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. A quick walk or drive over the river takes you to Blannahassett Island, where you’ll find picnic areas, fishing, and the recently restored Marshall High Studios, home to many artists. Often, you will catch artists working and see their work.
Walk Main Street through downtown. Marshall has a unique geographic location situated in a ravine on the French Broad River with just main street and the railroad running between the river and the steep cliff on the blocks of the historic downtown. Stop by the old timey department store Penland & Sons with a variety of merchandise from fresh produce in season to men's work boots. Zuma (7 N Main) is a cool hang-out with organic fair trade coffees, homemade desserts and creative, healthy comfort food. Check out their live music schedule. Up the street at Madison County Arts Center (90 S Main) is the home of concerts, exhibits, classes and lectures.
The Mad For Madison Arts & Crafts Gallery (31 N. Main St) showcases 30 local artists. Head to Mad Co. Brew House (45 N. Main) for bratwursts and small batch craft beers. Other stops include: Sweet Monkey Bakery (133 S. Main), Star Diner fine dining (115 N. Main) (fine dining), Flow Gallery (14 S. Main), French Broad Exchange antiques (63 S. Main) and Marshall Container Company pub and ceramic workshop (10 S. Main).
Downtown Marshall Events 2018
February 13, 2018: Marshall Gras
Start the festivities with King Cake at Sweet Monkey Café at 5 PM. Head north on Main Street with crazy costumes, noisemakers and brass band. Flow, Marshall Container Company, Zuma, and Main Street Cafe will offer food and libation before getting down to New Orleans style jazz by The Resonant Rogues at Mad Co. Brew House from 6-8PM.
June 2, 2018: Mermaid Parade & Festival
Legend has it that for one day each year, mermaids leave their ocean home and travel via French Broad River to Downtown Marshall. They come to gaze at the natural beauty that surrounds them, meet their pirate friends and eat, drink and play at the festival and parade given in their honor. Festival runs 10 AM-5 PM with craft and art vendors, live entertainment and a seafood cook-off. Parade at 6 PM.
August 10, 2018: Dog Daze Parade
Dogs and owners dress in costumes. Find pet friendly games, activities & fun for the whole family. Blannahassett Island at 5:30 PM.
September 29, 2018: Art on the Island
Enjoy plenty of local art and music on Blannahassett Island by Marshall High Studios. 10 AM-5 PM.
November 17, 2018: Marshall Handmade Market
Buy gifts from artists at Marshall High Studios on Blannahassett Island on the river. 10 AM-5 PM. Food and music too.
Madison County Scenic Drive
French Broad Overview: This scenic byway begins north of Asheville at the Weaverville exit for US 25/70 North from I-26. After a short distance, turn left on Monticello Road to reach the French Broad River. Turn right on Old Marshall Road / NC 215. Winding along the river, you may catch sight of whitewater rafters in the summer months. However, historically the land next to the river was the passage for migrating animals, American Indians and later drovers who took their stock to market. The sheer rocks on the right provide a beautiful contrast to the wide river on the left. The highway continues to Marshall. Continuing on Main Street will bring you back to US Highway 25/70 bypass where the route ends.