What’s so special about Marfa

Our vacation was over in a flash. After seven years of back and forth (this time it had been a year and a half since I had visited Marfa and the house was decidedly dirty), we decided that having someone come in to clean before our arrival just made sense. Frankly, this brilliant idea should have become clear long ago. A lovely couple, Pat and Jose, came over for a walk through, and while there pointed out that one of our ceiling fans was rotating in the wrong direction; the ‘winter’ way. Who knew. Clockwise cools, counter clockwise pulls up the warm air. Jose also mentioned that they are both ordained ministers and will ‘pray over our house’ as well. That’s what I call thorough.

It wasn’t all work of course, and we reveled in the hot dry air, long days and cool nights. Riding around on my bike and taking pictures is sheer joy, and Peter often joined me. We attended an opening at Eugene Binder for a show of large format portraits by Bob Andersen, ate at the Food Shark (always yummy), browsed the selections at the Marfa Book Company, and enjoyed lime rickeys and east coast style pies at the Pizza Foundation. I never miss a visit to the local thrift store where I often find a great selection of books; Marfa is home to the Lannan Foundation, which offers residencies to a variety of writers, and I believe this accounts for the better than average literary selection.

It’s just really a magical little place; art, music, a film festival, readings and even a roller derby team. A handful of amazing restaurants and an eclectic farmer’s market every Saturday. The smell of roasting coffee (Big Bend Coffee Roasters; really great beans) often fills the air, as does the whistle from the trains which rattle through the center of town. Walking by the tracks, I found a small fossil embedded in limestone. It is not uncommon to encounter a wild turkey or a javelina and birds of all sorts are abundant. The night sky is studded with stars. Big Bend National Park and the Mexican Border are a little over an hour south. It truly is a slice of heaven.

Marfa is also home to some really rugged individualists, and we’ve made some dear friends. We do our best to squeeze in a visit with each when we are in town. This time we spent a day in the mountains of Fort Davis with Kosta and Ganka, who are turning what was once a survivalist’s heavily fortified compound (really) into a  little eden. Ganka is a fabulous cook and prepared a lovely brunch. Afterward we walked a short distance to view several metates (grinding stones) that lay close by. The metates were surrounded by shards of flint and one of their grandchildren had been lucky enough to find an arrowhead in the vicinity. Of course we hoped to find an atifact as well, but not this time.  It was quite hot and the air was thick with the smoke from a nearby wildfire (with the extended drought, much of Texas is is vulnerable to lightning strikes) so we retired to the deck for some cool water from the well and homemade chocolate pound cake with strong coffee. As we rested, the air began to clear and we took another hike to the top of a neighboring bluff. The view was extraordinary, and the sun was setting as we began our descent. Great company and a perfect day.

The following morning was our last in Marfa, and after preparing the house for our departure, David made us each a small margarita (permission had been granted by Alice). Until next time.

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10 responses to “What’s so special about Marfa

  1. You are right — I gotta get to Marfa. When are you going next??

  2. cheryl shields

    What a remarkable place. Your stories and pictures are amazing, so glad you had this excursion. I have a DVD (Off The Map, takes place in the mountains far outside of Albequeque) that you’d love. I’ll give you a copy next time we meet.
    At least it will be warm and sunny soon in the Boston area.
    Yeah, I gotta get to Marfa myself.

    • Cheryl, I look forward to seeing you again and viewing the DVD. Off The Map sounds good to me.


      ps: when I was a child, we spent several summers at the Ghost Ranch in NM–really a magical place as well.

  3. Kathleen Gereghty

    Sounds like a wonderful place. Great to see pictures of you, David and Pete. Maybe we can get together this summer.

  4. cheryl shields

    I have spent time at the Ghost Ranch as an adult. More stuff we can share.

    • Cheryl, can’t wait to hear about your experiences there ( a place and time I have dreamed of returning to).


  5. Hey Linnea-
    You had me at “fossil,” but when you added stars in the night sky and chocolate pound cake, that sealed the deal. Margarita was a highly unnecessary tease/afterthought (and yes Alice should be thanked). Maybe I should just meet you at Marfa! Thanks for that beautiful slice of heaven. I felt as if I had been there. BTW, you are looking great.

    • Joan, as far as I’m concerned we can meet in Marfa and in D.C.–why limit ourselves?


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