Sunday, September 29, 2013

West Texas Ramblings

Hello friends, I know its been a while, but September has been a very busy month for me and I've been enjoying lots of travel, from Alpine to Anchorage. 
The more to share with you, I say! 
So, with that said, lets start from the beginning, shall we?

I was so thrilled to enjoy the Labor Day weekend in my hometown of Alpine, TX.  I was also fortunate enough to relish the delightfully quirky finds in Marfa, the weirdest little town in Texas.

If you've never been to West Texas, you should know things are just a bit different there...Time meanders, coyotes cry, pronghorns graze, and it not unusual to see the local sheriff riding down main street on a grizzled and grumbling horse.  If you're picturing a scene from a John Wayne movie, you'd be spot on.  The scenery is nothing short of breathtaking, with the rising and falling Davis mountains creating a lush and abundant scalloping to the Texas sky. The merging of mountainous terrain and arid desert truly epitomizes this area as "the home of the last frontier."

Comprising the trio of must-see West Texas towns are Alpine, Ft. Davis, and Marfa.  These three locations offer an experience unlike any other, guaranteed to invoke a sense of wonder, mystery, artistic reverence, and awe of the beauty of nature.

The annual Marfa Lights Festival is held every Labor Day weekend, and my trip to West Texas was specifically made with the intent of enjoying the festivities.  The city of Marfa is always sure to celebrate it's famed Mystery Lights, for which visitors from across the globe trek to the dusty town of Marfa to analyze, in vain. 

If you aren't familiar with Marfa's Mystery Lights, they can best be described as brightly glowing orbs or different colors that dance along the horizon and merge and diverge. The origin of the Marfa Lights remains a mystery, and the Lights can best be seen from dusk through early morning hours at the viewing platform erected by the city.  If the Mystery Lights don't sound quite like your forte, the exceptional view of the Milky Way, is enough to make even the most hardened visitor contemplate the majesty of the universe. The view is simply stunning.
Aside from the Mystery Lights, Marfa has become a hub for art aficionados the world over. Along with the new artistic demographic has come the demand for foodie favorites and the city also offers a diverse array of delicious fare for locals and visitors, alike. A delicious meal can always be found at Marfa's Food Shark.  If you're in the market for some divine red chile beef soft tacos or the famed "Marfalafel", be sure to stop in. Also be sure to check out Marfa Book Co. to enjoy some local art and good reading.


If you're up for some shopping in Marfa, there are plenty of swoon-worthy goods and gifts at Tienda M and the famed El Paisano Hotel.  Check out the wonderful room dedicated to the film Giant, and its many notable actors and actresses. Giant was filmed in Marfa in 1956, and remains an iconic point of pride for the city.  If you happen to be in Marfa for the night, be sure to stay in one of the rooms in which Elizabeth Taylor or James Dean camped during filming, or just pick up a great key tag donning their name and their room number.

Before heading back home to Alpine, we picked up a few West Texas necessities and said our goodbye's to Marfa.

We rounded out our trip nicely in Alpine, at the Big Bend Balloon Bash, just outside of town.  This early morning Hot Air Ballooning event is always such a treat to see and the West Texas terrain always provides the perfect backdrop for floating balloons of all shapes and colors.

Considered the largest town in the largest county in the state of Texas, Alpine, a city of just over 5,000, is a hidden gem in West Texas.  While I'm certainly biased, as Alpine is my hometown, Alpine is the loveliest escape from city life one could ever dream of.  Sitting snuggly in a valley surrounded by the Davis Mountains, the city of Alpine is a perfect place to enjoy an authentic West Texas experience....whether at a local cattle ranch, small town watering hole, or overlooking the city at Sul Ross State University, one is sure to come across friendly and willing locals to fill you in on good food, local happenings, and the perfect place to enjoy a burning West Texas sunset. 

 If you happen to be looking for a sweet treat in Alpine, be sure to pop into The Murphy Street Raspa Co., a local favorite for delicious "raspas" (snow cones) which always keep the West Texas heat at bay.

Or for a treat that's a bit more adult-friendly, try out the newest addition to the Alpine brewing market, Big Bend Brewing Co., home to the most delicious beer this side of the Rio Grande!  And brewed by the nicest brewmasters you'll ever hope to meet!

Its always sad to leave West Texas, but with a knapsack full of momentos, a heart full of memories, and renewed sense of pride in my roots, I'm always sure to leave my home with a smile on my face, a song in my heart, and a tear in my eye.  Thanks West Texas for always calming my restless soul and fulfilling my wandering spirit.

More to come on September adventures, friends!

Until we meet again!


No comments:

Post a Comment