Tougher Still to Explain
Locales | November 11th, 2015
“Marfa. Tough to get to. Tough to explain. But once you get here, you get it.”
It’s amazingly accurate that this is the town motto for Marfa, Texas. In the month since my boyfriend and I visited this strange and charming little town in West Texas, I have struggled with how to fully explain our experience in a blog post. In a lot of ways, we really didn’t do all that much while we there. And yet the minute we had left the town limits, all we could think about was when we could visit again.
This quiet yet quirky little town totally captured us.
Young hipster side? Marfa has it. A piece of the Old West and Texas history? They have that too. 1960s Minimalist art movement started by Donald Judd and continued by his family and fans? Alive and well in Marfa. Gorgeous desert with no signs of humanity as far as you can see? Just a few miles outside of town.
We stayed at El Cosmico, this adorable, quirky campground where accomodations can be found in restored Airstreams, trailers, teepees, yurts, and safari tents.
Complete with wood burning hot tubs, a communal kitchen, hammock grove, fire pits and dog-friendly grounds, the site was even better than we expected.
We stayed in one of the Safari tents, though it was certainly a long ways off from the tents I typically associate with camping.
Complete with a full size bed (with a heated mattress cover!), lighting by Schoolhouse Electric, and the prettiest Mexican blanket inspired bedding, the tent was almost as big as my actual bedroom and cozy as could be.
So what is there to do in Marfa? Nothing and everything, and that’s exactly what you want. On Friday night we had dinner “downtown.” (Downtown is a tiny grid of essentially three blocks.) Then spent the night lying outside at El Cosmico, peering into the blackest yet brightest night sky I have ever seen. The night was so clear you could see the opaque white of the Milky Way, every constellation you could think of and more shooting stars than I had previously seen in my lifetime.
On Saturday we spent the day exploring the town. We walked through the entire neighborhood surrounding the Courthouse admiring the eclectic mix of architecture. This town is so strange because you have these old, historic, crumbly looking buildings directly next to brand new modern structures. Such a fantastic dichotomy.
At sunset we trekked out of town to see the “Prada Marfa” installation in Valentine, TX.
Chances are you may have heard of this oddity, even if you haven’t been to Marfa. Created by artists Elmgreen and Dragset this “pop architectural land art project” was installed in 2005 and is meant to remain in place, without repairs or restoration as it slowly deteriorates back into the natural landscape. And yes, it does look like a real Prada store, complete with shoes and handbags and a sprinkling of cobwebs, dead flies and dust.
Will we go back? Most definitely, and hopefully we can convince a few friends to tag along as well. The drive from Dallas to Marfa was about nine hours (yikes!) but went really quickly.
Not to mention there are a few quirky roadside attractions to visit if you feel so inspired. In Odessa alone we stopped and saw a scale replica of Stonehenge, a six-foot tall Jackrabbit sculpture and the Odessa meteor crater. Who knows what we might discover on our next trip.
Happy Trails to you all!