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Marfa, TX

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Marfa Town Skyline

Marfa Town Skyline

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Prada Store Art Installation

Prada Store Art Installation

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Artists Trailer Hotel

Artists Trailer Hotel

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History buffs will tell you the tiny West Texas town of Marfa was flippantly named for a character in a Russian novel. Folks who go there, however, suspect it’s more likely a secret acronym meaning "money and respect for arts." Three hours from the nearest commercial airport, this cultural oasis is, at the very least, intriguing; at best, phenomenal. Underneath the mysterious glow of something locals call "the Marfa lights," a confluence of contemporary creatives practice their literary, visual, musical, and performance arts at a pace that depends more on internal rhythm than it does on external clocks.In this "Capital of Quirky," where the population is less than 2,000, it takes a bit of mental reboot to get in sync. Try parking your car and renting a bicycle for exploring. Book a room at a retro motel, where you can rent a turntable and a typewriter for entertainment. Get fitted for a pair of handmade boots. Go gallery hopping. Order a Marfalafel sandwich from the food truck parked by the railroad tracks. Check out the world’s largest hydroponic tomato-growing research center. Drop in at the bookshop. And hang out with locals at the farmers’ market on Saturday mornings. Then decide for yourself: Did CBS’s 60 Minutes get it right when it came to town?

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Things You Can't Miss

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A Dedicated Setting for Modern Art
A Dedicated Setting for Modern Art

Works of the Chinati Foundation are displayed at varied sites around Marfa, including a former military base. Guided tours are lengthy but instructive.

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Robbie Becklund/Alamy

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Silly Superstition or Intriguing Mystery?
Silly Superstition or Intriguing Mystery?

The “Marfa lights” have been observed for more than a century. To see for yourself — or try, anyway — head to the viewing site 10 miles east of town.

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RGB Ventures LLC dba SuperStock/Alamy

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A Perfect Lookout Point
A Perfect Lookout Point

Climb to the cupola of the 1886 Presidio County Courthouse for a great panorama of the town, the Marfa Plateau and distant mountain peaks.

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Efrain Padro/Alamy

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Car Rental Do's and Don'ts

Use this checklist to mind the details you need to consider when signing a rental car agreement. Don't forget about gas, insurance, and what rules and restrictions the rental agency demands.

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Travel North to Tour Fort Davis National Historic Site
Travel North to Tour Fort Davis National Historic Site

Twenty-one miles from Marfa is one of the best surviving examples of a southwestern frontier military post, active during the period from 1854 to 1891.

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George H.H. Huey/Alamy

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10 Buildings With Storied Pasts

These unique, 50-plus-year-old structures still stand — and they still intrigue.

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Enjoy One of the Most Scenic Drives in Texas
Enjoy One of the Most Scenic Drives in Texas

A 75-mile loop starts in Fort Davis and follows routes 118 and 166 for beautiful vistas of the Davis Mountains. It’s the state’s highest public highway.

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Witold Skrypczak/Alamy

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7 Classic American Roadside Attractions

Wonderfully weird, kitschy, fun or historic places that are worth a pit stop.

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