Chris and I celebrated our anniversary last summer with a long weekend in Marfa. When our anniversary rolled around this summer, I remembered what a fun time we had. Now I can’t wait to go back! Although for our next visit, I’m thinking spring or fall would be a better time than July. What were we thinking?
Since people are interested and excited to hear that we’ve been to Marfa, I thought I’d share our itinerary and a few pointers for what to expect in this quirky west Texas town.
Marfa is a very small town (with a population of 1,700), which comes with idiosyncrasies and oddities. Marfa runs on its own schedule, which is unrelated to social conventions. For example: when we checked into our hotel, the hotel employee was stationed at the Capri restaurant rather than the hotel office, and hadn’t opened for lunch yet (it was 3 p.m.). We asked where we could go for lunch, to which he replied along the lines of, “Well, Food Shark should be open.” It wasn’t. Capri sometimes serves lunch on Sundays; Do Your Thing usually opens at [fill in the blank]. It was so funny!
Marfalist.org— a forum for locals to post about changes to hours of business, daily menus, etc. — was extremely helpful for navigating the unexpected.
Sleep / Thunderbird Hotel
Chris and I based our hotel choice on a single criterion: the pool. The Thunderbird offered a spacious pool on beautiful grounds in addition to its spare, functional rooms. The Thunderbird is located on the main strip of Marfa, and we found it easy to walk around town rather than taking our car.
We loved its chill atmosphere, which included TV-free rooms, Dear Clark toiletries, and geodes and animal skulls as decor.
Eat + Drink
Marfa has amazing food. It was to our benefit to walk everywhere considering how much these fatties ate.
On Saturday morning, Chris and I were surprised to find the town deserted, which is prime brunch hour in Fort Worth. Instead of bustling streets, we found every tourist crowded into Do Your Thing, which offered great coffee and locally-made pastries.
Capri (Thunderbird’s restaurant) – Saturday-afternoon BBQ, gnocchi, cocktails
Marfa Burrito – breakfast burritos (brush up on your Spanish, which is required to order)
Squeeze – butter & salami sandwiches, fresh-squeezed (get it?) juices
Cochineal – the DATE PUDDING will change your life
Jett’s Grill – pistachio-crusted chicken fried steak + margaritas
Planet Marfa‘s beer garden
While you walk off Cochineal’s date pudding, treat your eyes and your wallet to some amazing art and sites (for free!).
The Ayn Foundation has Andy Warhol’s The Last Supper on display.
Visit Donald Judd’s concrete structures at the Chinati Foundation at sunrise or sunset.
Although the Prada Marfa art installment is actually 35 miles outside of Marfa in Valentine, the Prada storefront is a great photo-op.
The Presidio County Courthouse is the highest point in the city, and you can walk right up to the top to check out its views. Careful: no AC up there, hence the lack of photographic evidence.
The Marfa mystery lights are a must! We saw the lights from the viewing area well after dark. There are so many explanations for the lights; however, once you see them in person the explanations fall short — they’re magic!
The shopping in Marfa is just as unexpected as the town itself. We had fun browsing at Wrong and Moonlight Gemstones, and we stopped in The Get Go to enjoy the AC and grab some Topo Chico and snacks.
If you live within driving distance, consider taking the trip to Marfa for a few days. You’ll have a blast, and you’ll leave with a good story or two.