We made it in time for our dinner reservation at the 1 of 3 decent restaurants in Marfa. Of course we had to stop and take pictures at the Prada store which is about 30 miles west of town. We blasted into town, checked into the The Paisano Hotel and were greeted by an old world Texas vibe that is uniquely Texas. Saltillo tile floors, tall ceilings, Texas longhorn cattle and bison heads adorned the walls of the lobby as did huge black and white photos of scenes from the movie The Giant. The movie was filmed in Marfa and the surrounding desert. The cast and crew stayed at The Hotel Paisano. One of my Dad’s friends from Hollywood was Fred Guiol (pronounced ‘gill’) and he was the head screen writer for the movie as well as the 1939 classic Gunga Din. Anyway, we checked in and drove over to the restaurant and had a really great meal after a long drive.
The next day we had booked a walking tour of the Donald Judd collection at the Chianti Foundation located on the old Air Force base on the edge of town. We spent 3 hours with a guide and walked the 10+ buildings filled with Judd’s work as well as a couple of other artists on permanent installation. Judd’s work is pretty impressive in size and simplicity and execution. We were lucky enough to chat up with the tour guide and after the tour he took us to a run down sold adobe house (not live able) to see his work that was still hanging from an opening the night before. There were cold beers in the ice filled tub so we had a beer and toured is work. One of his friends and a Marfa transplant dropped by and joined us for a beer and some art talk. He is a screen writer from Hollywood with some pretty impressive credits and an Emmy that came to Marfa to write. He started the Marfa Correspondence Society - you can find them on Instagram.
After our visit we needed toget some lunch so we found this outdoor eatery and had to wait for it to open. One thing is for certain, in Marfa everything has its own pace - easy and slow. It’s a nice way to live…
Lunch was great and we set off to explore the town. We were told that Monday-Wednesday the town of Marfa is pretty much closed and it’s true. Restaurants, galleries, shops - pretty much everything wakes up Thursday-Sunday and even then the hours are pretty unpredictable. We timed our visit over a weekend for this very reason.
We strolled a bit and not much was open but we did find a couple of galleries and ended up meeting a couple of artists and enjoyed our conversations. There was a shop that we wanted to visit near our hotel so we stopped by and the door was locked but people were inside talking and visiting. A young woman came to the door and told us to come back in an hour that the owner was visiting with some clients privately. The shop was owned by a friend of Amy’s from the CFDA in NYC. So we came back and the door was still locked and the owner waved at Amy as if it indicate, hang on just a bit more and I’ll be right out. We took a walk around the block, so to speak, and came back to a warm welcome to Amy. I was introduced and Amy and her friend talked for the better part of an hour while I toured the shop. Most of what I needed to see in the shop was covered in about 10 minutes and their visit in full swing and going on at a fevered pace talking about some of their mutual friends and acquaintances in the fashion world.
What a conversation, what a character and what a great way to top off the afternoon.
We were parched so we needed a beverage so we walked a block back to The Hotel Paisano and had a margarita in the courtyard by the fountain/pool. All in all a great day in Marfa, Texas.
We extended our stay in Marfa an additional night and had to move to the Thunderbird Motel. The Thunderbird was one of those old style park in central courtyard parking lot pool in the center 2 story motel arranged in a horseshoe around the parking lot. This configuration has been hipsterized by changing the parking lot into a gravel spa/pool experience with updated rooms with paper thin walls.
Checked-in to the Thunderbird and walked across the street to ‘their’ restaurant the Capri - great food, terrific setting on a cool May evening.
We awoke early to the train rumbling directly behind the motel and decided it was time to leave so leave we did. We packed up and stopped for some provisions at the local market and made our way north - today’s destination - Austin!