An oasis away from the city.
Tucked under rocky cliffs along the bank of the French Broad River, the small town (pop 852) of Marshall, North Carolina, “a mile long, a street wide, sky high and hell deep,” is redolent of its long history, first as a frontier stock stand along the drover's road to Asheville, then a confusing and sometimes violent arena in which were played out the divided loyalties of the Civil War, later the prosperous mercantile center for logging and mining activities in a large, rural, isolated county during the early and mid 20th century, and finally, when those activities largely ended, a declining town with a declining population.
But, now buoyed by an influx of artists and crafts persons drawn to its breathtaking natural beauty, cheaper rents and long history of mountain craft and traditional music, Marshall is experiencing a slow but gathering revival. A coffee shop, now the unofficial center of community life, several restaurants & bars, a craft gallery, a natural food grocery and an antique shop, among others, jostle for attention along historic Main Street.
This small town down the river from Asheville, and the mountainous countryside enveloping it, is becoming one of the most interesting places in the South to live and work, especially for those who appreciate the proximity of isolated beauty only a short distance away from the urban energy of Asheville.
It has been said that if Asheville is the Paris of the South, then Marshall is the south of France of the South—an inexact comparison that nonetheless feels about right. The links below, when fully fleshed out, will attempt to provide a map to this intricate mix of old and new, young and old, pious and impious, all busy about the task of creating something new -- a painting, a pot, a business, a life. If this is you, come join us -- you'll be number 853.
"Originally named Lapland, Marshall was an important stop on the Buncombe Turnpike, or Old Drovers' Road. They used the Turnpike to commute up and down the road that stretched from South Carolina to Tennessee, to markets in the region. Thousands of drovers with their hogs, sheep, horses, mules and turkeys passed through Marshall along the French Broad River each year. Read More...
100 Things to do in Madison Cty.
"Located in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina with the scenic French Broad River running through it, Madison County offers countless ways to enjoy the experience of visiting our area. Whether your interest is in the outdoors, visual or performing arts, traditional music, history, architecture, or agri-tourism, we have something that will make your visit a memorable one." Read More...
"The historic town of Marshall in Madison County is nestled between rocky cliffs and the scenic French Broad River, just 20 miles north of Asheville. This "one street wide and a mile long" town of 900 residents celebrates its colorful past while passionately embracing the contemporary with a recent "revival." Main Street, lined with original buildings including the 100-year-old courthouse, is home to artists’ studios, galleries, music and dance venues, and eclectic shops. Read more....