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Photo: Beatrice Helman

Making The Most of Marfa, Texas

Our guide to the most artsy small town in Texas.

Marfa’s quaint, almost deserted feel creates a serenely unique atmosphere that has been attracting a mix of fashionable New York transplants and lovable old timers since its rise to fame in the 1970’s, when artist Donald Judd relocated there from New York City with his family.

Today, this West Texas outpost is favorite destination for art lovers, who flock to the dessert in order to explore The Chinati Foundation– an art museum conceived around the ideas of Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, and Robert Chamberlain, with a rotating cast of others exhibited in various buildings around Marfa.

Others come for the very instagrammable quirky vibe and relaxed sense of community– which is why photos of Prada Marfa and various other  Marfa-based art pop-ups and fashion shoots have been popping up on Instagram over the course of the last several years.

On a recent trip to Marfa, our staff observed people renovating a bungalow with integrity, using chicly appropriate landscaping that was respectful of and suitable for the climate. We enjoyed walking the streets coffee in hand as the occasional tumbleweed blew by– taking in the natural beauty that is so vital for our mental and physical health.

Below are some of our favorite spots.

Image via The Chinati Foundation

The Chinati Foundation

When visiting Marfa, The Chinati Foundation is de rigueur. The town’s premiere art museum was conceived around the musings of Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, and Robert Chamberlain, whose works are all on display, with a rotating cast of other artists’ work exhibited in various buildings around town. Like Dia:Beacon, Judd’s other project in Beacon, New York, the buildings are often as compelling as the art itself.

The Get Go Grocery Store

The Get Go is one of those rural Texas staples that can only exist in Texas– a mix of mass consumer necessities and charming local brands pack the shelves at Marfa’s favorite grocery store. Here you’ll find everything from Marfa-made goat cheese and Marfa brand soaps to Big Bend roasted coffee and Topo Chico from across the border. There’s also fresh produce, ice cream, and other sundries.

Do Your Thing Coffee

We love the house made scones and cosy ambiance at Do Your Thing Coffee— a great place to get toast and a cup o’ joe while supporting local art. FWIW: the shortbread is excellent, as is the seasonal “green shakshuka” with Bulgarian yogurt, nigella seeds, avo, and serrano. So delicious!

Image via @jackieleeyoung

The Pool at Hotel Saint George

The town keeps maturing with really good food, shopping, art, galleries, farmers market but all in balance in a beautiful natural wild Texas kind of way. Restaurant have their own unique hours and many shops have “text us and we will be right there” notes stuck on the doors. The pool at the new, chic Hotel Saint George opens to the community after 4pm. There’s just a wonderful community feel all-around.

The Cheshire Cate Antique Store in Alpine, Texas

Whether you’re a seasoned antique shopper or just looking for a little local color, The Cheshire Cat in Alpine, Texas has something for everyone. Here you’ll find great bargains on everything from furniture to decor fixtures that can only be found in the old west– like vintage American Indian jewelry, antique silver, and handmade furniture. This is a great place to stop en route to or on the way back from Big Bend National Park.

El Cosmico

We love the colorful striped bathrobes at El Cosmico, among so many other aspects of this charming trailer park/ teepee/ futuristic shelter hotel. El Cosmico is primarily known for its iconic, colorful trailers that you can rent like a hotel room for one night or several, but the teepee accommodation, safari tents, and futuristic bohemian yurts are also worth the stay. Rooms include access to bathhouses (thus the bathrobes), a hammock grove, outdoor kitchens, bike rentals, and wood-fired dutch hot tubs. One of the most unique hotels anywhere!

Dirt

Cactus and vintage clothes reign supreme at Dirt, the brainchild of Taylor Livingston and Alan Dickson, who envisioned the creative shop as a place to stock “grounding and uplifting items,” mostly cacti. The duo’s iconic green truck and garden are open Thursday through Tuesday from 10 to 5 PM. At 4,000 elevation, the days are hot and the nights are chilly, which makes for a lovely combination and even rarer flora. We love seeing cacti thriving next to roses.

The Water Stop

Right next door to Dirt, The Water Stop serves up southern style Texas staples, from organic rotisserie chicken with mac and cheese and kale with bacon jam (recommended) to diner-style breakfast sandwiches (above). The avocado toast is also just as good as you can get it in LA.

Image via @UrbanBetty

The Capri at Thunderbird Hotel

In Marfa you can stay in a cool airstream or a fashionable hotel, eat breakfast burrito from a food truck, or have drinks and dinner in the sublime garden at The Capri. Like all of the newer hotels in the area, the Thunderbird’s tranquility is rendered all the more effective as there are no planes flying in and out of the town, nor are there sirens– just gorgeous vistas during the day and star-filled skies at night.

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