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.
Today, they live in a replica of Sheriff Taylor's home, and they run a bed-and-breakfast there called the Taylor Home Inn.
"We love the show," Marsha Scheuermann said. "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 couch 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?)
Craig Luns, 37, and his wife, Stacy, of Farmington, Minn., recently spent two nights there.
"It was kind of surreal," he said. "It seems like you are right inside the television show."
The inn is located in Clear Lake, a town of about 1,000 people some 90 miles northeast of the Twin Cities. Scheuermann estimates that the inn cost $250,000 to build and furnish.
"I thought they were crazy at first," said Dave's mother, Rosemary Scheuermann, "but it is the most wonderful, relaxing place to come."
Guests have three choices - Aunt Bee's room, Opie's or Andy's - and they appreciate the old-fashioned wholesomeness.
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"It felt like I walked into a different time era, like it was a time warp," said Roger Byrd, 57, 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 Dave 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 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," Scheuermann said.
Scheuermann and her husband met in 1997 on a Web site set up for fans of the show, in a 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," said 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," Scheuermann said. "We thought, 'Wouldn't it be fun if we could do Andy's house?'"
Right now they are working on recreating 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.
Luns, who stayed at the inn in June, will return when the work is completed. "I can't wait," he said.
If You Go:
TAYLOR HOME INN BED & BREAKFAST: 373 30th Ave., Clear Lake, Wis.; http://www.taylorhomeinn.com or 715-263-2639. Rates: $75-$95 nightly.
ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW RERUN WATCHERS CLUB: http://www.mayberry.com.
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