Marshall, North Carolina is a town that keeps drawing me back. It is nestled between rocky cliffs and the scenic French Broad River, reminding me of the mountain towns in Colorado. This little town is the county seat for Madison county and less than a 30 minute drive from Asheville. The one-mile long Main Street is lined with many original buildings including the courthouse build in 1907, along with artists’ studios, galleries, restaurants, churches, eclectic shops and a surprisingly well stocked local grocery store. Unlike many of the small towns in the area, hardly a spot on main street is vacant.
The bridge across the river takes you to Blannahassett Island, where you’ll find picnic areas, fishing and the recently restored Marshall High Studios. This former high school has been converted into artists’ studios, while maintaining the history charm and architecture of the original school building. On Sunday afternoons during the summer, the parking lot also serves as a tailgate(farmer’s market).
Two of my Favorite Shops
Marshall Natural Foods grocery store. I was passing through town one day and needed two specialty items to complete a salad recipe: toasted pumpkin seeds and ground coriander. I was not optimistic as I entered the story, but really what did I have to lose except a really long drive to Ingels Supermarket. As I tentatively asked the shopkeeper if she carried those items, she jumped right up and showed me a little area in the back where I could measure and bag the exact amount of each item I was looking for. Jackpot! They have a wide selection of bulk spices, as well as, great prices on bulk oatmeal and nuts. Their refrigerated section carries local produce, canned and fermented items. This store is thriving and recently expanded their space over the summer.
Flow offers local and regional crafted objects and arts, both traditional and contemporary. Eight local female artists opened this shop in 2010 and they continue to operate and curate the shop on a volunteer basis. This means that they cut out the middle man and you can find great hand-crafted items without the usual gallery markup fee. Everything from jewelry, quilts, wood work, paintings, bath and body products…everything. This is simply a joyous place to visit. They feature their products on Instagram @flowmarshallnc
Events in Marshall
French Broad Fridays during the summer offer extended hours for downtown businesses, free carriage rides, face painting, music and fun for kids of all ages. Other events include the Madison Arts Festival in the fall, Christmas Parade, Easter Egg Hunt and my personal favorite …the Mermaid Parade. The entire town goes all out as they dress as mermaids, pirates and sea creatures of all kinds. As the parade winds its way through town, it will stop at several “water stations”, which I discovered means that a water balloon and water cannon fight will ensue between the floats and the parade watchers.
Sweet Monkey is a charming cafe with outdoor seating right on Main Street. The menu is American and vegetarian friendly. Pasta, pizza and sandwiches with a bit of eclectic flair. It was also one of the water stops on the Mermaid Parade. Note the upstairs apartment window/balloon launching station!!!
Marshall’s Main Street Cafe is clean, friendly and affordable. They serve traditional diner food and have spectacular pies. They have a great outdoor patio area with a fire pit and yard games to play while waiting for food to arrive. The pies are fresh and on my visit there was an abundance of choices. They always offer their Mile High Meringue pies in butterscotch, chocolate, lemon and coconut and additional seasonal flavors, plus other desserts like brownies and cheesecakes, depending on what Kristie is cooking up that day. Worth a stop just for a quick sweet treat.
If you’re driving through Western North Carolina, be sure and stop in Marshall.
Are you interested in exploring spirituality in the everyday moments of life with gratitude and humor? Visit … http://stillsacred.com/blog/