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Marfa Texas - The Intersection Of a Rural Town and an Art Mecca



We set out on a road trip adventure 
to Austin Texas 
to celebrate our granddaughter turning two.

But we were determined to take 
a Road Less Traveled
so we decided to drive through 
located in West Texas near Big Bend.




Turning off the main highway coming from California
Marfa is two hours out
from what feels like anything.
Just huge, vast skies and plains.




We came up with the idea of spending the night in Marfa
out of curiosity 
and 
wanting to go somewhere completely new to us.


Marfa came up while researching our drive to Austin.
I have to admit turning off Interstate 10
it started to feel like a questionable idea
especially since all we really knew about the town
out in the middle of nowhere
was the 
Art Installation
 we had been seeing for years of the 


It's a permanent sculptural art installation 
built in 2005 by
 Elmgreen and Dragset

The artists describe their work as a 

"Pop Architectural Land Art Project"







Everyone who stopped at 
 was exceedingly friendly
from all over not only the country
but internationally as well.
Where did all of these people come from?
We had barely seen anyone on the road out.
But there was almost a feeling of kinship among everyone
an  aknowledgement  that we had all decided to make the trek out to this remote
Art Installation!





Marfa is also the famous location for the 1956 western movie
starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean,
It was Dean's final movie before his tragic death in a car accident.

This photo is of a new art installation at the site of filming.
A plywood tribute to the movie by artist
John Cerney in 2018.





I remember driving into Marfa the first day
wondering if this small town
so far off the beaten path
really had something to reveal to me.




Why the big fuss about a small town
that looked 'nice' from first glance.
I wondered if things would look different to me
before I left.





It was time to find our hotel and check in.





We had spent much time researching our hotel pick.

I am an anxious traveller by nature
and 
am overly affected by my hotel room.

I cry with bad ones.
It's not pretty.
I'm not proud.
But it is what it is.
I am who I am.
I think it as much about expectations
as the room itself.

After much deliberation we chose





It did not disappoint.
We had a large spacious room, with good light
and 
a window that opened.
Another must requirement for a hotel room
for me.

Fresh air is a definite must for me.
Even before the pandemic.






The American artist


is credited with bringing the 
Art World
to Marfa
helping to turn 
Marfa into the Art Mecca 
it is today.

Judd moved from New York City 
to 
Marfa Texas
in 1972.

This decision took Marfa from a struggling town
which had fallen into a depressed state
after losing  military bases after the war.

Judd bought up buildings for art installations
and 
the Art Community followed.

Today almost forty years later
Marfa
is still a working cattle town 
and a thriving
Art Mecca.

Just one of the many juxtapositions here.




Our view from our hotel room at the 
Saint George
 was sublime.
We had a lovely view of their iconic water tower
and 
the freight trains that  ramble by into the vastness of the plains.





My favorite part of the hotel was the gorgeous pool.
We ended up loving 
and 
so much we stayed several days more 
on our return trip to California.

There is something in Marfa that completely
captured my soul.
And a great hotel only amplified the experience!








So many spots of innovative design and landscaping.in Marfa.




We were very impressed with the food choices.
Even though there were limited spots
the quality of what was open
definitely had an artisanal flair
almost everywhere.








Jeff and I have always had been  intrigued with old buildings.
Marfa is full of them.
So many left behind in complete disrepair.
Each one with a story to tell.






Marfa has a remarkable array of photoshoot possibilities!




I was most surprised with the level of shopping
within the town.

Best curated selections I have seen in a long time.
Many from local arts in the area.




Especially 
which has stunning pieces for the home.





 another beautifully curated store
with a big hat collection
by long time NYC designer 
John Patrick

He designs accessories to
'last a lifetime and resonate with a global audience'

Here you can find  an impressive array of modern straws
made from palm straw 
crafted by hand in Mexico.

Three of these beauties came home with me!








One of my favorite hat photo backdrop in Marfa ...
gigantic hay bales!








Marfa lighting
feels magical.
another siren song for artistic souls.




Varied beautiful architecture.
Built in 1930
Warner Brothers made the hotel their headquarters
for the 1955 filming of the now iconic movie Giant.








So many relics of the past still sing their haunting melody.




If your looking for a bit more adventure
than a hotel room can provide
welcome to 
'A bohemian Nomad hotel'


Owned by the famed Bunkhouse Group
El Cosmico
offers the most unique of accommodations!

From sleeping in
 a tent
teepee
vintage trailer
or even 
a Yurt!

It's all here!






And of course  you will find more amazing photo backdrops.
I brought this vintage silk dress with me
just for a photo shoot with my turquoise necklaces.

Jeff and I had the best couple time
creating artistic images
on our trip.
But Marfa was hands down the best
creative fun we have had shooting!












Their modular unit comes complete with an outdoor shower and patio.













calls this their 'hammock grove'




How wonderful does my favorite turquoise ring from
look styled here.

Talk about a statement piece.
It hails from London
but looks like it was made for Texas!





Marfa for me is the epitome of a 
road trip
where the sky and plains seem to stretch out indefinitely!










Did you know I get some of my favorite hats at Saddlery shops.
Huge selections
Great prices for the quality!

We drove 30 minutes to the town of Alpine 
to visit 

What a gorgeous, authentic store!
Literally everything for the cowboy life!

We met Gary the owner
who has been at the store over 30 years
making the most exquisite saddles
that ship all around the world!




Sights like this always get my hat loving heart
a fluttering!




Here you can get a hat custom sized to fit!




Yes, this beauty came from a saddlery shop in Los Olivos California!
It's one of my very favorites to this day!




 in Marfa
is one of my favorites
it offers coffee, cocktails, breakfast and lunch ....




And some more beautifully curated shopping!




 also has an expansive outdoor area
with not one but two fire areas.
We met the most interesting people
just sitting around the fire.
People who had traveled far to be there
others
who grew up in town.

There is a slowness in Marfa
that is unusual to me.
But I found myself so drawn to it.




I don't know exactly what it was.

But maybe because the town was small
and 
choices were more limited
(think three places to choose from for dinner while we were there)
that simple experiences became more meaningful.

I'm not sure.
But it has reawakened this artist's soul.





 I felt a contentment there
that was unusual for me.

Maybe it was the slow pace
set in a majestic openness.


Maybe that it's an artist community
that attracts like souls.


Maybe it's being in the midst of a real cattle town
that feels exotic to someone
with a lifetime in suburbia.


Maybe that at night 
you can see such an abundance of bright stars
that your heart aches
thinking 
that you have missed this reality
your entire life.


Maybe it's the reminder 
that there is a whole vast world out there
to be explored.


The old and new to be experienced.


Maybe I'm really asking myself
how I want to spend my remaining years.


Now that both of my parents are gone
and 
the kids have all moved on
it's literally the first time since choosing a college
 I feel I can pick up and move.

I felt a need to stay nearby my parents after my sister died.

I also knew when I had kids 
I owed it to them to have extended family close.

Now the whole world is opened up.

I had a flash when I was in Marfa the first time.
What if I didn't want to spend the rest of my life in suburbia
with rules about what I could and couldn't do to my house.
What if I wanted to make a huge leap.

I really have no idea.
My house now is one of my great loves at this point in my life.

But it all felt so exciting
to even think about.




I found my new favorite backpack in Marfa
at the Sentinel as well.

Believe it or not I don't usually spend a lot of time shopping when we travel.
But we stayed several days on our return home
and 
we kept stumbling onto the most amazing pieces
like 
they were doing a slow reveal
and 
suddenly called out.


Which is exactly what Marfa did for us.
The more time we spent there
the more we quietly discovered
and 
fell in love with the town.


It is an enchanting town.
Full of juxtapositions.

The old and new.

The high and low.

Vast openness
with a feeling of cozy envelopment.

It's magical really.

And I still struggle for words
to fully express just what the magic is.

But can you ever really describe
true magic?

Maybe you just really need to experience it.





Until next time my dearest 
Marfa.
I miss you so already.
I can't wait to return!




As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life
















24 comments:

  1. What a beautiful love letter to Marfa and your experience which seems almost existential. The photos, backdrops and recommendations,makes Marfa,a must go to destination. Thank you again for always sharing your honesty, creativity,heart and soul.

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    Replies
    1. So lovely to find your message here darling! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and comment my friend! Yes, you are right ... I certainly fell in love with Marfa! i highly recommend it as a destination if your looking for something off the beaten path!

      Hope you and your sister are healing well from your loss. It's definitely quite a process. Sending you both big hugs of comfort! XOX

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  2. Thank you so much for the ring mention Tamera. You always style it so beautifully.
    What an amazing place. To think it was the last place James Dean filmed actually gave me chills.
    As always your photos transported me there xx

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    1. Thank you for visiting here my dear and taking the time to comment! Always so appreciated! Your rings are always a favorite of mine to style! Pure drama with such clean lines!

      Happy weekend my dear! I hear restrictions are finally starting to lift in the UK! That must feel like such a relief! Sending you big hugs from SoCal! XOX

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  3. I absolutely loved your write up, your beautiful pictures and your honesty...x

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    1. Why thank you ever so much for your sweet words darling! I really appreciate them! XOX

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  4. Beautiful.
    And some of your and Jeff's best photos captured, yet!

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    1. Hello my friend! So lovely to see your comment here! Thank you so much for your kind words! Jeff and I really enjoyed working together during this photoshoot! Marfa was just so captivating!

      Hope you are doing well! Miss you much Denise! XOX

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  5. I love how you tell your story through beautiful photos and creative writing. So well done. You are gifted at blending your personal experiences into a poetic journey. I am always drawn into the story! So glad you had a MAGICAL getaway :)

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    1. My dear thank you ever so much for this gift of words! They truly touch my heart! You have captured in your words ... exactly what I always hope to convey in my posts! So thank you ever so much darling!

      I hope you and your daughter are doing well my dear! Sending you big, big hugs! XOX

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    2. Thank you Tamera for sharing this magical place. Your words and photographs certainly convey your unexpected feelings on this new discovery. As usual you look completely stunning in each and every outfit.xx

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    3. Jill it is always so lovely to find a comment from you my dear! Thank you for your visit here from your beautiful Tasmania! Hope you and yours and your fantastic gardens are all thriving darling! Sending you big hugs from SoCal! XOX

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  6. tk you for this trip in texas and tks to your husband for all the beautiful photos ,you succeed in giving the atmosphere I could imagine for this kind of town in Texas .thank you very much ,have a nice sunday

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    1. Catherine thank you so much for visiting here, all the way from France! I appreciate your visit and your kind and encouraging words my dear! Sending you hugs from Southern California!

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  7. Tamera, thank you so much for your honesty in sharing your struggles along with your beautiful photographs and commentary. I do enjoy your posts.

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    1. Toula thank you so much for visiting here from Australia! I appreciate your insightful comment my dear! Yes, life is full of challenges ... and so much beauty along the way! Sending you big appreciative hugs!

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  8. Tamera, So enjoyed this trip to Marfa. I have heard so much about it, but you really did a fantastic job explaining what it is about. Of course you found all the coolest spots! I just loved the photography and always your beautiful styling. That cream outfit is gorgeous! I am saving all the details here. It's wonderful to think of the travel possibilities nearer to home too during this pandemic time. Always a treat and inspiration to visit your blog xoxo Kim

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    1. So very lovely to find a note here from you Kim! I always appreciate your visit! Yes, I am very smitten with Marfa and West Texas! It was so invigorating to get out and experience something brand new to us! Thank you so much for your kind words my friend!

      You have me completely enthralled with Lake Tahoe! I can't believe we have never even been! Your new lake home seems like a dream, nestled amongst so much natural beauty! I thank you for putting Lake Tahoe on our need to visit list! Sending you big hugs to Northern California, form down South! XOX

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  9. WOULD YOU PLEASE BECOME A STYLIST TO THIS NEW GENERATION!I would LOVE to be behind YOU watching the peoples head spin!SO MANY could BENEFIT from YOUR TIPS AND STYLE!
    Now next time you're in LOS OLIVOS which will be before ME will you GRAB ME A HAT PLEASE!
    Sounds like your hubby has retired?I too think of moving BUT WHERE AND WHY after we spent years building OUR LITTLE OASISI!Glad you saw the Grand baby!
    XXX

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    1. Why hello darling! Always a gift to have a visit from you here! I so appreciate your sweet and encouraging words, regarding my styling talents! Especially coming from a woman like yourself ... with So Much Personal Style! Thank you ever so much!

      Jeff is definitely not retired ... he is far to young for that, he is in a space of 'new directions', shall we say.

      Yes, I would imagine it would be difficult to move from your gorgeous home and sanctuary, after making it so magical all these years. I wonder the same about leaving ours , after making it our own oasis the past 25 years. We shall see. Sending you big, big hugs my friend! XOX

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  10. the magic is in the hidden secret. Have to google where this little town is...a far way from your home but an adventures journey. And as always...you reflect the atmosphere perfectly in your dresses. Great snapper, Jeff he catched you in the right time , place and light

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    1. How lovely to have a visit here, form you darling! Yes, a most magical destination ... if one has the time for the town to slowly reveal itself! Jeff and I definitely enjoyed the creative process of creation fashion images that conveyed the spirit of what we found! As always, thank you so much for your visit and encouraging words my dear! XOX

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  11. Thank you for the fabulous journey through Marfa! Your gorgeous captures and prose tell an enchanting story which was a delight to read! Love your hats, boots and fantastic outfits too. Such a magical place!

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    1. Thank you for visiting and reading! I am so happy you enjoyed the journey! Marfa truly is an enchanting place to visit! Big hugs to you Ginger! XOX

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