27 hours in Marfa (Texas!)June 13, 2016
We finally went to Marfa. I have wanted to visit ever since we first moved to Texas almost ten years ago, and we finally made it! It's an eerie place unlike any place I had ever been, but very worth it for a max of two nights. Not more. It is hard to get to (it is a three hr car drive from the nearest airport). But, if you love art and have a sense of adventure you will enjoy Marfa. We only spent 27 hours and loved every minute of it.
The weather was sensational and one of my favorite things were the colors out there....that sky! The views were expansive and freeing. Marfa is in the high desert at about 5,000 ft. above sea level, which made the weather cooler than I was expecting.
Visiting Prada Marfa was very cool (it is about a 35 min. drive from the center of Marfa). This installation by Elmgreen and Dragset was inaugurated in 2005 and has become a tourist stop ever since (below is our touristy must-photo). Read more about it here.
And of course this was such an instagram moment.
Here is the center of town. The building at the end is the courthouse. There are no traffic lights just a blinking light. The town is that small.
An important reason why Marfa is on the map is because Donald Judd, a famous American artist, moved here in 70s with his family. Here he worked on his large installations which you can now visit to experience his works and vision of how he thought we should live with art. You can visit his home and work studio through the Judd Foundation. This guided tour is about an hour and a half (no children under 12! We had to convince them our daughter was mature enough to come, after all she has been to plenty of world renowned museums already! and they did let her...phew!). Another must tour (but a lengthier one of about 3 hours. It is guided as well) is the fabulous Chinati Foundation where you can see Judd's works out in nature as well as that of other of his contemporaries (like Flavin and Chamberlain). This contemporary museum emphasizes works in which art and the surrounding landscape are inextricably linked. He believed art should be placed very thoughtfully and never moved again. The old Fort D.A. Russell that is now the museum was re-designed to have the buildings flooded with natural light (think artillery sheds, army barracks...). They were strict with cameras inside....but here are a few of Judd's installations at the Chinati Foundation.
More photos of the town-
Right when we arrived we had a quick and light lunch at Squeeze, a cute sandwich shop. They have some good dark chocolate bars and tip- bring a fly swatter!
Rejoice Marfa has a wonderful new boutique hotel- The St. George. It has everything you want from a boutique hotel...great art, cool spaces, an amazing book store, a fabulous restaurant called Laventure (so good!! I wish I could have had every meal here, but it is only open for dinner), fancy artisanal emoji candies, a pool (to open soon)....The best part Kevin Bacon was staying there too....we sat next to him at dinner and then at lunch the next day. He is filming a TV series pilot.
After dinner we drove 10 minutes to see the Marfa mystery lights. I was expecting a lightshow....but they are just a few different colored lights in the distance. The color and amount you may see vary every night. It's true they are still a mystery and even with all this modern science and technology they aren't sure why they light up. Bring some champagne or wine and enjoy the sunset here. It is beautiful with the Chinati mountains in the background.
We also visited a few local stores to seewhat they were about. I wasn't tempted, but it was fun to walk around. And we also visited some galleries.
Lunch before we left the next day was at Marpho, a Vietnamese sandwich concept. There aren't many eating options in Marfa, and every place runs on their own time (make sure you get a time schedule).
We also did have a drink at this cool bar called Capri. It also doubles as the Hotel Thunderbird's check-in counter.
And that is all the time we had for- 27 hours. A couple of tips- bring sturdy shoes (it's all rocks, and dirt here), and make sure you are fully informed as many places are not very kid or handicap friendly). All in all, we loved getting away and the amazing feeling being in the high desert gives you, the beautiful colors of nature, and we loved that the town was so eerie. The art is for sure the main attraction and we loved learning more about these artists.
Have you ever been? Is it in your bucket list?
[all photos by AC except the ones I'm in!)