MARFA TEXAS

TEXAS REGIONS

BIG BEND COUNTRY  

El Paisano Hotel in Marfa Texas Marfa started out in 1883 as a water stop for Texas and New Orleans Railroad. Marfa got its name when a railroad executive's wife suggested it, inspired by a character in a book she was reading, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.

The U.S. military established a presence in Marfa in 1911 in reaction to the Mexican Revolution. Troops remained in the Marfa area for decades, building the Marfa Army Air Field and Camp Albert, renamed Camp Marfa, then renamed again as Fort D. A. Russell and then becoming the home of the Chinati Art Foundation dedicated to the creation and preservation of permanent installations of large-scale works. The museum was founded by the deceased artist Donald Judd.

Marfa has a population of 2,424. Due to its altitude of 4,688 Marfa has a very pleasant climate, which is part of what has helped turn Marfa into an unlikely cultural hotspot, attracting artists and visitors from around the world.

With its high elevations and spectacular scenery Marfa is also popular for outdoor enthusiasts. At an altitude of 4,882 feet above sea level the Marfa Municipal Golf Course is the highest golf course in Texas. Hunters come to the Marfa area because of the plentiful mule deer and pronghorn antelope.

Strong thermal updrafts make for legendary soaring conditions, which has made Marfa a popular location for Gliders, Sailplanes, Gliding and Soaring. For information about Gliding in Marfa visit Marfa Gliders

The Marfa Lights seen from the Marfa Lights Viewing Center in Marfa TexasWhen visitors tire of hang gliding and hunting they head to the historic downtown Marfa area to the art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops.

Ever since they were first reported well over a century, in 1883, people have been confounded by an unusual sight that came to be known as the Marfa Lights. There is a Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Center where you can try and see the multi-colored orbs of varying shapes as they bounce, spit apart and disappear. Thousands of visitors a year drop in on the Viewing Center for a chance to see the Marfa Lights. There are many theories as to what causes the Marfa Lights, but no scientific explanation has ended the mystery.

The above image of the Marfa Lights was captured by James Bunnell.
Marfa Lights information and many more photos of the Marfa Lights
can be found on the Marfa Lights Research website.

The Presdio County Courthouse in Marfa TexasTwo years after Marfa was named, a 3 story Renaissance Revival courthouse was built. The Texas Historical Commission has helped refurbish the Presidio County Courthouse to its original glory. The building is an classic example of what is known as Second Empire architecture. It has a light pink stone exterior with intricately detailed interior woodwork.

Usually a bookstore is not one of a town's major tourist attractions. However, the Marfa Book Store, Co. is a big draw with its huge selection of regional books, with and art gallery, with numerous readings and events. The Marfa Book Store, Co. also showcases contemporary and regional poets and writers and is one of the few spots in Marfa with Wi-Fi.

WHERE TO STAY IN MARFA

Many consider staying in the historic Paisano Hotel to be the best West Texas lodging experience. The hotel is a block away from the Presidio County Courthouse. The Paisano Hotel has a wide range of room options, including staying in the James Dean Room, where the movie legend stayed during the filming of Giant. Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson also stayed at the Paisono during the filming of Giant. The Thunderbird Motel is another Marfa classic, built in 1959, transformed to a modern design in 2005, while keeping the original's charm. A less expensive Marfa lodging option is the Riata Inn.

WHERE TO EAT IN MARFA

The Austin Street Cafe has unusual hours, in a low key spot with high quality food. Located in the built in 1885, former adobe house of famed Marfa artist, Donald Judd. The Blue Javelina is located in the remains of a 1940s gas station. The restaurant features Mexican, Mediterranean and American cuisine. You can probably make a good guess as to what is on the menu at the Pizza Foundation. The Brown Recluse is a funky neighbor of the Thunderbird Motel where you will find Mexican and Cowboy inspired tea, coffee, pastries and breakfasts.

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