Marfa is a tiny West-Texas town with a population less than 1,900 nestled somewhere between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park. Your average person is going to say “Where?” when you excitedly explain where you’re going on vacation, but the true adventurers and ultimately stylish will know exactly what awaits you on your journey. From San Antonio to Marfa is a five and a half hour drive (6 hours and twenty-five minutes when you opt for the scenic route, and here’s the deal – always opt for the scenic route).
The unsuspecting travelers will pass through Marfa, see the charming buildings and the one main intersection and drive by without a blink. But as you approach the main street and see City Hall prestigiously on one end and the pastel walls that coat each side of the street, you quickly realize that this place is something truly special.
Our first stop was checking in at Hotel Pasiano, a landmark and most famous after the cast of Giant stayed during filming. Unsure of what that means? Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean wandered up and down the same halls & staircase. It’s relatively untouched, but definitely well kept – in fact, they were doing paint touch-ups on the front desk when we walked in. The mood is opulence, and quickly sweeps you to a different time. There’s an art-gallery, a pool that feels like a lush oasis and a room dedicated to the aforementioned Giant where the movie rolls on repeat surrounded by memorabilia. Want to know the best room for the best rate? Room 224 – standard queen room with a european bathroom, but comes with a balcony that looks over the courtyard. There is no other way to stay. If you’re feeling tired and don’t feel like exploring just yet, just put on some fancy digs and head downstairs to the right and into Jett’s. Full menu and full bar filled with other patrons and locals. The food is delicious and you can grab a drink and casually enjoy the company of others in the bustling courtyard.
We arrived to Marfa on a Thursday, and now knowing about ‘Marfa Mentality’ we would bump up our stay to Friday. We slowly started realizing this trend when walking around the town – there were times where we’d see notes that just said, “Be right back… seriously”. We’re not making this up – see photo for proof. Some of the famed restaurants, or rather food trucks are only open for three days out of the week, sometimes only for three hours at a time. The only fast-food you can get in town is Dairy Queen, and they close promptly at 10:00pm if you’re lucky. It really is like stepping into an old-time picture, but some of the modern features and businesses keep Marfa teetering on the edge of the old and new.
Many come here to make the haj to the art Mecca of Prada Marfa. While that should definitely be on your list, the art galleries and locally owned businesses can fill the rest of your day, Freda's Store, Cast + Crew & Mirth to round out a couple of our favorites. What do you do when you’re missing Whole Foods and the Stripes gas station doesn’t carry Kombucha? Head over to The Get Go. Locally owned, fresh produce mixed with the highest quality of snacks and necessities.
Make sure you get your coffee at either the established Frama, adjacent to local laundry mat. It’s easy going and close to Hotel Pasiano. Locals and visitors gather in the small shop, which also doubles as an ice cream parlor. A newer addition to Marfa is the unique Do Your Thing, and it’s exactly that – a coffee shop in a gutted house with a visible, working kitchen where all pastries are made in-house where the pastry maker and baristas do their thing while you casually explore. It borders on an Urban Outfitters ad, and we’re pretty sure that the coolest girls in town not only own this, but hang here. Patricio opted for a Matcha Latte – which you know anywhere serving Matcha Lattes will stay deep in his heart.
Just across the way was an unmarked blue building called the Pizza Foundation. No signs, no fancy frills – Just a large room with a kitchen that serves really good pizza. Nothing more, nothing less – fresh ingredients, nothing alarming like truffles and corn, just good ol’ fashioned ingredients on thin crust. It was definitely the perfect way to step out of Marfa (and we even had some for the road).
We can’t say enough about Marfa – It’s magic. There’s a unique vibe that only increases when the pilgrims start to roll in on Friday afternoon. The locals are wonderful and vastly different, and everyone is there for a different reason. This has quickly become a place we want to revisit and learn even more about. Go with no expectations and a low tolerance for schedules and stop lights. You’ll leave changed after your sojourn to this desert oasis.