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Coordinates: Marfa

Travel inspires us. It takes us to new places and new spaces; it transports our minds, animates our spirits, and enlivens our senses. Creative Coordinates, a new travel guide series on the 10,000, charts the world’s creative hotspots—places beaming with musical, artistic, cultural, and culinary inspiration.

Marfa, Texas. Marfa is the Russian derivative of Martha in English. Derivative has a negative connotation, for we often fail to see the creativity and brilliance behind imitation. Just as Marfa is a more striking version of Martha, its study in contrasts will strike you.

As some of Donald Judd’s most beloved coordinates, Marfa offers up minimalistic abundance. It’s a small town, just seven hours west of Austin or three hours southeast of El Paso, where the quiet silences, where time is timeless, and where life is art.

Stay – El Cosmico Stay at El Cosmico for a cozy crash course in what Marfa is about. A bunkhouse hotel designed and owned by a West Texas native, El Cosmico offers an array of outdoor accommodations strewn beautifully across a vast desert landscape.

Stay – Hotel Saint George What may appear to be Marfa’s newest luxury hotel is actually one of its original players making a comeback. Hotel Saint George first debuted during the 19th century, and after almost 100 years under the name Hotel Jordan, the Saint George is back, in a whole new way: fine dining, a bar and lounge, luxury suites with Marfa Book Company—all under one roof and situated in the heart of town.

Eats – Food Shark Don’t eventually make your way to this spot—it will probably be sold out of food. A classic food truck with food and crowds that speak for themselves, you must act like a shark if you hope to get a taste. Food is served until it is gone or 3 pm; the gone is more likely.

It’s somewhere between 3 and 6 pm in Marfa and I’m hungry / Pick Me Up – The Capri Grab a snack at the grocery store or gas station and visit The Capri. Between 3 and 6 pm are Marfa’s magic hours, similar to the Latin world’s siesta hours, and there is no chef-prepped food anywhere. Enjoy the siesta. While no food is offered until dinnertime, the drinks and ambiance of this spot will surely fill you up.

Shop – Freda // Cast + Crew // Marfa Brands Soap Take a little bit of Marfa home with you. Each of these shops offers its own unique expression of the simplicity and soul of Marfa. While you’re in a special town that hopes to inspire you to minimize your material goods and maximize your life experience, these shops offer a few reasons to indulge. Remember we’re not here for a long time; we’re here for a good time.

Art again – RULE Gallery What appears to be a residence from the outside is in fact a house doubling as an art gallery. With its original gallery located in Denver, RULE has brought its beautiful blend of contemporary art and life to Marfa. Because the employees live on-site, you may blur what is art and what is just a bag of chips someone forgot to put away. Don’t worry – you can keep your shoes on.

Dinner, finally – The Capri Ah yes, we made it. It’s finally 6 pm in Marfa and while those last few hours have flown by, our cocktails are ready for a nice pairing. Hopefully you were wise enough to make your way to The Capri sometime over the afternoon; so don’t move your feet, don’t lose your seat and ask that bartender to pass you the food menu, please.

This is lovely, but I need to get some work done – Tent HQ You’ve come all this way from the big city but you still have work to do? That’s okay. Actually, you might even be grateful for a workspace after you’ve spent a soulful day in Marfa. Tent HQ is a workspace that minimizes distractions but keeps you in the Marfa mindset. It contains all the tools needed to create, get pen to paper, words to word doc, and it will accommodate a crew if a brainstorm powwow is needed.

Morning Coffee – Do Your Thing The vibe is in the name. What was once a lumberyard’s toolshed is now a sophisticated coffee shop disguised as a home. While it is the only option in town, you wouldn’t care for another.

Arts and Culture – The Chinati Foundation Founded by Donald Judd in the 1970s with its mission to support artists and their art, The Chinati Foundation is a contemporary art museum where installation art meets natural landscape, and the relationship between the two is the showcase piece. While in modern life everything seems to have a price, The Chinati Foundation stands as a purveyor of art for life’s sake and life for art’s sake.

Party Time – Lost Horse Saloon Feeling you need to wind up from your wind down? Get lost at Lost Horse Saloon, the local watering hole with a few eats to keep you going. Sit on the patio and look up after the sun goes down…you can’t see the Milky Way from just anywhere.

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