We’d been planning to spend a weekend in Marfa a small town in west Texas for ages. Staying in El Paso provides the perfect opportunity to visit this tiny artsy town being only about a 2.5 hour car drive away. Other people, celebrities included, travel for much longer, sometimes for days to scratch the Marfa itch and tick it off the travel wish list. Getting to Marfa was not only quick and easy (for us) but it cost zero in gas because we got ourselves a Tesla (electric/badass/only the future).
Our first stop after charging the car for 30 minutes in Van Horn was… Prada! This is about a 10 minute drive outside of Marfa in the middle of nowhere. Yes it’s a shop (or not) designed to torture shopaholics. It looks like a Prada store with shoes ‘n’ all but alas it’s actually an art installation.
Or maybe it’s an evil shop cast out of Manhattan for being sooo last season and tossed into no man’s land for all of eternity? I then read the sign next to it which explains what it actually is.
What I missed out on in shoe shopping I made up for in photo taking. It seems to be what you do in Marfa. You take photos of the fake Prada shop (and admire it’s artistic genius at the same time of course).
From Prada to Marfa
After passing an alarming amount of splatted birds and bunnies, the victims of Marfa pilgrimers hurtling down the winding road in camper vans, we arrived. Hmmm…. where are we? No really… this place is…. odd. Cute. Quirky. Definitely… different.
“Is this it?” my unimpressed and completely not into art or anything hip travel buddy asked. “Let’s just check in and take a look around” I say. “Beyonce came here for f**k’s sake this place is cool we just have to hunt the cool”.
And so we did… by foot. We found the Hotel Saint George, it took about 60 seconds because if we’d driven for any longer we would have passed through Marfa and been on our way to San Antonio. Eager beavers as per usual we turned up at 2pm and couldn’t check in until 3pm so we left our stuff in the car and went for a wonder.
The Trek To Food Shark
We’d passed the famous Food Shark truck on our drive in and wanted whatever it was serving pronto. We headed back towards it and after a few minutes my hipster strut became a hapless hobble. I decided that my sport wedges were a f**king ridiculous idea and cursed the fact I didn’t pack my flip flops. This is a regular occurrence on most trips, usually taking place within the first 30 minutes of arriving.
Food Shark was much further away than it had appeared to be when we drove past it in the car. It must have been an illusion. Or maybe it was Marfa deliberately deceiving the tourists by moving stuff about for some kind of art experiment that only the locals were in on. Small towns induce my paranoia.
Sunburn & Tumbleweed
Marfa is nestled in the middle of the high plains of the Chihuahua Desert and it has a rather unforgiving climate. The sun was beating down and burning my forehead. Sun lotion, cap… me? Not today and probably not tomorrow. April’s gale force winds whipped my hair into an unflattering frenzy and blasted sand into my eyes. A large tumbleweed rolled past a Dairy Queen.
Three blisters later and through squinted eyes we spot the gleaming silver Food Shark truck. No it wasn’t a mirage… the Marfalafel was the real deal and worth the foot pain and eye pain and bad hair pain. On the walk back to our hotel we stopped by that Dairy Queen. We felt like we deserved some ice cream.
Related: Marfa Texas Photo Journal
Dairy Queen debate about the Hotel Saint George:
Him: I just can’t believe that’s the entrance though, you would never know that’s the door you go through.
Me: Well, it was easy enough to find and I like how it’s understated.
Him: It’s ridiculous.
Me: It’s cool.
Him: It’s trying so hard to be cool that it’s not cool.
Me: It’s not trying hard to be cool at all, that’s why it’s cool.
We proceed to check in to the Hotel Saint George and both agree that it is actually very cool.
Charging up at El Cosmico
Next we headed off to El Cosmico to charge the Tesla. Yes El Cosmico has a Tesla destination charging station NOW THAT is super cool, we both agreed on that one. You could say that El Cosmico is the most adventurous place to stay in Marfa with Tepees, trailers, yurts and safari tents for rent.
We explored the El Cosmico campground and had a peek in the shop. We bought some peach ice tea (we did use their free Tesla charger after all) but decided something a little stronger would really hit the spot. The Hotel Paisano’s court yard held the solution in the form of a perfect Martini.
Chilling at The Hotel Paisano
I enjoyed the chilled ambience, the water fountain in the center, muffled chit chat of locals greeting each other, dogs sleeping under the tables and the hummus which was damn delicious. I could have sat in the Hotel Paisano’s courtyard all night if the Martini’s had kept coming. Unfortunately… I got cut off.
We took a leisurely stroll around the large Presidio County Courthouse and then walked back to the hotel where we slept for a few hours before dinner at LaVenture. A restaurant conveniently located 2 floors down from our hotel room in the Saint George. The plan was to roll ourselves there in our PJs. One shared charcuterie board, a huge plate of pappardelle pasta, a glass of Malbec, a mule cocktail and a shared chocolate ganache slice later we roll ourselves back up to the room.
We did debate going out for a few drinks, you know like fun people do, but the 5 billion thread count soft as butter sheets in our room seemed like a much better idea.
To sum up my weekend in Marfa
We didn’t actually need to hunt the cool. Well we attempted to at first and it made my feet hurt. But there was nothing to hunt. It was all just there. Marfa is just there. It is what it is and doesn’t try. It doesn’t even open for half the week. Marfa doesn’t give a f*ck. I can’t put my finger on exactly why I like Marfa so much. I do though. I do get it.