Tag Archives: road trip

Marfa, Texas!

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prada

Originally published as an article for Texas Lifestyle Magazine 🙂

This is what I knew about Marfa, TX: They have a Prada store in the middle of the desert that’s not an actual store, but rather, art. It sounded downright ridiculous to me.

This is what I now know about Marfa, TX: That Prada store in the middle of the desert may sound ridiculous, but it’s pretty cool. I mean, it’s still ridiculous and I’m not hipster enough to really “get” why it’s ART…but it’s cool too see, sitting there in the middle of nowhere, black widow spiders crawling amongst the designer shoes.

Marfa is one of those bizarre little towns (Texas has so many) that you just can’t help but add to your bucket list for no apparent reason. I knew a little bit more about Marfa than just the Prada store—I’ve heard it called “the art mecca of Texas” a few times, I knew there were a couple big music festivals hosted there, I knew there were teepees to stay in, and I knew Beyonce herself took a road trip there—that was enough for me. I had to go!

First stop: Food Shark. A food truck serving up agua fresca and pork sandwiches. DELICOUS. But honestly, the best part wasn’t the food. The best part was the change I received: a two dollar bill and a Sacagawea coin. I needed that laugh after a 7 hour car ride. Only in Marfa.

food shark

Next up: The Chinati Foundation, a giant contemporary art museum, but definitely not your average gallery. You don’t pay a small fee and walk quietly through rooms of various masterpieces. We paid zero dollars and walked through a field to see huge cement constructions that I can only describe as…kind of eery. That particular exhibit was also going to transform into a concert venue that night (also free). Oh-so-Marfa.

art

A quick stroll through downtown was next, stopping in a couple art galleries, including Ballroom Marfa, which featured an old truck embedded with multiple species of cacti.

ballroom

We poked our heads in the town’s grocery store, The Get Go, which was like an entire farmer’s market packed into a tiny bedroom. Another store called Freda sold handcrafted jewelry and ice cream sandwiches. Marfa Book Company was a pretty neat place (as are all quirky, independent bookstores, if you ask me, so I might be a little biased). And then…honestly, that was all there was! Sure, there were a couple more tiny shops, restaurants, and museums that we passed by, but all in all, we’d seen the gist of Marfa in a couple hours, tops. A vehicle isn’t necessary at all—you can walk everywhere. I definitely suggest planning your trip to Marfa either a) around a music festival or b) with multiple other stops on the agenda.

However, the main event, for me at least, was the Prada exhibit. Or, as the artists called it, “a pop architectural land art project.” Huh? It was pretty amazing to stand in the middle of the road, not a car or other building in sight, and stare at the petite room of thousand-dollar purses. It’s hard to explain. Just go and see it for yourself!

The only Marfa to-do item that didn’t get to-done was the Marfa Lights—we would up leaving town early and therefore didn’t get a chance to see if the mysterious lights are real or just reflections of car headlights (that’s the theory floating around the interwebs). More reason to go back for another visit one day! Marfa is a sleepy town with the strangest blend of West Texas tranquility and new-age charm—it’s definitely worth the road trip.

About the author: Alysha Kaye is a high school English teacher in Kyle, TX and recent author—her debut novel The Waiting Room is available on Amazon and at BookPeople. When she’s not wrangling 9th graders, she’s blogging, reading, or exploring Austin.

For more, follow her on Twitter @alyshakaye7 or check out her website: http://www.alyshakaye.com

Big Bend: The Perfect Camping Spot!

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big bend

*I originally wrote this article for Texas Lifestyle Magazine 🙂

Hey Texans, do you need a getaway that fits your budget? Go camping! But not just any camping spot will do, right? You want something grand, something epic, somewhere that feels like you’re in a different country! Big Bend National Park is the place, trust me.

For $14 a night per vehicle, you and your friends or family can sleep amongst the most majestic stars and magnificent mountains that you’ve ever seen. I didn’t even know that mountains like that existed in Texas!

I should probably make it clear that I am NOT your typical camper. In fact, my usual outdoor preference is lying in a hammock or drinking a beer on someone’s porch. That’s what’s so great about Big Bend—there’s something for every type of camper.

There are a few different campsites, first of all, each with their different surroundings (for a desert, Big Bend is insanely diverse). We chose Chisos Basin, which is engulfed by beautiful rocky cliffs. Our little plot was complete with a covered picnic table and a bear-proof food storage box. Close by, there were very clean restrooms and a dishwashing station. No showers though, which wasn’t ideal, but it IS camping after all.

camping site

The hikes are endless—if you’re happiest when you’re exploring the outdoors, you’re going to be in heaven. There are countless trails—shaded and not, child’s play to extremely difficult, stone steps and rocky treks, flat to crazy steep—you name it. I really enjoyed the Santa Elena Canyon hike along the Rio Grande River. It felt amazing to dip our feet in the water and wave hello to Mexico. The view was gorgeous as well.

river

Not much of a backpacker? The scenic drives alone are worth the trip! I couldn’t seem to stop snapping pictures.

There are also multiple visitor centers and a large lodge if you’re having first world problems—complete with cabins, a restaurant, a gift shop, a little grocery store, and Big Bend beer!

big bend beer

And if you’ve just had enough of the great outdoors and need a little break, you can always drive an hour to Lajitas, TX to see Clay Henry, the town’s mayor and famous goat.

clay henry

Add Big Bend to your Texas road trip list—it’s fantastic year-round. Even in the summer heat, the park cools down so much at night, making for an easy slumber under the pitch-black sky.