MarionOnlineVisit website - www.exploremarion.com In the Blue Ridge foothills, framed by the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains, is Marion, NC. As our logo indicates, Marion’s South Main Street does indeed meet Mount Ida, creating a picturesque backdrop for shoppers and visitors.With more than 67,000 acres of Pisgah National Forest inside the county, discover numerous outdoor recreation opportunities. Within minutes of downtown, explore the area’s Blue Ridge Parkway communities and trails or stunning Lake James with two North Carolina State Parks, plus the only golf course at the lake. There are also 21 hiking, waterfall and bicycle trails in these woods.Become part of our active arts and crafts society. These residents preserve and share our mountain heritage and culture through their performances, exhibits and classes. The McDowell Arts Council and Foothills Community Theater offer organized programs and volunteer opportunities.Interested in continuing your education? McDowell County Technical Community College in Marion provides a broad spectrum of courses including four-year degrees through partnerships with regional colleges and universities. The University of N.C. at Asheville’s Center for Creative Retirement is another choice. The center is open to anyone interested in lifelong learning.Marion’s hospital and network of physicians and clinics are part of western North Carolina’s largest healthcare organization, Mission Health. In recent years, Mission Health has received numerous state and national recognitions. You will also find a variety of wellness classes and programs available at our senior centers and YMCA. Many residents’ wellness plans include the city’s multiple downtown walking trails and the scenic Catawba River Greenway.Marion’s cost of living consistently ranks 6-8 points below the national average and taxes haven’t been raised in 45 years. In 2011, the population grew to 8,075 and the county population totaled 45,000. You’ll find housing options to fit any budget, including apartments, townhomes, condominiums and single-family residences.Marion’s small-town charm extends to hosting seasonal and outdoor events and festivals, complementing the county’s additional festivals and events. Marion also hosts a weekly bluegrass jam at the historic depot. Marion’s idyllic location allows residents to take advantage of regional resources and entertainment in nearby Asheville, only 30 miles away, Hickory or Boone.Learn more about Marion and McDowell County by visiting these websites: www.marionnc.org, www.exploremarion.com and www.hometownmarion.com.