Madison County is rich in history and culture. It is home to several quaint little towns and also acres upon acres of unspoiled woods, coves and mountains.
The most storied spot here is probably the little town of Hot Springs, NC. It has a population of about 700 and the Appalachian Trail runs right down Main Street. You can enjoy live music at Paddlers Pub or sit down for a nice meal at Bridge Street Café or the Mountain Magnolia Inn, which both offer lodging as well, or check out Bright Leaf Junction, featuring well-appointed rooms housed in a beautiful restored downtown building.
Hot Springs is named for the natural mineral hot springs that bubble up here. The waters have been captured and directed into outdoor tubs at the rustic Hot Springs Spa where you can soak under the stars and gain the health and relaxation benefits of the water. The hot spring mineral water is believed to relieve stress and fatigue of the mind and body, as well as increase circulation, and so has been a popular health destination for many years. The town was originally named Warm Springs, and if you’ve read Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain, you’ll recognize this as the Warm Springs Resort in that story.
The historic town of Marshall, NC is the county seat of Madison County. Its downtown is being revitalized and is situated on the banks of the French Broad River. You can stroll down the historic Main Street or go to the Depot on Friday nights for live music and dancing. Visit Zumas for delicious sandwiches and great coffee & desert. The Lunsford Music Festival is held annually during the first week of October and is a great event for folk music lovers.
Mars Hill, NC is located to the north of Asheville, just off I-26. A quaint college town, it is home to Mars Hill College, and also the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, a professional theater group that resides on the campus.