Marion Blends Small City and Country Lifestyle

Marion, the closest town to Lake James, is a friendly progressive city of about 5,500 people that was founded in the mid-1800s. Recently selected as a “Main Street” city by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Marion has small town charm with festivals, downtown entertainment and several quaint shops.

About 20 minutes from Morganton, 35-45 minutes from Ashville and an hour and a half from Charlotte, the town is located just north of Interstate 40, and is a gateway between the mountain and piedmont regions of North Carolina. It is the seat of McDowell County, a county of about 45,000 residents. Major regional amenities, including a medical center and a private airfield are located here.

The wonderful, historic city sits along the Catawba River Basin at the eastern foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Marion has extended her hospitality to travelers and visitors for over 150 years. Stop by for the Mountain Glory Festival in October. This is the place “where Main Street meets the mountains.” Marion is a great place to live, work, shop and play!

Marion Real Estate for Sale

Lush properties include duplexes for sale, condos for sale, Marion investment properties for sale, lots for sale in Marion, ranches in McDowell County and houses for sale in Marion in neighborhoods such as the newer Glen Hay or older Cross Mill. Real estate ranges from modest starter homes to executive estates in McDowell County.

Why Buyers Choose Marion North Carolina

Regardless of your choice or income bracket, the verdant foliage, abundant trees and unsurpassed autumn colorations are freely available to everyone. Summer population swells to 20,000 as rural folks and tourists drop by to enjoy the quality of life, safe neighborhoods, recreational amenities, great shopping and the incredible scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west.


Outdoor recreation is around the corner at one of five convenient parks, one sporting a skate park and another ball fields. Just a few minutes away is Lake James State Park where public boat ramps and camping facilities make it easy to get a dose of Mother Nature. Venture a little further out and visit Land of the Waterfalls in Pisgah National Forest, head to the Crabtree Meadows Recreation Area or to the Great Smokey Mountains or Reed Gold Mine State Historical Site.

Others prefer the manicured greens and visage of a golf course or a steep mountain trail at Mount Mitchell State Park, the Linville Caverns and Linville Falls.

History and Heritage

Though 45 different Indian tribes have spent more than 12,000 years around here, the town officially began in 1844. Its namesake is Francis Marion, the South Carolina Revolutionary War hero known as Swamp Fox. Plantation owner Sam Carson donated 50 acres to establish this as the County Seat. The town grew following the topography around the gently sloping foothills until factories on the west side of town also inspired new residential neighborhoods there.

After the devastating fire of 1894, the town was rebuilt. Businesses, stores, hotels, banks, and later industries such as Marion Manufacturing Company, Clinchfield Mill and Cross Mill along with furniture factories such as Drexel, grocery warehouses, a hosiery mill, a paper company, medicinal outlets, clothing stores, variety stores, candy stores and drugstores with soda fountains, theaters, sports and athletics, and so on filled the town.

Industry demanded electricity, telephone and running water and several companies obliged. And along came hospitals. The important role of churches could be noticed on Sunday mornings when myriad bells rang from each unique steeple.

Schools and Transportation

The McDowell County Public School District, in partnership with family and community, works with children and youth to develop the life skills necessary for personal success as well as the ability to assume civic responsibility in a globally competitive society. A high school, two junior highs and several elementary schools, along with the McDowell Early College and the Alternative Education Center in town, provide local options.

At an elevation of 1,401 feet, the area is accessed via vehicle, including Greyhound, on I-40, US-70, US-221 and NC-226 and via plane at the private Shiflett Field or through the larger airports in Asheville and Hickory.

Marion NC Real Estate Brokers

For more information about lots and homes in Marion North Carolina, contact the real estate brokers at Lake James Real Estate, Inc., 3053 NC Hwy 126, Morganton, NC 28655, Phone: 828-584-9999.