For years I’ve been hearing about this strange desert artist community out in West Texas. Finally, on tour across the country, I am hitting up all the places I always wanted to go but had excuses not to. Marfa, Texas is a simple little desert town with a row of galleries, a few quirky boutiques and independent designers making beautiful soaps, perfumes and leather shoes. The local watering holes are typical Texas-style saloons with creaky wood interiors, domestic beers on tap and of course, a stage for honky-tonk music.
TUMBLE IN 93320 Highway 90 / 67, Marfa, TX TumbleInMarfa.com
It was the Fourth of July and my trip was at a place where I came to the realization that I was officially alone. I was sleeping in the car tonight. I didn’t know anyone in town…a friend of a friend but, those plans fell through. I guess it was not only the countries Independence day but, also my own. However, I didn’t feel like celebrating. I was far enough away from friends and family now that my safety net of free room-and-board had been cut. This road trip is happening. I had 6000 miles ahead of me and it was starting to weigh on me emotionally, already.
I found a spot to park my car for the night that actually had extremely clean bathrooms, hot showers and most surprising, wifi. Only $15/night. There were a few RV’s out in the field away from my “campsite”, all elderly couples from the North East. Everyone greeted me as I walked up the gravel trail to the main building made of sheet-metal. It was already late in the day and dark out. The group popped off their own fire works which were pretty impressive. So much so that the police came and shut us down. Everyone invited me in for a buffet of BBQ and other such typical American-style picnic side dishes. I gladly ate the food and we chatted about travel and where we were from, where we were going. This would be the first of many times I would hear the words, “You are traveling alone?!” And I would reply, “Yes, alone”.
Marfa has plenty of art galleries but, don’t expect to come for big shopping excursions. There are, however a couple of cool boutiques that are well-curated. I found this little house/shop, Freda. I bought some locally -made rose water for my travels since I’m not a big perfume user and I knew there would be days ahead without showers. Later I would discover that bumble-bees also like rose water.
FREDA: 207 S. Highway Ave, Marfa TX 79843 Hours: Wed-Sun 12-6 Shop-Freda.com
The next shop I fell in love with were shoe cobblers’ who only make one style of shoe. Just one. But, they are gorgeous perfect ankle boots. One day I’ll come back when I can buy a pair of these lovely $500 boots. Owners Colt & Logan let me watch them craft a pair of custom shoes in their store/workshop.
COBRA ROCK BOOT CO. 107 S. Dean Street, Marfa, TX 79843 Hours: Wed-Sun 11-5 CobraRock.com
I was desperately trying to find a vintage store and finally I found one in the middle of town. Alas, they are only a pop-up shop. Marfa seems to work around events, film festivals and New Years Eve throw downs at the famous El-Cosmico. The cute vintage shop run by Lindy and Lisa is aptly named “Ranch Dressing”. Not really sure how you can keep up with these gals or their whereabouts but, they say they come to Marfa now and then. I guess I got lucky.
RANCH DRESSING, Pop-up shop:
It was a hot hot day in the middle of summer in the desert. Marfa was very sleepy and I decided to head towards El Paso since I had quite a ways ahead of me. As I was driving west I saw the famous Prada exhibit and pulled over. How the hell did I forget about it? Anyway, I got my famous Beyonce imitation photo. Please keep in mind when visiting, this exhibit is NOT in Marfa, it’s in Valentine, TX.
Keep driving and what else did I discover? Another art exhibit with the Playboy bunny vaulted upright and an old 70s (Charger?) tilted on a platform. At night the bunny glows with neon lighting (the cow’s are not part of the exhibit). Side note: This exhibit may no longer be up as, apparently, the artist/Playboy does not have a permit to advertise here and the residents find it offensive. Read the article/watch the video HERE. I guess I got lucky.
Thank you to the first of many people to come that have been generous and warm to a stranger: Roy Peterson, Vern & Carolyn Rosson, William McNeel and Cory.