Journey to Marfa

Marfa, Texas has been this ethereal, urban legend of a city that I didn’t believe existed beyond Instagram and the trademark Prada store sculpture. Going there is a luxurious treat for most, and an unquestionable rite of passage for Austinites. So when an invite to my former bosses Marfa wedding landed in my lap, it took me little time & contemplation to get this trip in the works and marked onto my calendar. I took off with a friend early on a Friday morning, and we were quickly booking it 80 miles per hour down the I-10 - 8 glorious hours of coasting and roasting in my AC-less car. The weak radio connection could barely crackle over the wind whipping through my wide-open windows. ("I'm gonna turn on the AC!" ....and then the windows would proceed to roll down.) Us overheated passengers stifled our whines and endured the heat quietly, shirtless and soaking in our own sweat. We were undeniably and anxiously bound for far West Texas. 


Before landing in Marfa, there was a unanimous decision to camp the night prior in the beautiful Davis Mountains. Within those mountains lives McDonald Observatory which hosts a bunch of wild telescopes and some of the darkest skies in the continental US. It was an ideal spot for stargazing and to see the full moon rise above stormy, clouded skies. 

At 7000 ft above sea level, the air temp was a dry 60-ish degrees when the sun finally set, making for some amazing outdoor sleeping weather and a nice break from the typical Texas heat. There was a storm brewing all day long and some overnight rainfall, but come sunrise, there was no leftover evidence of the evening thunderstorm. Marfa was just a quick 30 minute drive away down one single, long desert road. 

Once Marfa came into view, it was quickly apparent how small the city actually is. Image one long Main Street with a small surrounding suburb plopped in the middle of the desert. Nothing commercially recognizable in site - just a mix of vacant looking buildings intertwined amongst ultra-modern galleries and chic hotels. 

The highly coveted El Cosmico was my first pick to check out, but it looked at little... deserted, and kind of lack-luster in the bright daylight. (On Instagram and I'm sure at nighttime, the place sparkles with glowing tee pees, wood-fired hot tubs, and the trendiest Texans you'll ever come across. The biggest highlight for me was visiting the Chinati Foundation - home to permanent artworks by Donald Judd and Dan Flavin. The art here literally lives and breathes within the landscape along 300+ acres of Marfa desert. 

The wedding was super chic and elegant, and passed by in a swift and blurry fashion. I saw friendly faces that I hadn't seen in years, and overall the air was bright & light. Even if I could never imagine living there, Marfa had definitely charmed me through flickers of subtle, simple moments.