West Texas is a beaut. The idea of spending a weekend getaway in Marfa couldn't be more romantic and fitting for the summer. J and I traveled here for his friend's wedding, but we decided that it was a good idea to also make a vacation out of it. Afterall, I can't imagine the next time we have the opportunity to do something as unique as this, especially with our work schedules being so crazy.
We left Austin on Friday morning, and while six hours on the road sounded a little daunting, I couldn't have spent it better. Of course, I had J to keep me company with great conversations and Nicki Minaj rap battles (hardly. I chickened out), but it was the view that truly captivated me. Mountains and plateaus majestically stretched across the Texas desert, and lush green trees and wildlife were scattered so beautifully throughout the land.
We managed to get there before it became dark so we unpacked in our Airbnb and started our first adventure with dinner at Pizza Foundation. You can bet that I did extensive research for this trip, which was extremely helpful because I found out that it often takes up to two hours to order a pizza there. To avoid that, we called in way ahead of time to ensure that we weren't eating dinner ridiculously late.
By Saturday, we were rested enough for our real adventure. Since this was our vacation, we obviously have the freedom to do anything we want, and it was just so tempting to sleep in until noon. Good thing we didn't. A place like Marfa is certain to have breathtaking sunrises so I didn't want to give up that opportunity. On top of that, the weather was insanely good. I feared that the heat would discourage us from adventuring, but there was actually a breeze and the mornings were crisp and cool.
First stop was Do Your Thing, a coffee shop. J and I had some bonding time over breakfast before we headed off to walk around the town. The thing to appreciate about a small town is how close everything is to each other. A ten minute walk could take us anywhere, from breakfast to shopping. Not only that, the southern hospitality was out of this world, which is ironic for me to think since I grew up in Texas. Everyone that we walked past either gave us a nod or greeted us with a "Hello, how are you?".
We browsed around some of the more well-known locations, such as Marfa Bookstore located inside Hotel Saint George. By noontime, we were hoping to hit up Food Shark for lunch, since it was clearly a must on everyone's go-to list, but J and I fell upon Squeeze Marfa and decided to go there instead. It was one of those moments where we could've made that extra effort to do what we planned, but we were just so darn tired from walking around. Plus, there's nothing wrong with flexibility, right?. We're on vacation, not a field trip. After cooling down with a smoothie and filling up on sandwiches, we spent the rest of the afternoon at home. Since we had a wedding that evening, it made sense to save our energy for that.
When Sunday came around, J and I slept in. To be fair, we stayed up 'til 3AM the night before talking, but the rest was also much needed. We managed to make it out the door by noon for lunch at Marfa Burrito. It was tricky because we couldn't find any information about it online, such as hours and a telephone number, but fortunately, it was opened and not crowded. The attraction about this quaint little place is that their burritos are homemade and fresh. It's authentic and guaranteed to fill you up for sure.
Further down the road is the Chinati Foundation, a contemporary museum based on the ideas and foundations of Donald Judd. Most of our time and energy were spent looking at Judd's fifteen untitled works in concrete. They're spaced out across the field and each set is positioned uniquely. Though the weather was hot and harsh, we managed to make it worthwhile experience and one that is memorable.
When evening came around, we celebrated our last night with dinner at Jett's Grill, located in the heart of Hotel Paisano, and then we drove west to Valentine, Texas to see the classic Prada Marfa exhibit by Elmgreen & Dragset. It was easy for us to assume that it wasn't worth driving 40 minutes to an "over-hyped" attraction that offers very little besides an opportunity to photograph next to an iconic landmark. But if we put those thoughts aside, the very essence of travel is to explore with genuine, unpretentious curiosity. To appreciate and learn about the treasures that characterize and make up the place.
Who knew our little escapade would create some of my proudest frames, and that's what I love so much about photography. I love being captivated by my artwork. I like to envision how I want my pictures to look after post-processing and especially how it would look like when I decorate my home. I want to keep these pictures alive by giving it a home in frames and albums instead of storing them away into my hard drives without a second glance.
And just like that, our trip was over. It concluded in one of the most beautiful ways, with the sun setting in its fiery orange glow in the backdrop of our view. As dusk continued to darken, the purple and blush hues grew richer and deeper. It pretty much had me fall in love with Texas all over again.