Marfa, Texas should be unremarkable. Instead, it’s an artistic paradise on the Texas edge of the Rio Grande. It’s a cultural center where dozens of artists – and even more tourists – find themselves and collect lapel pins, bongs, and bumper stickers. Today’s Marfa came into being in the 1970s when Donald Judd, a well-known minimalist, bought parts of the city. Since then, cooks, artists, thinkers and dreamers have moved in.
Marfa has a bit of everything: history, art and secrets grow in the border wilderness of West Texas. At the Hotel Paisano, where the Giant cast and crew stayed during filming, guests can walk in the footsteps of Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean. In the empty wastelands outside the city, they make a pilgrimage to Prada Marfa. This art project is a lonely man-made outpost of a designer boutique stocked with Prada bags and shoes, as well as strange desert bugs that have found their way into the bulletproof glass walls.
As for the secrets, the Marfa lights, strange spheres that spontaneously dance on the hazy horizon, have lasted for over a hundred years. Only the lucky ones will see them in the viewing area and in the visitor center. Or there is the riddle of what makes Marfa Burrito so intoxicating that guests come as early as 6 a.m. The ‘Queen of Burritos’ runs the restaurant from her own home, where the scent of homemade tortillas and chorizo fills the air.
To experience Marfa, tourists stay at El Cosmico. El Cosmico is a vaguely nomadic glampground with renovated retro trailers in cheerful yellow tones, yurts and tipis. People come just to dream in desert colors and hide from the sun in a hammock.
In addition, Plano visitors can even get a foretaste of their homeland. Marfa’s Tumbleweed Laundry, a laundrette and café, serves Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream. Marfa is truly a city that has everything a restless wanderer could ever find.
Originally published as part of the Weekend Getaways May / June 2021 edition. For those who long for starlight, beaches and summer breezes: Texas Highways give you a call. From rugged rock canyons to the comfort of a hill country, Texas destinations are ready to welcome weary travelers. If you feel cooped up this year, it’s time to run free.