In the Texas Plains, Marfa's colorful past still illuminates
The Texas plains are every bit as inspiring and expansive as one might imagine. Waking up each morning to nothing but the whisper of wind as the only sound for miles while you watch the sunrise from a hammock as a tumbleweed rolls by (seriously) will make you feel as though this truly is the edge of the earth.
Once you've stopped for your obligatory photo in front of the Prada Marfa store (don't feel bad, we posed for a smooth 7 minutes and make no apologies), continue another few miles down the road and roll into the sleepy town of Marfa.
The quiet town has somehow managed to maintain itself as a haven for artists and independent small businesses for decades. It's the place where minimalist artist Donald Judd sought to house his large scale aluminum and stone structures. It could be because it's miles from any major grocery store with the exception of the small (and fairly pricey) The Get Go located in town. Or that it doesn't advertise a newly-built condo on every corner, or even any apartments or homes that have not already been occupied for years. Or because you blink and drive down the main road at 25 miles an hour and you've already seen the signs thanking you both for entering and leaving Marfa in under 10 minutes. In a strange way, while Marfa has been home to a small population for decades, it's also very much a transient town.
You'll likely have happened upon Marfa because you've seen the colorful photos of the boutique camping site El Cosmico (or Beyonce stunting in front of the Prada store a few years ago). That is also what propelled my best friend and I to compulsively purchase a pair of plane tickets and book a tent (I mistakenly thought I had reserved a teepee) and head to the plains of West Texas in March of this year.
El Cosmico offers the dream of living a rancher or cowboy/girl lifestyle out in the wide open spaces among cacti with cowboy boots and vintage rusted cars from the past. But it pads the dream a little for those who also prefer modern conveniences. And wi-fi. While you'll shower at the outdoor facilities, they will come complete with beautiful varnished wood facade and stone floor. And the water will be hot and a green canopy will shield you from bugs. And while your tent might get chilly inside at night as the desert temperatures drop off in stark contrast from the 90 degree day, the bed's mattress will come with a built-in heater that you can adjust along with rainbow colored blanket to keep you warm. Our last night we sat around a fire in a barrel wrapped in blankets while watching a local musician perform her acoustic guitar set under the stars. Three nights is about a fair amount of time to see all of Marfa. Twice. But there's so much more to read on about the history of this small town.
There are a few AirBnb options close by and there's a first class hotel "El Paisano" just up the road. But El Cosmico is a unique experience that you'll be grateful you came and had. A chance to connect with the person or the couple in the neighboring air stream trailer over coffee in the morning or on the way back to your tent from hitting the outdoor sinks.
Check out the Marfa Guide!
A sleepy little artists town with gems found behind every cactus. Come for the art, stay for the outdoor experience of a lifetime in the Texas plains. City Guide coming soon!
- Colorful Airstreams and tents to choose from.
- Evening concerts featuring local artists often.
- Concept stores including
- Hammocks for lounging around El Cosmico
- Store selling bohemian goods
- Few miles drive to see the Marfa Lights
- Located right next door to the famed Chianti Foundation featuring works by Donald Judd.