• Photo: Sue Stokes/Shutterstock

Plan Your Marfa Vacation

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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