Marfa and Alpine, Texas

I didn’t reach Alpine and Marfa until my third day of travel even though I could have easily made it in under eight hours. This trip is much about leisure, so much leisure that the one-hour trip between Van Horn and Marfa took me nearly three hours.

I left the Van Horn area at dawn and cruised slowy down Texas Highway 90 to Marfa.  

Whoever is promoting Marfa has done a fine job, because the first references to were about thirty-five miles north of the town. That’s where I found Prada Marfa, a sculpture created in 2005. There are even some Prada shoes and purses inside the little building.

Then another twenty or so miles down the road, I found the next Marfa sculpture.

The diorama came complete with music seeming to emanate almost from the car.

Then about seven miles before town, there was a big “Welcome to Marfa” sign.

And finally the town, about 1800 people if you ask Google, or about 1500 if you ask the locals. 

But I continued to Alpine, another twenty-five miles east.

I wanted to see Alpine because I’d been there once before, maybe twelve or fifteen years ago, on a train trip from Arizona to New Orleans. What I remembered about the town was the train stopping and Border Patrol agents having everyone get off while they searched the train. 

Alpine is a sweet little town filled with artist’s studios, cafes, and murals and more murals. It has a population of fewer than 6000 people, but there are probably close to fifty murals! The last count was forty-four, but the woman at the welcome center said she knew more had been added since the mural map had been made.

Map in hand, I roamed town a bit looking at murals.


And other art.

After wandering and seeing the art, I headed back to Marfa.

My first stop was Wrong, an art gallery and store. I’d met the owners in Kino in January and wanted to stop in. Well worth the stop! Jewelry, a lunar calendar, artwork, and much, much more. If you’re ever in Marfa, visit there and spend money.

There are some beautiful historical buildings in town, too, including the county courthouse. I elevatored up three floors and then walked up the last two levels.

There’s a beautiful old hotel, the Hotel Paisano (originally El Paisano Hotel) designed by Trost and Trost. (Bisbee, by the way, has a Trost house.) The hotel opened in 1930. It’s famous for headquartering the cast and crew of the 1956 movie Giant and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Part of what drew me to Marfa was the Marfa Lights, lights that are sometimes seen at dusk and ocassionally later at night, about nine miles east of the town.

I went there to watch and hope, and to spend the night. About thirty other people showed up, but unfortunately, you can’t prove the Marfa Lights by me. I did however, see a fine sunset.

After a quiet night, I headed south to Presidio and then northeast to Terlingua, which you’ll read about in my next post.

Published by Emilie

I'm a retired instructor from a community college where I taught Developmental English and Reading as well as English as a Second Language. I'm also now a published author of a bilingual children's book entitled. Luisa the Green Sea Turtle - Luisa la Tortuga Verde del Mar. It's available from me, through Amazon, and is in a few (more and more each day!) bookstores.

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  1. You are my proxy gypsy, still seeing the world. Thanks you yet again! Love, Marybeth (about toturn 94.)

  2. I visited Alpine years ago, checking it out to possibly move there. I love that area: Marfa, Big Bend, Teralingua … just couldn’t see myself a Texan tho. LOL I love seeing your updates and how much places have changed, or not. Your response to Louisiana intrigues me! Keep it movin’, Sweet Rubber Tramp Sister!

    1. I’m totally infatuated with Louisiana, especially Lafayette. I tried to get a housesit so I could stay another week, but it didn’t work. Homeowner chose someone else. But I feel like I would enjoy coming back for a month or so.

  3. Loved your blog, Emilie! Those towns are all new to me. I’m so happy you are getting to travel again! Where is the Trost house in Bisbee?

  4. I drove through this neck of the woods about fifteen years ago and then up to the McDonald Observatory. I love Big Bend. I have a friend who just bought a place out there to photograph the stars. She takes amazing pictures.

  5. Thanks Emilie for keeping me up to date with your travels. Love reading about it………..maybe some day I can explore like that.

    1. I’ve started my 4th week on the road and love it. Course I have been housesitting now for six days and this has been a wonderful break. But I’m ready to get moving again.

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