Mars Hill Discovery Guide - Things To See and Do - NC Blue Ridge

Plan your next road trip through North Carolina’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with a visit to Mars Hill, a centerpiece of music and art culture that offers a variety of seasonal outdoor activities.

Whether you want to enjoy all that nature has to offer, play outdoors, cozy up somewhere unique, or enjoy local and regional arts and music, the town of Mars Hill is truly the place to go. The town of Mars Hill was built around Mars Hill University and being close to Asheville and other lovely towns make it the perfect place to have fun for the whole family.

Mars Hill Brings People Together Through History and the Arts

Along About Sundown_Parkway Playhouse

Mars Hill is known for its rich music and crafts heritage. In the summer you can take in a play at the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre. With a professional theatre company in residence at the historic Owen Theatre on the campus of Mars Hill University, SART celebrates the arts with plays, musicals and many original works.

Renowned musician and folklorist Bascom Lamar Lunsford, founder of the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, grew up in Mars Hill and brings international recognition to the region’s traditional mountain music. He dedicated his life to promoting and collecting Southern Appalachian music and preserving the cultural heritage of the mountain region. Throughout his life he stayed in contact with Mars Hill University and donated many of his manuscripts, instruments and recordings to the school. Bascom Lamar Lunsford died in 1973 at the age of 91.

The Rural Heritage Museum is housed in the historic native stone Montague Building on the Mars Hill University campus. Built in 1919, it was originally used as a library and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll find artifacts to the history and culture of the wide Southern Appalachian region and give you an understanding of this rural heritage. The exhibits are always changing so be sure to return to more in the future.

Go Play Outdoors in the Blue Ridge Mountains

biker on a blue ridge mountain trailLocated in Western North Carolina’s beautiful scenic mountains, Mars Hill offers an ideal starting place for some great outdoor adventures.

In the winter you can ski or snowboard at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort. And be sure to bring your bike along and head over to Bailey Mountain Bike Park. This is the go-to place for mountain bike riders and professionals and offers access to a dedicated, year-round, world-class downhill and mountain biking facility.

Want to really experience the beauty of the mountains? Try zip lining through the treetops or whitewater rafting and kayaking on the French Broad River. Take in the fresh mountain air on horseback. Go fishing! You’ll find out all there is to see and do at the Madison County Visitor Center, so come on by and plan your visit to experience all the area has to offer.

Charming Mountain Towns All Around

While you are here, you can experience some of the sweetest small towns in and around the Blue Ridge Mountains including historic Marshall. Visit downtown Marshall’s Main Street, lined with historic, restored buildings including the century-old courthouse. Stroll through town and visit local artists’ studios, galleries, music and dance venues. And go home with a new wardrobe from some cute, eclectic shops.

It’s easy to spend time in Marshall when you put your feet up at the newly renovated Marshall House Inn, a lovely bed and breakfast Inn providing contemporary styled rooms in a beautiful historic home. The Inn offers vistas of the French Broad River high above downtown Marshall and you’re just steps away from town.

A little further north of Marshall is Hot Springs, where you’ll find everything from river festivals to traditional arts festivals. A resort destination for almost 200 years, Hot Springs is renowned for its hot mineral springs and beautiful mountain setting at the intersection of Spring Creek and the French Broad River. The Appalachian Trail runs right through this small town with the big heart. And there is no better place to heal and relax than soaking in the spring-fed hot tubs at the Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Come find your peace of mind here.