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NoRagrets

Marfa, Alpine, and Fort Davis

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Help me out. I've never been but have an airbnb with a bunch of friends (not bringing kids) in Marfa this May. We like art, food, patios, hiking, live music, etc.

from what I've read, these seem like the must do's:

Big Bend day trip

star party

marfa lights

chinati foundation (tour or self?)

 

places to eat and drink:

Capri

Jett's

planet marfa

marfa burrito

alicia's in alpine?

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Just now, NoRagrets said:

Help me out. I've never been but have an airbnb with a bunch of friends (not bringing kids) in Marfa this May. We like art, food, patios, hiking, live music, etc.

from what I've read, these seem like the must do's:

Big Bend day trip

star party

marfa lights

chinati foundation (tour or self?)

 

places to eat and drink:

Capri

Jett's

planet marfa

marfa burrito

alicia's in alpine?

Also, we are divided between lovers of wine, beer, and tequila.

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A Big Bend day trip seems like it wouldn't be worth it unless you just want to say you've been there.  You can hardly get from one section of the park to another without driving an hour and back on top of the drive to and from Marfa.  If you just want a good scenic hike or something you could find it locally. 

I like the hike from Davis Mountain State Park that brings you over the ridge to the lookout above Fort Davis (the actual Fort, not just the town).   A guided horseback ride should be easy to find around any of the 3 towns too.  Prude Ranch in Ft Davis is one.

 

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Pretty sure that you can only do a guided tour of Chinati Foundation.

Bring binoculars for Marfa Lights.

Second the Davis Mtn SP hike.

St. George is probably the best place to eat in Marfa.

 

What do you mean by, "Big Bend Day trip"?  I'm assuming you mean drive down to the National Park.  Do you have a specific hike or two in mind, or do you just plan to drive around the park?  If you're in the area, La Kiva and Starlight in Terlingua have a good and great food, respectively.  If you're in the area, y'all have to at least stop into La Kiva for a drink.

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Was just out there again last month

 

Best restaurants in the area:

LaVenture at St George

Cochineal

12 Gage in Marathon

Alicias for breakfast

Starlight in Terlingua for margaritas/experience

 

For bars:

Starlight and La Kiva near the park

Hotel St George has the best cocktails in the area

 

For coffee: 

Cedar Coffee Supply is incredible

Plaine and Frama also great

 

To do:

Stay a night in big bend. Its worth it. Hike Santa Elena Canyon and Lost Mine if you only have 1 day

 

Davis mountians are cool, but currently some parts of the park are shut down due to controlled burns/renovations

 

Marfa lights are cool to see once

 

Star party at McDonald... but book early

 

Chianti Foundation/Prada Marfa/Marathon Target

 

wake up at 6am, drive to guadalupe mountians national park. Hike guadalupe peak trail (5hr hike).

 

Visit DOM rock

 

 

 

In my opinion skip:

 

Do your thing coffee - was garbage

Capri - food was terrible and wife got food poisoning

Marfa Burrito - overrated

Railroad blues/lost horse/any dive bar in marfa or alpine - meh

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Went to the Capri a couple years ago, not knowing anything about it. Took two grubby boys there and we were pretty gross from camping, but they took our money (plenty of it). It was a bit precious, but the drinks were good, as was the ribeye:
c86554aef86385a0e52504104c2a9841.jpg

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Hiking Mt Livermore at the Davis Mountains Preserve is pretty great, when its open.  They have many open dates throughout the year when its free to go.  Much impressive mountains than the State Park

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On 3/31/2018 at 7:36 AM, AnonymousInternetPoster said:

Pretty sure that you can only do a guided tour of Chinati Foundation.

Bring binoculars for Marfa Lights.

Second the Davis Mtn SP hike.

St. George is probably the best place to eat in Marfa.

 

What do you mean by, "Big Bend Day trip"?  I'm assuming you mean drive down to the National Park.  Do you have a specific hike or two in mind, or do you just plan to drive around the park?  If you're in the area, La Kiva and Starlight in Terlingua have a good and great food, respectively.  If you're in the area, y'all have to at least stop into La Kiva for a drink.

Looking for a 2-3 hour hike recommendation in the NP. However, also would like to know more about off-road adventures to be had in the state park of big bend. My friend is bringing his jacked up wrangler.

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The National Park and State Park really should be their own trip separate from Marfa. It takes to long to get down there and you need as much time as you can get to enjoy them. They are both fantastic, you don't want to short change them.

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10 hours ago, NoRagrets said:

Looking for a 2-3 hour hike recommendation in the NP. However, also would like to know more about off-road adventures to be had in the state park of big bend. My friend is bringing his jacked up wrangler.

As suggested, Lost Mine Trail fits your timeline and will give you the best bang for the buck.  Not that difficult of a hike, beautiful scenery driving up into the basin just to get to the hike (make sure you pass Lost Mine Trailhead to see the actual basin) and amazing views along/at the end of the hike.

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10 hours ago, TyphoonSe7en said:

The National Park and State Park really should be their own trip separate from Marfa. It takes to long to get down there and you need as much time as you can get to enjoy them. They are both fantastic, you don't want to short change them.

8 minutes ago, AnonymousInternetPoster said:

As suggested, Lost Mine Trail fits your timeline and will give you the best bang for the buck.  Not that difficult of a hike, beautiful scenery driving up into the basin just to get to the hike (make sure you pass Lost Mine Trailhead to see the actual basin) and amazing views along/at the end of the hike.

Trying to fit big bend in seems like a lot. 

I'd do something around Davis mtn state park. Also should check out the observatory. Either day tour or night viewing 

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Heading out there on Thursday for 5 days, other than the Marfa Lights, we probably won't spend too much time in Marfa.  We will hit up Ft. Davis National Park and Davis Mountains State Park.  As someone mentioned take a swim in Balmorhea if you can.  If your up that way, Poco Mexico Café is right outside Ft. Davis on the highway to Balmorhea.

A day in Alpine, checking out the Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross and hitting up Reata that night.

El Patio in Presidio is a good lunch spot if you plan on driving 170 from Presidio to Lajitas   Ft. Leaton is a good stopping point if you want to check out an old trading post from the Indian War days. 

We plan on spending a night at Big Bend Ranch State Park before heading toward Terlingua.  Probably grab lunch at Starlight, drive through the National Park and end up in Marathon for the night.  Going to hit up Langtry on the way home, never been to the Jersey Lilly.

 

 

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1 hour ago, AnonymousInternetPoster said:

I could be mistaken, but I don't believe that La Kiva or Starlight are open for lunch.

Thanks for heads up.....probably just press on to Panther Junction and the Lodge at the National Park.

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7 hours ago, AnonymousInternetPoster said:

As suggested, Lost Mine Trail fits your timeline and will give you the best bang for the buck.  Not that difficult of a hike, beautiful scenery driving up into the basin just to get to the hike (make sure you pass Lost Mine Trailhead to see the actual basin) and amazing views along/at the end of the hike.

 

As one who has been out there 37 times now and has taken several tens of thousands of photographs, I concur. Lost Mine is the best bang for your buck.

If you are in Marfa, I can't recommend driving the Pinto Canyon road highly enough. It's the best road in Texas. Take it down to Ruidosa, Texas (along the Rio Grande) then make a left and drive the river road to Terlingua.  The Starlight is nice but I actually like La Kiva much, much more. It's been voted one of the best bars in the world by several different magazines. 

 

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Yeah, definitely separate the NP and the SP to different trips. At least the interior of the State Park.

A Wrangler can easily do everything in both, though.

Black Gap is scenic and fun in the NP.

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Starlight > La Kiva

 

La Kiva’s cocktails suck and they stopped serving craft beer 6 weeks ago. That and their food is also crap

 

Its a cool looking bar, but Starlight has better drinks, food, and view

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The Holland Hotel bar in Alpine is legit and you should definitely do a tour of Big Bend Brewery in Alpine. Awesome beer and you'll leave in a very happy state of mind. 

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Love Terlingua Gold from Big Bend Brewery.

As far as La Kiva goes, only order what they do well.  Like pizza.  As far as drinks go, I've found that if you're cool to them (and they don't think that you're an asshole tourist), they'll take care of you.  I ordered a couple of high end Sotol straight up and a prickly pear margarita (for the wife).  The PPM was strong and the Sotols were both 3 finger pours for the price of a shot each.

It's hard to go wrong though with the food and drinks at the Starlight.  Great food and great drinks.  If you see a big dude behind the bar with long hair, tell Gumby...

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21 hours ago, swTXSU said:

Heading out there on Thursday for 5 days, other than the Marfa Lights, we probably won't spend too much time in Marfa.  We will hit up Ft. Davis National Park and Davis Mountains State Park.  As someone mentioned take a swim in Balmorhea if you can.  If your up that way, Poco Mexico Café is right outside Ft. Davis on the highway to Balmorhea.

We plan on spending a night at Big Bend Ranch State Park before heading toward Terlingua.  Probably grab lunch at Starlight, drive through the National Park and end up in Marathon for the night.  Going to hit up Langtry on the way home, never been to the Jersey Lilly.

 

 

where are you staying in bbrsp? it's probably a good 2hrs from the entrance to the hq.  one of these days they'll open up the lajitas entrance.  that would save you a shit ton of time if you're wanting to go to the national park from there.

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2 hours ago, thrillhammer said:

where are you staying in bbrsp? it's probably a good 2hrs from the entrance to the hq.  one of these days they'll open up the lajitas entrance.  that would save you a shit ton of time if you're wanting to go to the national park from there.

We are staying in the Sauceda bunkhouse, yeah the drive in is a pain in the ass but we don't have anything but time.  

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We also got stopped 10 minutes into the State Park by a Ranger and chastised for going 25mph on the gravel road.


I’ve head that this happens there. Kinda sucks, since I can go 40-45 on the NP without issue.

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2 hours ago, Anton Chigurh said:

 


Every road in the SP.

In the NP, Black Gap, Old Ore, River Road, Old Maverick Road.

 

Much appreciated. I'm a little over eager for this trip but I've always wanted to go. I hope that one day we can go to marfa to see Thujone's art, such as concrete dongs in the desert and a gallery of MS Paint "classics."

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Just got back yesterday.  Alpine, Ft. Davis, McDonald Observatory, Marfa, Presidio, Big Bend Ranch State Park, Lajitas, Chisos Basin in the NP, Marathon, Langtry, Comstock, Del Rio, and Uvalde.  Here are a few pictures of our first nights dinner at Reata in Alpine.  Calf fries, ribeye and salmon.

R_Calf_Fries.jpgR_Ribeye.jpgR_Salmon.jpg

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New BBQ Joint in Alpine, had a band playing when we arrived but they quit at seven, a couple of minutes after we arrived.  Special was pork ribs and we got the last rack.  Pretty damn tasty.  Couldn't eat it all, had to share with a kid taking a weekend football visit to SR.

 

CATI_BBQ_Alpinesign.jpgCATI_BBQRibs.jpg

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I went to Marfa and the area back at the end of '15.  There was a similar thread on the old board with many of the same recommendations. All of this is very helpful.

The most helpful tip, though, was to always have drinks and snacks in your car and at your place.   The restaurants out there seem to think their business hours are only suggestions and many are closed for random reasons.  We bought some cheese and crackers and other snacks at the grocery store when we got there.  Despite trying to eat well (we did get to Cochineal, Jett's, M Burrito, etc.) we ended up having to eat the Dairy Queen (only think in town that was open in the middle of the afternoon when we got back from Dom Rock) and also had a fun meal with friends at our VRBO after we got back from the observatory (nothing else was open) of Cheetos, canned mushroom soup that was left in the house, cheese, crackers and the kick ass wine that we had brought with us!  That was a memorable meal.

Also, Food Shark is way overrated.

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Saturday Lunch at El Patio in Presidio.  The chili rellenos is probably in my top three.  Menudo is also top notch.  Salsa was HOT!  Very good tip on keeping some food with you.  We kept a yeti cooler loaded with drinks, sandwich meats, sardines, tamales (get them at the bakery in Presidio) and as much homemade mexican bread as we could fit in a grocery bag.  

 

El_Patio_2.jpgEl_Patio_Menudo_Presidio.jpgEl_Patio_Chili_R_Presidio.jpgHot_Salsa_Presidio.jpg

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I ate at El Patio a long time ago when I was down there doing some radio work for the county. Glad to see they're still open.

I like Mando's in Marfa.

Edited by Equinox

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marfa has become a fashionable edge destination for the trust fund crowd and as such is soon to jump the shark.  everyone asking about 4wd options, especially in the state park, needs to use google.  the state park website is basically a user guide to 4WD and how dangerous it is to do so in the state park if you don't know what you're doing and if you don't have the right equipment.  there are also a number of other barely-more-than-a-trail 4WD options with history that matches their unused and unknown exclusivity.

do your research people.  earn the data.

i'll give you state parkers one tip.

the solitario.

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it's not a half bad idea to make 4wd mandatory for the state park.  you have a flat tire out there and there aint no way you're making it to presidio on a donut.  it's a really strange place out there that our tax dollars are paying for but i like it.  you can supposedly see the solitario from space.  i havent checked the satellite images.  el patio was a lifesaver after 3 days in the park.  

 

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Chuychanga pretty much covered it but Big Bend is not a day trip.....however, there are 24 hours in a day so technically it could be done.

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On 3/31/2018 at 5:48 PM, Damor said:

And if you can work it in, swim at Balmorhea.

Man, THIS.

No matter how bad you feel, an hour in Balmorhea will make you feel good again. 

It's literally impossible to walk out of that place feeling bad.

Edited by Beau Vine
Could also say the same about breakfast at Alicia's in Alpine.

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11 hours ago, Hagbard Celine said:

marfa has become a fashionable edge destination for the trust fund crowd and as such is soon to jump the shark.  everyone asking about 4wd options, especially in the state park, needs to use google.  the state park website is basically a user guide to 4WD and how dangerous it is to do so in the state park if you don't know what you're doing and if you don't have the right equipment.  there are also a number of other barely-more-than-a-trail 4WD options with history that matches their unused and unknown exclusivity.

do your research people.  earn the data.

i'll give you state parkers one tip.

the solitario.

Agree about Marfa, the "I Love Dick" crowd has definitely taken over since that show became famous.  Although I am far from one to give advice on what kind of vehicle to travel in, we made it all the way in to the Solitario in a two wheel drive Chevy P/U. 

Also, can't have a Big Bend thread without a picture of a goat drinking a beer.

 

Clay_Henry_1.jpgClay_Henry_2.jpg

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