The lovely town of Marion is the county seat of Crittenden County. Set in the peaceful rolling hills of western Kentucky just south of the Ohio River, and surrounded by the rich traditions of Amish country, there’s much beauty to behold in the landscape and people of this area.
Marion’s Amish community is the largest in the state! With over 500 Amish residents, this is a flourishing farming community has an abundance of quaint farmhouses and Amish stores offering quality products in Crittenden’s lush countryside. It’s worth a trip to visit one of their bakeries for the breads, pastries and cookies, jams, jellies, and honey, which are just some of the delicious, scratch-made items for sale. The bounty from their greenhouses and gardens provide beautiful plants to adorn the outside of your home, and produce some of the tastiest produce around. Take a drive out there in the fall and admire the colorful foliage as you make your way to the Amish gourd and pumpkin stand! Each fall, their large harvest of pumpkins provides an array of choices for you to create that cozy, autumn touch around your house with the authentic experience of buying directly from the patch! Shop for rustic bentwood furniture or beautiful hand-crafted cabinets at their wood shops. You may have heard that the Amish’s hand-crafted items are known for their exquisite craftsmanship and durability that’s hard to beat.
The other unique attraction near Marion is Cave-in-Rock at Cave-in-Rock State Park in Illinois on the Ohio River. This park is accessible by way of a ferry that transports cars and people across the river directly to Cave-in Rock. Since the ferry is the only way across the river in this area, it carries hundreds of people daily. The limestone cave is about 200 feet deep and as long as the river is low enough, it’s open to go inside and explore. The cave itself is interesting, but it’s history is even more intriguing— it used to be a refuge for settlers coming through the area and a hiding place for scheming river pirates to prey on unsuspecting travelers! These days, this lovely area is a state park offering roomy rental cabins, great hiking trails, accessible fishing in the river or the pond on site, and a lodge with a restaurant and a gift shop inside. The natural rock formations of Southern Illinois make for a beautiful landscape to admire. This spot across the river and all it has to offer is a wonderful option for residents of Marion to enjoy.
Outdoor exploration and recreation doesn’t end there. The hunter will love the Crittenden woods that are known to be bountiful in deer, wild turkey, dove and squirrel, and the locals take advantage of this each hunting season. The fisherman has options with the Ohio River close by and abundant in catfish, crappie, sunfish, white and black striped bass, and sauger, and a short 20 minutes drive from Marion is Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake, which are known to have of the best catfish, crappie, and bass fishing this side of the Mississippi! These huge manmade lakes have over 3,000 miles of shoreline and flank either side of Land Between the Lakes (LBL) Recreational Area—western Kentucky’s premiere place for outdoor fun with over 100 miles of trails, full service campgrounds, horse riding camps, historical and nature focused exhibits, and much more. The Marion Crittenden County Park provides a place for fun in the heart of town. This 54 acre park offers a playground, 1.25 mile paved walking trail, picnic pavilions and horse shoe pits. It offers up a lot for the athletes, with its two basketball courts, four soccer fields, three baseball fields, and one softball field. This park is a nice place for the community to share.
Marion is home to the Clement Mineral Museum which houses a world-class collection of beautiful Kentucky and Illinois flourite. These colorful crystals have been dug from the depths of the earth and preserved to create an impressive collection. The annual Mineral Show, which takes place at the museum, has several vendors selling jewelry made from these minerals and gems, along with interesting fossils and household décor items and more. There are door prizes, a silent auction, bake sale, several free children’s activities, and beading classes available— at an extra cost. It’s a good opportunity to support local artisans and geologists, and find a unique piece to add to your collection! For more shopping in town, visit Brickhouse Antiques and More to find a treasure from the past, or Signature Boutique downtown for the latest clothing fashions. The Herb Shoppe, also downtown, has herb bouquets, hand-hooked rugs, hand-dipped candles and more gifts and cozy home décor.
Let’s talk food! Visit The Front Porch Restaurant for a delicious home-style cooked meal. This local establishment invites customers in through its front porch as the name suggests. They’re known for their crispy fried catfish with hushpuppies that everybody raves about, but they serve a variety of food! From crawfish dinners, ribeye steak, grilled pork chops, or hot sandwiches and crisp salads, you won’t leave hungry! Anna Mae’s on Main is a “Southern dining kitchen” serving delicious American fare in a cozy setting in one of the oldest and most charming buildings in town. Its original brick walls and fireplace, along with ambient lighting make for a warm atmosphere where you want to linger over a meal. Try their deluxe hamburgers or fresco burgers on sourdough bread, or their delicious hand cut steaks or plate lunches. They just started a Sunday lunch buffet which offers a variety of meats and country sides. Grab a piece of one of their homemade desserts while you’re there!
Marion is full of unique things to see and experience! The quaint town and peaceful countryside is something that residents really enjoy. Go to Marion and experience living big in a small town!