is known for the world’s largest open face granite quarry dating back more than 340 million years. Rumor has it, “The Rock” which has been mined for more than 130 years can be viewed by astronauts from space. The surface of the quarry, which is visible, spans 60 acres. However, the parts of the mass that are not visible stretch 7 miles long, 1 mile wide, and 8,000 feet deep.

Mount Airy is also the hometown of the late Andy Griffith. The city is said to have inspired his popular show, The Andy Griffith Show, which aired 249 episodes from 1960-1968. Today, fans can inhabit the quintessential small south town Griffith popularized by visiting Mount Airy and taking a Mayberry squad car tour where they’ll visit the Andy Griffith Museum and a number of iconic replicas from the show’s set, including the Mayberry Courthouse and Otis’ jail cell. Mayberry Days is a week-long annual festival commemorating the show’s anniversary and includes a parade, concerts, “the Emmett” golf tournament, and pork chop sandwiches. The 2024 festival will take place September 23-29 and historically attracts an attendance of up to 50,000 (so book your hotel now).

The county is also part of North Carolina’s wine country in the Yadkin Valley and is home to the Surry County Wine Trail, which consists of 16 wineries located all across the county, including Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, the state’s largest family-owned winery. For our non-wine drinkers, the trail also includes breweries and a distillery. The trail was launched in 2018 by local leaders in the tourism industry and has proven an economic success. Tourism dollars on the whole in the county increased 7.3% in 2022 (the latest year available) over 2021, with visitors spending more than $147 million in the county on tourism.

Surry County solidly supports GOP candidates. The last Democratic presidential candidate to win the county was Jimmy Carter in 1976. In 2012, Mitt Romney defeated Barack Obama in the county by 37 points. Donald Trump carried the county in both 2016 and 2020 by more than 50 points.

Geography

Elected Officials

County Data