City Guide: Marfa, Texas

Boketto City Guides are odes to our favorite places. This is a weekly micro-series by Team Boketto. This week we head west with our Creative Director to the city of Marfa, Texas to talk about touchstones, tacos, and trains. 

 

Maybe the World is Just too Loud

Sure. Marfa has changed a lot since my first visit in 2004, but I’m not one to lament “it’s not the same as it used to be…” because what’s special about Marfa remains. And it’s not what you think. Yes, there’s art deluxe. Yes, great food, too. And yes, you’ll get good Instagram. But what sets Marfa as my touchstone, is there’s no place to be once you arrive. Getting there is the journey and the destination. What happens in Marfa is the punctuation on your trip, pick the one you want, comma, em dash, ellipse.

PRO TIP: If you travel through El Paso, make time to have a meal at H&H Coffee Shop

Marfa is a place where there’s little to do, but much to fill your time. If you’re a planner, do so with a loose grip. Shop hours are not always posted, and when they are it’s quite likely that when you arrive the door will be locked with no one there. Certain days of the week, and seasons of the year means multiple days with few amenities open. 

Rather, wake up, linger, and let the day’s vibe take you. When the wind blows— stop, listen and lean into it. Feel your molecules getting a good massage. The spaces inside of you wiggling open. When the train passes through town, marvel. Every time. Applaud when the show is over. I do.

PRO TIP: While the Chinati Collection Tour is the popular ticket, I think the Judd Foundation Studio Tour is where it’s at.

Speaking of the train and wind, you might want to pack noise cancelling headset of some sort. Light sleeper or not, the train passes through at all hours and makes its presence known. Some conductors are real cautious/clowns and honk at a steady interval a mile out until they pass through town. At 2am. If you think the charms of this lonesome whistle might harsh your mellow, pack the plugs. And if you choose a tent or teepee at El Cosmico, the wind whipping against canvas is no joke. 

PRO TIP: Stripes has the best breakfast tacos in town. Stripes is the gas station.

You see, there's no place for convenience in regards to Marfa, Texas. 6 hours from Austin or San Antonio, 3 from El Paso. Remoteness is an essential part of Marfa’s lure, so is scarcity... it makes for an insular, private world. But what Marfa has in spades is West Texas light. From wherever you stand, you can see clear into next week. The edge of vision bounded by blue mountains, miles away. 

Director Kelly Reichart has said “Research is a lived thing.” I wholeheartedly agree. And comfort can get in the way of living research. (*Comfort* being the familiar through a high thread count.) The gift of Marfa is your edges will be tested, which makes more room for the new. And if they aren’t, you’re doing it wrong. 

PRO TIP: When you arrive go straight to The Get Go to stock up on staples.  

_________________

PACK
A straw hat and rugged shoes are de rigeur 
You’ll want to keep chapped lips at bay with 
The Stick
Don’ forget your Passport incase you head south an hour to Mexico
Quinton Hypertonic packs nicely and delivers much needed high-desert hydration
That book you haven't gotten to yet? You’ll have plenty of time as you siesta
The Texas sun is no joke, in comes 
Attar to rescue and repair your skin

STAY
El Cosmico
Thunderbird Hotel
airBnB

EAT/DRINK
Do Your Thing 
Marfa Burrito
Food Shark
Convenience West
Para Llavar
The Capri
Lost Horse Saloon

SHOP
Garza Marfa
Marfa Book Co
Freda
Cobra Rock
Moonlight Rock Store
Marfa Thrift
Wrong Store

DO
Chinati’s Robert Irwin Annex
See Marfa Lights 
Check out Presidio County Museum
Take a dip in Chinati Hot Springs
Visit the Terlingua Ghost Town
Attend a McDonald Observatory Star Party
Hike the Davis Mountains
... or head to Big Bend

 


Banner photo: Nick Simonite
All other photos courtesy of the author.