When you mention to people that you’re going to Marfa, the usual response is “What the hell is that?”
Marfa, Texas: Home to roughly 1,000 interesting and quirky people, and an 8.5 hour drive from my house. This tiny town located just outside of Big Bend in the western wing of Texas is relatively small, but home to a wide variety of surprisingly neat and artistic attractions. It might also be one of my favorite places in the world, as of this past weekend.
Now, I wasn’t totally clueless when offered the chance to take a trip out to Marfa, but I certainly had no idea what to expect other than a fake Prada store and some cactus shit. The drive itself was enough to keep me from going all these years, so a trip there hadn’t really crossed my mind before. However, being that I love traveling and had some time to kill, I was in for the ride. My two friends and I had been invited to vend at Bazaar Marfa by a lovely lady known as Genevieve, who also lured us in with a sweet deal at an Airbnb location right down the street from the Bazaar. Seriously, such a score.
We left Thursday after filling the car to the brim…literally.
On the way to Marfa, we decided to take a scenic route and hit up Austin – namely, the Trader Joe’s in Austin. Who can pass up that $2.99 wine? Not us, obviously. So we bought four bottles, or something like that. And then we proceeded to buy the whole store. It probably wasn’t smart of us to go grocery shopping while hungry, but #yolo or whatever. We bought food for the whole trip because Marfa restaurants are expensive.
FYI, the chocolate cat cookies mixed with funfetti icing make for some hella good makeshift Dunkaroos.
Free stickers. Hollaaa.
Found this on the way. lolz.
6.5 hours (2:00am) and two shattered wine bottles later, we finally made it. Note: don’t stack the wine next to the door. It will fall.
Genevieve really hooked it up on the room. And that is only half of it.
8:00am setup time… that view though.
BAZAAR MARFA! We finally made it.
We had quite a few interesting people stop by and chat, but my favorite was this quirky mother of two who apparently was a highly-esteemed doctor with her own practice. One day she just decided she was over it, threw her phone into a river, and drove out to Marfa. Her original plan was to stay for just a couple weeks, but the day I met her she claimed it was six months later and there she was, still in Marfa. She then proceeded to tell us about her daughter who makes bank by drawing My Little Pony erotica, and her son, who has been helping the daughter take it digital.
Definitely my favorite customer that day.
Issue 3 made the trip!
Scored this from another vendor <3
This guy was interesting…that’s for sure.
Wishing this was for sale…
Across the street we found a killer thrift shop, Marfa Museum Thrift Store. We ended up going there multiple times. Apparently the “richies” drop stuff off on a daily basis, which was cool with me. Alec, the guy who works there, is great at hooking it up. He knows every single item in their donation mountain (it literally looks like a mountain). It’s nuts.
We found some fantastic matching suits.
And then we stopped by this place called Shop Freda, which is apparently just the ~coolest~ (also the tiniest). It was a little pricey for my budget, but they definitely had some neat stuff. Like these things.
Next stop was the famous El Cosmico – aka, the ultimate campground. They had everything from tents to teepees and trailers. They even had clawfoot bathtubs for guests. Say whaaaaat? But apparently if you want to stay there, you’ve got to reserve a spot months in advance.
Found these in their gift shop…
The following day, we stopped by the Rock Shop. I don’t know if a rock shop could ever exist and be this profitable in any other town, but it is in Marfa. The sweet older gentleman that runs the place knows any and everything you could ever want to know about rocks. Seriously. I, myself, ended up buying quite a few unique rocks to decorate my house with. On the receipt, I would’ve just written “The Yellow One” or something like that, but this guy knew and wrote down the scientific name for each rock I got. It was incredible, especially being that there were dozens of different rock types, and he just knew it all like the back of his hand. And on top of being a rock wizard, he also is incredibly skilled at making jewelry and cutting/sculpting the rocks. Go figure.
Upon leaving the Rock Shop, we noticed a gas station across the street where a man was selling cacti and other wild plants. Granted, we could’ve just pulled a cactus up out of the ground because they’re literally everywhere, but it looked too interesting not to stop by. The man selling these succulents was quite a character, just like many of the other local folks; he spoke with an electrolarynx, but managed to keep a sense of humor about it.
After a long day of working the Bazaar in the heat, we returned home and decided to take a stroll around the block to watch the sunset. The views out there were beautiful, to say the least. An hour or so later we returned home, only to be greeted by a snarling dog who had just finished eating nearly all of our food. Unbeknownst to us, Marfa has a wild dog problem. They’re everywhere. Even the ones with owners tend to run wild on the streets.
Later that evening, we stopped by a Late Night Grilled Cheese Parlour/Museum of Electronic Wonders.
Again, we were greeted by more wild dogs. Luckily this one was sweet.
Here are the ‘Electronic Wonders’… basically it is a room with a lot of old TVs and gadgets. Mostly TVs though. They apparently have the world’s largest collection of these weird space-age looking TVs. I guess it was cool. The grilled cheese sandwiches are good, but hella pricey for some cheese on bread.
Pictured below, you’ll see the infamous Marfa Prada store – which wasn’t actually in Marfa. Rather, it was in an even smaller town called Valentine. People have raved about this art piece for years, but it was just kind of ‘eh’ in real life. It’s literally just a store front with Prada purses and left shoes dating back to 2005, covered in spiderwebs and dead flies. There’s a small patch of gravel just off the highway so you can pullover and take pictures of it. Is it worth the 20-30 minute drive out from Marfa? I’ll let you decide. But you should know, there’s also Boquillas Hot Springs (Big Bend National Park), White Sands, New Mexico, and Balmorhea State Park all within a short driving distance as well.
That view though.
The last day of the Bazaar, we decided that we wanted to leave as much behind as possible. So, after asking around, I decided to stop by Marfa Book Co. to see if they’d be interested in stocking the last few issues of ANON I had with me. Instead of just a simple “yes”, the guy who runs the shop totally geeked out over issue 3, and bought both of my copies instantly. He has even asked for issue 4 once it comes out. Best part of the trip? I’d say so. <3
Across from the bookstore is a quaint little grocery store called The Get Go, where you can find all of your fancy and overpriced groceries. We ended up buying some frozen mango push pops (because why not). With the leftover push pops, we decided to make a cocktail:
1/3 frozen mango push pop
2/3 glass of champagne
and a splash of Topo Chico.
I don’t know what it’s called, but it was a hell of a drink. Just try it and you’ll see.
On our last official day in town, we decided to hit up the Andy Warhol gallery. Yes, Marfa has some Warhols. They’re just that cool.
Marfa came to popularity in the art world thanks to artist Donald Judd’s 1970’s endeavors and investments. To sum up, he moved to Marfa from NYC in 1971, invested in some properties to showcase his art, and so on and so forth…then the Chinati and Judd foundations were born. He believed in an anti-museum setup where artists could display their work permanently, so these prominent foundations work to uphold his ideas while benefiting artists from all over the world.
Here’s the outside of one of the buildings.
And here’s a little sneak peek at ‘The Last Supper’ interpreted by Andy Warhol. There are two other larger-than-life paintings on display, but they couldn’t all fit in the picture. Sorry!
The exhibit next door features the work of Maria Zerres, which is an abstract interpretation of 9/11 and the aftermath. I personally preferred the Warhol exhibit, but if abstract art is your thing, then you might like the Zerres exhibit better. Here’s Cielle in front of some paintings. #art
Shortly after visiting the two galleries, we tracked down a place to eat breakfast (it’s not as easy as you’d think), and then hit the road. Along our 8.5 hour drive home, we stumbled upon some storms as they were about to collide.
…And this thing on the side of the highway.
Stopped for some gas and saw this.
What a tease, man.
And then made it to Fredericksburg where we realized we look like hoarders. Whoops.
If you have the chance to go to Marfa, definitely go. It ended up being one of the most amazing places I’ve ever visited, and I can’t wait to go back. Life just seems so simple and worry-free there. And if you do decide to go there, feel free to take me with you.