Traveling is my biggest passion. Shit, it is also one of the best forms of therapy for me. These past couple of weeks have been a little rough, I am currently undergoing a huge transition in my life- after making a gigantic career move, I decided to pursue my dreams and now find myself deep in the hustle of working to get there. Like I said, traveling isn't just my passion but is also a form of therapy for me. It is one of the few occasions in which my mind can completely lose itself in the moment and focus on something else rather than myself. It was the first time in a long time that my boyfriend and I had two days off and at the same time...so we drove off to Marfa, Texas.
As a passionate traveler and committed Instagram user, I had heard wonderful things about Marfa, TX - which is a very popular destination for travel aficionados. I heard all sorts of things about it being a psychedelic town and a hub for a lot of great art and exhibitions. Well, Marfa was all of this and more. Even though we were only there for 3 days and two nights, I feel like it was one of the most magical, adventurous, and funnest getaways I've done.
Thoughts on Marfa:
Marfa is full of vibes and such a mystery, it's a really small town completely surrounded by desert...exactly what you would expect of West Texas. The whole scenery makes you feel like you are in a Western or Wild Wild West movie, it is almost hard to believe that places like that still exist in the United States. In fact, it is so small that you can practically walk everywhere. My boyfriend and I tried to use our phone's GPS system to navigate certain places we wanted to visit and failed at every chance because we did not have any phone service during our entire stay and everything was so close to each other that sometimes we would end up passing right through everything without ever noticing that the restaurant where we wanted to eat or store that we wanted to visit was actually almost like a neighbor to our hotel. The people at Marfa are extremely nice and friendly and we loved that there were tourists from all over the world. During breakfast at one of the restaurants, we heard a couple ordering in Swedish! A lot of its residents are Hispanic. And yes, there are so many museums and exhibitions from different New York artists that decided to leave an essence of themselves in Marfa.
It was unfortunate that the whole town decides to shut down almost every museum and restaurant operations during Mondays and Tuesdays, which are the days that we visited. So if you want to visit Marfa, I would suggest going anytime from Wednesday-Sunday. There were a lot of museums we weren't able to go to but it was all good because I felt like we got what we went for, a place to chill and forget about everything.
I have a slight obsession with boutique hotels and staying at places that make you have a completely different experience than typical franchise hotels. For that reason, we stayed at El Cosmico- which is a brand hotel from Bunkhouse Group (the same group that owns Hotel Saint Cecilia and Hotel San Jose in Austin, Tx). It was different from what I expected, not necessarily in a bad way, just different. Upon arriving, I realized that I was literally going to be sleeping in the dessert and camping out...call it what you want, a very expensive form of camping out, but camping out it was.
We stayed in a tent because all of the teepees were reserved for at least 2 months ahead and we really wanted to feel like we were camping. The tent cost us about $80 dollars/night and had extremely comfortable beds, which had bed warmers to keep you warm during the chilly evenings. They weren't kidding when they said that evenings in the desert could get extremely cold. During the day it was extremely hot and during the evening it was extremely cold- my boyfriend and I woke up to a 35 degree fahrenheit morning, exhaling chilly breath and shivering. Our last night in the tent, a desert storm woke us up in the middle of the night...we slept with one eye open for the remainder of that evening. Imagine waking up to your whole tent moving and flapping around, almost in a violent manner, in the middle of f*cking nowhere...I felt like we were about to face a UFO abduction. Of course, the next morning my boyfriend and I could not stop laughing about the whole ordeal and even so more after hearing another person in the check-out line complain about the wind last night...I bet she also slept with one eye open.
If you rent a tent or teepee, you have to use the community restrooms and showers...which was fun for us because it was something else to add to our "wild west" and camping experience.
Overall, El Cosmico was all that it promises to be...a magical place to relax and lose yourself in time. It has great space, a ton of hammocks, and great spots for Instagram pictures. It truly was an experience.
As stated before, most of the eatery places and city functions do not operate on Mondays or Tuesdays so our options were very limited. However, El Cosmico gave us great recommendations.
On Day 1, we ate dinner at Jett's Grill, which is located inside Hotel Paisano. Both the restaurant and hotel are very historical and reputable. It was a nice dining experience and the staff was very friendly and welcoming.
On Day 2, we ate at Marfa Burrito, which apparently is notorious for celebrity spotting because on one of their walls hanged a picture of the owner smiling under the embrace of Matthew Mcconaughey. The burritos, which were good, are mainly breakfast items and were big enough for two people to share.
On Day 3, we ate at La Trattoria, which is an Italian restaurant in the nearby city of Alpine. We ordered meatball tapas and one of their pizzas. We never imagined finding such good Italian food in the middle of the desert but man was it good! Just an FYI, even Texas Monthly has featured La Trattoria in a couple of their articles.
Other places we wished we could've tried were: Food Shark, Do Your Thing Coffee, Pizza Foundation, and Boyz2Men.
Marfa's pride is its heavy art scene so to select a few galleries or exhibitions, feels like I am undermining the importance of the others but nonetheless here are some of the ones we visited or wished to visit: Prada Marfa, Marfa Mystery Lights, Marfa Book Co., Chinati Foundation, and Marfa Contemporary.
There are so many surrounding cities and areas to hike, we decided to make a quick trip to Big Bend National Park. It is only about 1.5 hours to get there from Marfa, depending which route you take. Big Bend was magical, in every sense of the word. First of all, it is HUGE. To go to different hiking trails within the park takes you about 30 min- 1 hr of car time. Then, each trail usually takes anywhere from 30 min - 2+ hrs to hike. We only had time for two trails so we hiked the Grapevine Trail to see the Balanced Rock and the Santa Elena Canyon Trail.
We were amazed at all the different types of habitats contained within one park- there are huge canyons and desert spaces in some areas, then you will find bodies of water in other areas. It was truly one of the best hiking experiences I've ever had. We were scared to bump into a black bear or wild cat but thankfully we didn't! However, we did see a javelina, road runners, deer, and a various collections of cacti. We also carried lots of water and stayed hydrated. To our comfort, it was nice to know that within the park there are several spots where you can stop to refresh yourself, buy water and drinks, and even stop for gas.
For more galleries click on the this link: Marfa Arts.