Weird West Texas Desert: Marfa

You may have heard of this place… a mysterious small town… a minimalist artist’s hub… home of the lone Prada “store” art installation. Along with other monumental wonders like the dim-lit Stardust Motel sign and the Marfa Lights, this is a lonely pocket of the West Texas desert. There are many hidden wonders to observe in such small towns. On the surface you can only grasp so much… and when you talk to the locals there’s so much more to discover. We even heard there used to be a lonely “World’s Smallest Target Store” art installation as well, but has since been torn down.

Prada Marfa

It’s no secret getting out of Texas is a road trip itself. We left Austin around 7 am to make the six-hour drive out to Marfa by mid-afternoon. We were greeted pleasantly by the front desk of our boutique hotel, the Thunderbird, which even had old-school brass key rings instead of card keys. We are in another world that’s for sure. So we unloaded our bags, loaded the mini-fridge with some libations from our cooler, and headed to the pool.

Unfortunately, we noticed that most Marfa businesses operate Wednesday through the weekend. We had begun our stay on Monday and Tuesday. Bummer! But that didn’t deter us from generally exploring what we could during our two-night stay.

Someone in our yoga class said, “We’re on Italian time.” I wasn’t sure what that meant until we talked to our Milanese tattoo artist in Santa Fe. He said the only reason Italians know about Marfa is from the Prada installation and their tourism grew since it was erected. A few businesses run sporadic hours, maybe because they’re well off from tourism, but I’m not sure. Some businesses did not survive 2020’s lockdown and are taking time off to renovate and hopefully reopen.

Vintage Thunderbird Restaurant sign (pictured left)

It was pretty windy when we arrived and I wondered how this outdoor yoga class would be in the desert… dusty. Normally classes take place outdoors, under the sky (Big Sky Yoga) onsite at the Bohemian El Cosmico grounds. Instead, we headed to the main street to a communal residency building across from various art galleries and boutiques. It was a small class of mostly experienced yogis, all very welcoming. I recalled when someone mentioned “Italian time” as I noticed next door two women sharing a bottle of wine, laptops closed done for the day, curbside of the Stellina Mart: a petite bodega. Salud!

Everyone we met asked us if we were staying at the El Cosmico and now I wish we had! The natural property is gorgeous and expansive. There are several ways to shelter at this place: yurts, teepees, self-camp, airstreams trailers, safari tents, and the Brite Building (where our class was held). There’s even a glamorous micro-home called Cosmic Kasita, composed of high-quality eco-materials and designed with a lighting and color scheme that embodies the El Cosmico ethos. Well, till next time!

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