If Marfa were a pond & you fished it, you’d hook an artist on the first cast. Teeny-tiny, but crawling with creativity, Texas’s borderline pueblo is home to only 2,200 people, but loads of possibility.
Those were all the rules I needed
When I let a friend know that I’d be traveling to West Texas, she said, “When you’re in Marfa, go to the cowboy bar, just don’t let the cowboy take you home.” Those were all the rules I needed.
My first day in Marfa
I rambled up to the Lone Horse Saloon, lonely as a horse. I ordered an IPA at the bar, & the bartender wasn’t sure if they even had any IPAs. I looked around & everyone was gripping some beer called Lone Star. I’d never even heard of it. The bartender passed me a can of IPA, & I walked out to the fenced-in patio, thinking that if I want to fit in, I’d need to drink what they’re drinking.
But it didn’t take long before I realized that fitting in didn’t matter. All Marfans seemed to be misfits - strangely shaped wanderers, who meandered up from all over the globe in order to stake a claim on the middle of nowhere.
That day I met two funky teachers from the local high school, a couple of smartly-dressed artists, an ex-rocket scientist, & a pair of very authentic looking cowboys who donned the kind of drunk that I’d call “hospitable.”
These people are characters, & that’s the ultimate explanation for why the town & its businesses all seem to have so much damn character.
Brought into fashion by the innovative sculptor & renaissance artist Donald Judd, Marfa has a vibe to it that I’ve never experienced in a place before, although all of that seems to have come at a heavy cost for locals. The magnetic pull that the town has on artists drove property values up, making it impossible for some local folks to even afford their own taxes at this point.
While in town:
- Snag a trailer or a tipi at El Cósmico. If you are into authenticity & adventure travel, you’ll feel like me & truly never-ever want to leave.
- Get dinner at Cochineal (That seafood risotto tho!) & Stellina’s.
- Keep in mind that most restaurants are closed Monday & Tuesday, & on those days you’ll need to rely on the hotel restaurants in The St. George & El Paísano.