Sometimes all you want to do is get away. Most of my vacations involve carefully curated spreadsheets with the most talked about restaurants, bars, dance clubs, and sites. There’s no time for relaxing because I’m always out to get the best feel for wherever I’m visiting. It’s pretty exhausting. This time, I decided to take a trip out west for some peace and quiet but of course in the artsy hipster haven, Marfa.
Geographically, Marfa is close to my home town, Eagle Pass, and the terrain is very similar. I’ve actually been to the area numerous times growing up when I competed in speech and drama competitions at Sul Ross State University in Alpine. But Alpine, isn’t Marfa and I’d been dying to get out there for years now.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of great places to stay in Marfa, depending on what you’d like to do. You can rent a trailer or camp out at the beautiful El Cosmico, stay at the lovely Thunderbird Hotel, or you can do what I did and rent a house. I can’t recommend the house we stayed in enough. It was extremely peaceful and comfortable. There was plenty of space for all 4 of us to gather together or disappear to do some reading. Owned by a writer from Brooklyn with impeccable taste, the home was outfitted with gorgeous decor and furniture. With the amount of photos taken on a gay getaway, that’s very important.
Surprisingly, there are plenty of great places to eat in Marfa. The only problem is, in a small town in the middle of nowhere, they kind of open whenever they feel like. You’ll definitely want to check their websites or Facebook pages for their hours or to see if they’ve closed up for the day.
You’ll find the Food Shark trailer serving up creative Mediterranean dishes under a shady pavilion by the rail road tracks. Be sure to stop by and pick up a hearty Marfalafel with hummus. You can also find some decadently delicious sandwiches at Fat Lyle’s, a food truck near the Chinati Foundation. Expect plenty of fried delicacies and be sure to try their brussels sprouts and fries. It’s okay to eat the carbs. You’re in the desert and sweating it off, right? Spend your evening having a nice sit down dinner at the trendy Cochineal. Start off with one of their amazing cocktails or a glass of wine from their 250 bottle list. Most of the greens and veggies are grown in house and the new American menu changes daily. You won’t be disappointed, whatever you choose to nosh on.
Along with delicious eateries, you can find some great shopping in Marfa that offer everything the proper gay gentleman needs. Again, be sure to check the stores’ Facebook pages or websites to see if they’re open. If there’s something you’ve absolutely got to have, many of the stores even open up by appointment.
Pick up books on art or West Texas at Marfa Book Company, then swing by Cast & Crew for some modern home decor like a 24k golden Eames chair. Around the corner, you’ll find Cobra Rock Boot Company, where you can place an order for some custom made boots that look more southern gentleman than cowboy. If you’ve got room to haul wares back home, you’ll definitely want to check out Garza Furniture where you can find beautifully minimal furniture and inviting textiles. If you’re packing light, you can still stop by and pick up one of their trendy graphic tees or table linens.
Marfa may be a small town, but there’s still plenty to see. Visit the Chinati Foundation and take the full collection tour. You’ll be in for a day of hiking between buildings at this former air force base turned art museum which features works by Donald Judd, John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, and special exhibits.
If you’re up for more art tours, check out the Judd Foundation’s tour of the artist’s home and studio. A quick 30 minute drive on Highway 90 takes you to the Prada Marfa, an art installation intended to slowly degrade back into the natural landscape.
If you hadn’t heard about Marfa’s art scene, you should have heard tales of the mysterious Marfa Lights. Sightings of the phenomenon may be rare, but spending a night under the stars at the viewing pavilion is worth the attempt. Roll out a blanket, snack on a light picnic, and get to star gazing.
If you have any time left, there are plenty of nearby state parks for hiking and camping if nature’s your thing.
Have you ever made a trip out to Marfa? Let me know about in the comments below!