- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2006

CLEAR LAKE, Wis. — Marsha Scheuermann met her husband, Dave, in an Internet chat room where they shared their passion for the 1960s TV sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show.” Eventually they fell in love and married.

They live in a replica of Sheriff Taylor’s home, and they run a bed-and-breakfast here called the Taylor Home Inn.

“We love the show,” Mrs. Scheuermann says. “The word fan doesn’t quite do it. You got to use the whole word — fanatic.”

Guests at the inn are greeted by a “Welcome to Mayberry” sign on the front door as the show’s theme song — “The Fishing Hole,” with its distinctive whistling — plays in the background.

The door opens, and there’s Andy’s front room, just like it looked on TV — the sofa and chairs, Look magazines on the coffee table, an RCA Victor black-and-white television and a bottle of Col. Harvey’s Indian Elixir herb-formula medicine. (Remember when Aunt Bee bought the tonic for strength and vigor and got a little tipsy?)

“It’s all vintage,” Mrs. Scheuermann says, “but it’s comfy.”

Craig Luns and his wife, Stacy, of Farmington, Minn., recently spent two nights there. “It was kind of surreal,” he says. “It seems like you are right inside the television show.”

Clear Lake, where the inn is located, is a town of about 1,000 people around 90 miles northeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Mrs. Scheuermann estimates that the inn cost $250,000 to build and furnish.

“I thought they were crazy at first,” says Mr. Scheuermann’s mother, Rosemary, “but it is the most wonderful, relaxing place.”

Guests have three choices — Aunt Bee’s room, Opie’s or Andy’s — and they appreciate the old-fashioned wholesomeness.

“It felt like I walked into a different time era, like it was a time warp,” says Roger Byrd of Prior Lake, Minn. “I just forgot about living in 2006.”

Even the family dog has a Mayberry moniker — Ellie Walker, after Andy’s girlfriend.

The Scheuermanns have watched many of the nearly 250 episodes of the show up to 200 times, scanning for details to make the home authentic.

Take the stone fireplace. It’s 12 feet wide because Mr. Scheuermann watched Andy walk across the room and counted his strides, figuring three feet for each step.

Food is served on Blue Willow plates like those Aunt Bee used, in a dining room decorated to match the TV scenes — right down to a ceramic pelican that Opie won at a fair, and the pictures on the wall.

“The Grandma Moses picture — it took us four years to find it,” Mrs. Scheuermann says.

The Web site where the Scheuermanns met in 1997 was set up for fans of the show. Specifically, the couple connected in the chat room, called “Sarah, get me the courthouse,” a reference to Mayberry’s unseen telephone operator.

People used the chat room to rehash the shows. “We all took names of the characters of the show. Dave was Orville Monroe because Orville Monroe was the funeral director in Mayberry and Dave is a funeral director. And I took on the name Eleanora Poultice because that was Barney’s music teacher,” says Mrs. Scheuermann, who teaches music part time. “You’d sit there and giggle because you would realize someone else was as sick as you are.”

Eventually, the two met in person at Mayberry Days in Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, N.C.

The friendship blossomed into a relationship, and the couple married in 2001. They started building their home a year later.

“I had wanted to own a bed-and-breakfast for years,” Mrs. Scheuermann says. “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if we could do Andy’s house?’”

They are working on re-creating Andy’s courthouse office in the basement of the 7,400-square-foot home, along with replicas of Deputy Barney Fife’s room and Wally’s Filling Station.

Mr. Luns, who stayed at the inn in June, will return when the work is completed. “I can’t wait,” he says.

• • •

Taylor Home Inn Bed & Breakfast, 373 30th Ave., Clear Lake, Wis.; go to www.taylorhomeinn.com or call 715/263-2639. Rates are $75 to $95 nightly.

Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club: www.mayberry.com.

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