Marvelous Marfa|Texas

Holiday InnMiles from nowhere, Marfa, Texas, was barely a speck on the map when the artist  Donald Judd  first rented a house there in 1971.  A three hour drive from the nearest airport, it sits at the intersection of US 90 and 67 on a great highland plain, at an altitude of almost 5000 feet. This post focuses on everything not Judd and/or Chinati related, which will be covered in the next installment. When you schedule your visit, be sure to allow time to wander around the streets of Marfa and soak up the atmosphere.

Fun Fact:  the town’s name comes from a character in Fyoder Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. 

City Hall
Presidio County Courthouse built in 1898

Marfa’s evolution from railroad water-stop to modern art mecca began in the mid-1980s when the Chinati Foundation opened to the public. More recently, a new generation of artists and entrepreneurs has brought renewed interest and development. El Paisano CourtyardThat being said, the town retains a mid-20th century charm and almost every destination can be reached on foot or bicycle. Hotel options include Hotel Paisano, built in 1930 and true to that era, or the newly opened Hotel St. George. A word to the wise: if you stay at the latter (where we stayed and we loved it), request a room away from the railroad tracks!

Do Your Thing Coffee copy
Do Your Thing Coffee Shop

Start the day with breakfast at Do Your Thing or Tumbleweed Laundry – a café and laundromat. Thus fortified, you can head in any direction and come upon unique shops, art galleries or just funky photo ops.Cast + Crew

One of my favorites shops is  Cast+ Crew (above) with its eclectic collection of mid-century furniture and 21st century design.

Marfa Cast + Crew Interior copy
Some of the goods on offer at Cast + Crew

Cobra Rock Boot Signage

Literally around the corner, Cobra Rock Boot Company is a must-see, even if you can’t or won’t buy their exquisite hand-made boots.

Cobra Rock Boot + Colt Miller
Cobra Rock Boot Company Partner Colt Miller

Meanwhile, in addition to the bold-name art installations, there are several more intimate galleries right in the middle of town.

Art Workshop Gas StationMarfa Contemporary  is housed in a former gas station. The collective offers rotating exhibits, classes for adults and children free of charge,  and artists-in-residence programs. Ballroom MarfaBallroom Marfa has a terrific exhibition program and they are responsible for Prada Marfa, actually located in Valentine. This may be one of the most photographed spots in West Texas.Maggie@PradaMarfaI spent hours in  the Marfa Book Company (inside the Hotel St. George)  They have great art and art-related books as well as a terrific selection of lithographs, monoprints, and ceramics by local artists.Food Shark Truck with Cars copyI could have eaten lunch every day  (except Monday or Tuesday when they are closed) at Food Shark and they now serve dinner behind the truck at FoodSharkLand.  My husband was enamored of the vintage cars that formed a wall/art installation out front. We had excellent meals at Stellina and Cochineal. Make your reservations well ahead for dinner as these two restaurants are in tremendous demand.Golden Hour

Lastly, ride a bike (Marfa has a bike share program) or drive around the outskirts of town to take in the fabulous landscape, if possible in the early morning or late afternoon. It will be one of the highlights of your trip.



16 thoughts on “Marvelous Marfa|Texas

      1. I thought it looked too small to be a city! Bizarrely, it’s Google maps that describes it as one… Maybe it’s the administrative centre for all that nothing that surrounds it 😉 And how about a series of Texan Beasties with cowboy boots and really big belt buckles? 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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