Sometimes the suggestions and hints we receive from our souls are easier and more readily received when the surrounding backdrop and horizon we occupy is vacant, wide, and expansive.
Which is why it’s easy to see why the minimalist movement of art and lifestyle fits perfectly in Marfa, TX where traffic, digital screens, and white noise are in short supply.
Marfa originally earned its dot on a map as a watering stop for steam trains in 1880s. It continued to grow into the 1920s and eventually was home to a military base for training airmen for World War II.
Today, the town of Marfa is home to approximately 2,100 people and Fort D.A. is no longer home to soldiers, POWs, and weaponry, but to the world renown art of Donald Judd. It was here in 1971 that Judd began renting a home from time to time to escape the hustle of New York City and in 1979 purchased Fort D.A. to complete and house some of his most famous work along with his contemporaries.
Indeed, Judd found the scene of Marfa to be a quiet and necessary place for questions, discovery, and refection. Today, many people journey there, and some even choose to stay, for the same reasons. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you, Judd is Marfa’s forever Mayor.
If you’re need of explanation for such a place, Marfa isn’t the place for you.
However, if you’re in need of exploration, you should add this effervescent city in the high desert of Trans-Pecos in far West Texas. And ask for ranch water when you get there.
If you’re headed there, here a few spots to check out.
Marfa Book Company – You’ll find Marfa Book Co. connected to the lobby of Hotel Saint George. We stayed here and found it to be conveniently located in the heart of Marfa and within walking distance to most places you will want to see.
The Work of Donald Judd – There are multiple spots to check the work of Donald Judd in Marfa. For more information here, check out The Chinati Foundation and Judd Foundation. We didn’t make reservations for our tours of his work and missed out on seeing some of his most admired work. The 15 untitled works of concrete are free for the public and can be viewed anytime the property is open.
Food Shark – This is the spot for lunch. With a surprising mediterranean vibe, everyone will find something they can enjoy here. Be sure to order a glass of aqua fresca.
Marfa Mystery Lights – Once the sun goes down take Hwy 67 east and follow the tail lights of everyone that is pulling over approximatley 8 miles outside of Marfa. We struck out on seeing any lights.
Prada Marfa – 26 miles northwest of Marfa you’ll find this random display. It’s a must see if you’re in the area, but don’t be surprised when it’s not open for business.
Lost Horse Saloon – The local honky-tonk.
Ranch Candy – If Elvis, Vince Gill, and Roy Orbison morphed into a human cocktail, you would have the owner of Ranch Candy, Joe Pat. Joe was super kind and provided a lot of fun insight into the Marfa scene. Here you’ll find incredible hats that have been worn by the likes of Willie Nelson, vintage pearl snap shirts, Mexican dresses, and a buffet of candy jars to select from.
Andy Warhol Last Supper – This was a delightful surprise to find and take in.
Cobra Rock Boot Company – When you walk into this space, chances are you’ll find Colt Miller hand making boots for an eager customer waiting list. This was one of my favorite spots we visited in Marfa.
Lastly, as you cruise through the city, eventually you will find this mural. Don’t scan it. Read it.
And then let it read you.
And then carry on and let the music play.