A day after returning to Austin, I’m feeling a little guilty about the harsh words I used to describe my first impression of Marfa, TX. When I began writing about the experience, I was…well, mad. I rolled into this ghost town and felt like I’d been duped by a great PR campaign. I wanted others to learn from my mistake.

It should be noted that my mind had changed about the town after less than 24 hours.

What I couldn’t appreciate at first sight was how this town has adopted Donald Judd’s minimal style and philosophy and embraced it as a way of life. You will not be overfed or overstimulated in Marfa (aside from the art displayed in the many galleries). You are forced to exist simply…without a lot of hoo-hah.

Pardon me if I kind of did a freakdance at first. I tend to like a decent amount of hoo-hah if I’ve driven 6.5 hours for the experience. All I could think at first was, oh gawd…I drove all this way and paid $4.29 a gallon (in some parts of TX) for this? I suppose I needed to chillax a bit…and I did.

So here’s the thing.

Feast your eyes on the ghost town:

…and just know that you’re gonna have to do without your Venti-Nonfat-No-Water-Chai for a few days. You’re here for the art anyway.

What changed it for me? Look around:

You’d swear you were in South Austin, wouldn’t you?


Great way to start our day.

Best art books.

The Austin Street Cafe’s only open on weekends until 3. Normally a big fan of color, I warmed to their crisp white-black-latte palette and loved the mix of antiques and modern touches. The food was amazing too!


And then there’s Cochineal, the perfect way to celebrate my birthday.  Locally known as “Tom and Toshi’s,” book a reservation and by all means try Toshi’s Date Bread Pudding with Rum Caramel Sauce. Good grief, that was good.

I’m in love with the walls and the ceiling in the tiny dining room. Colorful and simple, the accordion-fold screens along the perimeter are literally highlighted through the use of uplights. The wool felt strung in wavy strips near the ceiling creates texture and adds a bit of softness to balance all the hard edges.

This doesn’t even begin to cover it, but you get the idea. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that hoo-hah is in the eye of the beholder.