This is what I knew about Marfa, TX before I went: They have a Prada store in the middle of the desert that’s not an actual store, but rather, art. It sounded downright ridiculous to me.
This is what I know about Marfa now: That Prada store in the middle of the desert may sound ridiculous, but it’s pretty cool. I mean, it’s still ridiculous and I’m not hipster enough to really “get” why it’s ART…but it’s cool to see, sitting there in the middle of nowhere, black widow spiders crawling amongst the designer shoes.
Marfa is one of those bizarre little towns (Texas has so many) that you just can’t help but add to your bucket list. I knew a little bit more about Marfa than just the Prada store—I’ve heard it called “the art mecca of Texas” a few times, I knew there were a couple of big music festivals hosted there, I knew there were teepees to stay in and I knew Beyonce had taken a road trip there—that was enough for me. I had to go!
First stop: Food Shark – a food truck serving up agua fresca and pork sandwiches, and it was DELICOUS. But honestly, the best part wasn’t the food. The best part was the change I received: a two dollar bill and a Sacagawea coin. I needed that laugh after a seven hour car ride. Only in Marfa.
Next up: The Chinati Foundation, a giant contemporary art museum, but definitely not your average gallery. You don’t pay a small fee and walk quietly through rooms of various masterpieces. We paid zero dollars and walked through a field to see huge cement constructions that I can only describe as…kind of eerie. That particular exhibit was also going to transform into a concert venue that night (also free). Oh-so-Marfa.
A quick stroll through downtown was next, stopping in a couple of art galleries, including Ballroom Marfa, which featured an old truck embedded with multiple species of cacti.
We poked our heads into the town’s grocery store, The Get Go, which was like an entire farmer’s market packed into a tiny bedroom. Another store called Freda sold handcrafted jewelry and ice cream sandwiches. Marfa Book Company was a pretty neat place (as are all quirky, independent bookstores, if you ask me, so I might be a little biased). And then…that’s all there was! Sure, there were a couple more tiny shops, restaurants, and museums that we passed by, but all in all, we’d seen the gist of Marfa in a couple hours, tops. A vehicle isn’t necessary at all—you can walk everywhere. I definitely suggest planning your trip to Marfa either a) around a music festival or b) with multiple other stops on the agenda.
However, the main event, for me at least, was the Prada exhibit. Or, as the artists called it, “a pop architectural land art project.” Huh? It was pretty amazing to stand in the middle of the road, not a car or other building in sight, and stare at the petite room of thousand-dollar purses. It’s hard to explain. Just go and see it for yourself!
The only Marfa to-do item that didn’t get to-done was the Marfa Lights—we left town early and therefore didn’t get a chance to see if the mysterious lights are real or just reflections of car headlights (that’s the theory floating around the interwebs). More reason to go back for another visit one day! Marfa is a sleepy town with the strangest blend of West Texas tranquility and new-age charm—it’s definitely worth the road trip.
By Alysha Kaye