Marshall, NC, is a picturesque and historic Blue Ridge Mountain town located along the banks of the beautiful French Broad River and surrounded by craggy cliffs. Around town you’ll find a bakery, coffeehouse, natural food store, some excellent restaurants, art galleries, plenty of antique shopping, and a super friendly and artistic community.
Outdoor Adventure in Madison County
Scenic and breath-taking vistas abound as you drive across this beautiful mountain region. For an easy side trip, take a picnic and enjoy a pleasant hike up Max Patch, a bald mountain known for its wildflowers and amazing views. Or get close to the water on the 3.6-mile Laurel River Trail, an easy, and flat, hike with the sound of the river rapids in your ears and beautiful mountain scenery all along the way. And as you’re driving around, keep an eye out for historic barns. They tell a story of rural life dating back to the 19th and mid-20th century.
Learn more about things to see and do in the area at the Marshall Visitor Center. There can help direct you how to access a white water rafting excursions down the French Broad, biking, hiking horseback riding, fly-fishing, and gem mine exploring.
Explore The Region’s Small Blue Ridge Towns
Marshall is located just north of Asheville in Madison County. From the downtown area, cross the bridge over the river to Blannerhassett Island and take an art stroll through Marshall High Studios, formally Marshall High School, which is now home to a growing artist community. Bring a blanket and have a picnic, catch some music at the outdoor stage, or play some disc golf. The kids will love the swings!
While you’re in the area, take a short drive over to Hot Springs, the only town where the Appalachian Trail cuts directly through downtown. Here you’ll find North Carolina’s only mineral baths – a true healing sanctuary after a long hike.
A little further north is Mars Hill, a quaint college town rich in character. Here you can learn more about the history of the city and one of its most legendary residents Bascom Lamar Lunsford, known as the Minstrel of the Appalachia. He was instrumental in collecting Americana and folk songs from the hollows of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 1928, he founded The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, the longest running folk music festival in the nation.
Also in Mars Hill is SART (Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre), a professional theatre company in residence at the historic Owen Theatre on the campus of Mars Hill University. The campus also has Civil War markers for the history buffs.
Plan your visit around one of Madison County’s many festivals and events. Enjoy traditional music every Friday and Saturday at the Depot on Main Street in Marshall and celebrate the French Broad River at the annual French Broad Festival, an outdoor music festival on the banks of the river in Hot Springs. There are many more events you can find updated weekly here.
Where to Stay in Marshall
For a great view, make a reservation at the Marshall House Inn B&B. Once a private residence for the local sheriff, this historic mansion was designed by famed architect, Richard Sharp Smith who was commissioned by George W. Vanderbilt to also build the Biltmore Estate. Built in 1903, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the home is now completely renovated and includes a delicious complimentary breakfast and a large covered porch to sit and enjoy the view of downtown Marshall and the river.
In the same county and less than 10 miles northeast of Hot Springs, RiverDance is a charming B&B sitting 300 feet above a horseshoe-shaped bend in Big Laurel Creek. Here you can experience the outdoors from their Carolina Porch with its beautiful barn board fireplace, or relax in front of their spectacular Arts and Crafts fireplace in the great room. RiverDance is a blend of a vacation rental and an upscale B&B, with a full continental breakfast that will get you going for a day of fun and exploring. And feel free to bring Fido! RiverDance is pet friendly!