June 27, 2011

A mini-break in Marfa

Let me just say, it was hot camping in West Texas this weekend. But we had a really great time and it was super nice to just get away from everything, for a little while.

Marfa wasn't really what I expected—I'd heard things about it being a hopping artist's community and found it to be kind of a ghost town. Very few stores and restaurants were open and the population of more than 2,000 seemed to be hiding indoors. Many of the people we ran into at our campsite and the two movie showings were actually from Austin. The mysterious Marfa lights didn't show themselves, either.

Regardless, it was definitely a worthwhile and fun trip. We got to spend the weekend with good friends, see a couple of movies in their element, visit a very cool observatory, see an absolutely stunning night sky and (attempt) to shake loose the grasp of city living.

Emily and Wes found a funky campground for us to stay at—El Cosmico.

Although there were yurts, trailers and a teepee to rent, we went the good-old-fashioned tent route. Our tent was the biggest there, and quite spacious for the four of us. It was lovely at night, once the area had cooled off. But we were up and out before 10 every day; otherwise it was just sweltering in there.

We got in Friday afternoon, and once we'd set up our living area, made a trip to the grocery store and eaten, it was time for the first movie, No Country for Old Men, which was showing in a field next to a local motel.

We drove out to the Marfa Lights Observation Station afterward in the hopes of catching glimpses of the famed unexplained phenomenon, but to no avail.

On Saturday, we got up, got showered in the very airy and open bath house, and then went looking for coffee and breakfast. We found the coffee easily enough—at a shop, Frama, attached to a local laundromat—but finding breakfast was a feat. We finally settled on Mando's, one of the only open restaurants in town, and it was very good.

We then went back to main street, and wandered around for a bit. Most of it seems to be owned by a company named Judd, but very few establishments looked open, or even inhabited.

We then headed out to Fort Davis and the McDonald Observatory. I think we were all expecting something far less museum-y, but it was really very impressive. And the views were quite panoramic!

We headed back into town, stopped for dinner at Pizza Foundation, which was super good, and then to the second movie, Giant, which had been set up on the main street in town, outside of the Hotel Paisano. The stars of the movie—Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, etc.—stayed there during filming.

On Sunday, we got up, packed up and took a short jaunt to Prada Marfa before driving back to Austin. It really is in the middle of nowhere.

A big thank you to the Hamptons for inviting us along!


  1. Well, I'm super glad you had fun, but I'm sad to hear that Marfa wasn't as artsy fartsy as I'd heard! I can only image how hot it must have been, but it looks like it was a fun break :D The Prada store cracks me up!

  2. Ooo, I've always wanted to visit Marfa, mainly for the lights! :D Or at least, to hopefully catch a glimpse of them! ;)

  3. Megan-Yeah. The town has such promise!

    Angie-We were so bummed they didn't make an appearance.

  4. This sounds like a great place to visit! I'm all about the weirdness. Too bad it was not as artistic as you were hoping.

  5. I actually just wished there was more to do, since we drove all that way. But still, worth it. :)

  6. Haven't been camping in some time. Funny how different it looks on the other side of the country.

  7. Oh, definitely. I haven't ever camped in Texas before; all my experience is in California and Oregon, both of which look super different.