If you read our article on Austin and how amazingly weird it is, you definitely need to visit Marfa, Texas too. Population of about 2,500 or so, Marfa is between Big Bend National Park and the Davis Mountains. It is a quaint, small town in the middle of nowhere in West Texas. I had the privilege of checking out this strangely delightful place to attend the Trans Pecos Festival of Music and Love last week. Whether you are headed to New Mexico or en route to San Antonio, make the scenic drive, loose cell service, and check out some of the funky things Marfa has waiting for you!
Boyz 2 Men Taco Trailer: This vintage Airstream hangs out on San Antonio Street and is open most days until about 3pm. It is run by two eccentric men who hand you the “menu of confusion” as you walk up to the taco trailer. By the time you receive your chorizo tacos or cheese grits your brain will feel like mush. The menu is hand written with lines crossing out words and purposefully misspelled dishes make you think you are losing your mind! Once you have a clear understanding of what you want to ask, be ready to go down the rabbit hole further as they shout your order back at you backwards and inaccurately. It is silly, odd, and an entertaining way to feed yourself in Marfa.
Bonus: Check out the handmade jewelry vendors that are situated on the same block.
El Cosmico: This is the venue that actually hosted the 2014 Trans-Pecos Festival. The festival is 3 days of killer music, camping, food trucks, and rad folks from all over the world. In which case though you are making the trip to Marfa before the next fest, I would highly suggest crashing out at El Cosmico. It is an 18-acre plot of land that offers accommodations ranging from luxury tee-pees, sweet retro trailers with full amenities, or space to pitch your tent under those infamous Texas stars. The space is magical, the sunsets to die for, and the hammocks situated under oak trees wrapped in Christmas lights make you feel serene. Bring your own food to cook out, or walk back into town to eat some confusing street food. Campsites start at $14/night and free wifi is available in the property lobby. A Marfa must!
Grilled Cheese Parlour: Who doesn’t want grilled cheese between the hours of only 9:30pm-12:30am? If you make it all the way to Marfa, you have to save room for a midnight snack here. The Grilled Cheese Parlour is also found on San Antonio Street, and its byline name is “electronic wonders”. This is because the funky parlour itself is decorated with vintage TVs, 8-track players, and old fluorescent lighting. All the TVs are powered on and each one is lit up in black and white with a human face looking at you…periodically changing facial expression. Walk up to the tiny window inside, order the vegetarian grilled cheese, and take in the spectacularly bizarre atmosphere. The oddity climaxes further…but I will let you drive to Marfa to get the full gist.
Marfa Book Co.: Immaculately kept, located on Highland Avenue with a view of the courthouse down the street, Marfa Book Company is a break from all the other randomness you may encounter in this strange town. The store owner usually sits out front with his little dog and opens the door for you. The store itself is lovely and if you are a book nut like me, you will really enjoy all the variety. There are common titles found in chain bookstores and also many books geared towards Big Bend, contemporary art, and architecture.
Bonus: If the huge sliding door is open at the back of the bookstore, peer into the art gallery that is hiding out!
For being such a small town, Marfa is worth the drive. It is on the verge of “developing” further, so check it out now, while it is still humble and adorably random.
PS: On your drive out, maybe you will see the desert Prada store…
Have you been to Marfa? What did you find there?