September 03, 2023
On the way home from a trip to far West Texas in late July, my friend and I swung through tiny Marathon, Texas, for lunch. Fifty miles east of Marfa and 50 miles north of Big Bend National Park, Marathon is known as the gateway to remote Big Bend. Only around 365 people live in Marathon, and yet it boasts a beautiful hotel and several nice restaurants, bars, and shops. Also, surprisingly, a European-style garden-park, which I hope to see on a future visit.
The Gage Hotel
The centerpiece of the main road through town is the western-elegant Gage Hotel, built in 1927 and restored and reopened in 1982.
The yellow-brick hotel offers more than a night’s sleep for outdoorsy types on their way to Big Bend. With a spa, restaurant, the White Buffalo Bar, and lovely landscaping, patios, and pool, the hotel is a destination in itself. One day I want to come back here for star-gazing under the inky-black skies of West Texas.
Cottonwood-shaded sidewalk on the quiet main street through town
A huge trunking yucca towers over a shady courtyard. Behind the wall…
…a longhorn-shaped arrangement of cow skulls adorns an adobe wall. How meta!
This is ranch country, after all.
A mural on a fence depicts rain falling on the Glass Mountains north of Marathon.
I wandered the grounds, admiring the patios and towering yuccas.
Arched portals decorated with chile ristras define the outdoor spaces.
Another inviting patio
A tile-roofed portal with ristras is irresistible.
On the other side, more cow skulls, ristras, and yuccas add western style to the adobe building.
And check out the size of these flowering yuccas!
Cat posed with them for scale.
Coyote fencing and yuccas
Smaller, softer yuccas here
A double portal with a bell marks the entrance to Los Portales, a courtyard with motel-style rooms at the Gage.
I didn’t venture into this more private space, but it was shaded and lovely.
The front of the hotel has a rocking-chair porch overlooking the main road through town.
Colorful pots dress it up under the Lone Star flag.
The hotel lobby is a study in rustic comfort, with deep-cushioned furniture, a curlicued iron chandelier, and saddles and taxidermy on the walls.
A chiseled wood angel stands watch.
In a sitting room, a Mexican charro saddle with silver accents is displayed in the corner.
And a stuffed mountain lion lounges on a console table.
Its cousin begs for head scratches out on the front porch.
Brick Vault BBQ
We ate lunch down the street at Brick Vault Barbecue.
I got the sliced brisket sandwich, and it was delicious.
Eve’s Garden B&B
After lunch we drove around for a peek at the rest of the town and spotted this greenhouse structure with a purple doorway.
And a cobalt wall with a prickly pear mural imitating life in the garden.
This is Eve’s Garden B&B, which has a charming garden with this mosaic sign embedded in the path.
Another bit of the mosaic path
And more! I would love to have explored the whole garden, but since I wasn’t a guest I just peeked from the parking area.
And here’s the colorful front of Eve’s Garden B&B.
That’s it for my series about my trip to West Texas! For a look back at the native botanical garden at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center, click here. You’ll find links to the rest of the series at the end of each post.
I welcome your comments. Please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post. And hey, did someone forward this email to you, and you want to subscribe? Click here to get Digging delivered directly to your inbox!
Come learn about garden design from the experts at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance; simply click this link and ask to be added. The Season 7 lineup can be found here.
Tour several Austin gardens on Saturday, November 4, on the Garden Conservancy’s Open Day tour for Travis County. Tickets must be purchased online in advance and will be available beginning September 1st.
All material © 2023 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.