Trail Town – Marshall, MI
Full of small town charm, unique and beautiful history and attractions, Marshall is perfectly positioned at the intersection of I-94 and I-69, or the old blue highways of Michigan Avenue and Old US 27 in Southwest Michigan. When the wind is blowing just right from the west, you’ll swear you can smell the freshly made cereal from “Cereal City” Battle Creek, or to the east hear the faint sound of the U of M marching band in Ann Arbor. To the north, you may feel the prominence of our State Capital in Lansing and roar from MSU’s Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, or to the south Indiana (hey, Indiana). Either direction you face, know you’re in a town that is known for its hospitality, and one whose residents look forward to making you feel welcomed.
Getting to Marshall
DRIVING TO TOWN:
Hailing from the east (Detroit, Ann Arbor, Jackson, Albion) – Head west on I-94, take exit 112 and turn left onto I-94BUS W (which will turn into Michigan Avenue W).
Driving in from the west (Kalamazoo, Battle Creek) – Head east on I-94, take exit 110 and turn right onto Old US 27 S (which will turn into Brewer Street).
Dropping down from the North (Lansing, Charlotte) – Head south on I-69, take exit 36 and turn left I-94BUS E/M-96 E/Michigan Avenue E.
Coming up from the south (Indiana, Coldwater) – Head north on I-69, take exit 36 and turn right onto I-94BUS E/M-96 E/Michigan Avenue E.
Once you’re off the interstates and heading into town, each of the above sets of directions will lead you right to the center of town, the Brooks Memorial Fountain (you can’t miss the roundabout that encircles this beautiful structure). Stop in our Welcome Center for a quick visit (which sits along the perimeter of the roundabout), or, if you’re ready to hit the trail, follow the NCT signs to one of our three parking locations for the trail.
From the west: Hike along C Drive North until it runs into I-94BUS E/M-96 E/Michigan Avenue E. Turn right, and take another quick right to head south on 15 Mile Rd. Shortly after you cross over the Kalamazoo River you’ll run into A Drive S. Turn left on A Drive (which will eventually turn into W Hughes Street). Turn left of S Kalamazoo/17 Mile Rd. S/Old US 27 S. Once you run into the Kalamazoo River again, look for the boardwalk on your right and follow the trail, or come visit us in town (by continuing up the road).
From the east: Hike along B Drive N (which will eventually turn into River Rd). Turn left on Clinton St. and left again onto S Marshall Ave. Once you cross the railroad tracks and pass our historic hydroelectric power plant (the 3rd oldest in the United States), keep your eyes open for the boardwalk on your right.
Founded in 1830, Marshall was named after the sitting U.S. Chief Justice, John Marshall. Poised to become Michigan’s capital, Marshall ultimately fell shy of their neighbor to the north, Lansing, by just one vote. This didn’t slow Marshall down however, as the town’s placement quickly lent itself to becoming a major stagecoach stop, and as technology progressed, the switching center for the Michigan Central Railroad.
The rich history of Marshall can be quickly experienced moments into a leisurely stroll around town, whether it be its unique and celebrated 19th century architecture, or the impressive presence of its many towering, century-old trees. But its pride does not stop there. From the town’s support of the abolition of slavery to the creation of Michigan’s public school system (which was later used as a template for the federal government’s system), the largest collection of magic artifacts on display anywhere in the world, the over 100 year old award-wining Schuler’s Restaurant, the many delicious flowing ales of the Dark Horse Brewing Company, and much, much, more, the town has plenty to celebrate and offer its visitors!
Things to Do and See:
THE SUMMER BLUES FEST
One of the town’s favorites, this is a rare event that turns our downtown main street into a music festival ground, complete with stages, beer tents, food, and great entertainment!
THE HISTORIC HOME TOUR AND GARDEN TOUR
Two additional, unique events, both of which give visitors the opportunity to walk through some of our historic homes and flourishing gardens.
THE FRANKE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
The Center draws a steady stream of vibrant talent, whether it be local or touring productions. It’s an intimate theater, and with that, there’s not a bad seat in the house!
If your visit doesn’t coincide with any of the previous events (and the many more noted on the community calendar), there is still plenty left to do and see.
Marshall is home to eight unique museums, numerous walking tours, and a classic downtown main street to enjoy. If you’re looking for a good place to start, please stop in our VISITOR CENTER for a personal overview of what’s happening in town during your stay.
From there, you may find yourself dining at the HISTORIC SCHULER’S RESTAURANT OR PUB followed by a visit to the AMERICAN MUSEUM OF MAGIC (home to the largest collection of magic artifacts on display anywhere in the world)!
Thirsty? Swing down to the BEER GARDEN AT THE DARK HORSE BREWING COMPANY (ranked as one of the top 50 microbreweries in the nation – in 2016) and enjoy a freshly brewed beer.
With your palate refreshed, head just one block south to the NCT for a beautiful stroll along the KALAMAZOO RIVER BOARDWALK.
Later that night, head to MAIN STREET for a stroll through the beautiful brick building-lined corridor, grab another cold one at one of our watering holes (don’t mind the peanut shells on the floor at the Copper Bar), and rest your feet once again sitting on one of the park benches surrounding the beautiful BROOKS FOUNTAIN. Conclude your evening watching the beautiful color-light show unfold through the mist and spray of the water.
Despite Marshall’s small size there truly is plenty to do and enjoy year-round, and we hope you do just that, enjoy!