Cowboys & Indians Celebrates J.P. Bryan’s Latest Cultural Contribution

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“You might say J.P. Bryan’s magnificent Texas obsession began when he was a kid on the beach saving sea turtles with his grandma. Throughout a life full of Forbes-worthy achievements, you could almost draw a line from those sandy sea-air days of his youth on the Gulf Coast across the decades to what might be his crowning glory: the new Bryan Museum in Galveston, Texas.”

– Cowboys & Indians, January 2016

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J.P. Bryan, owner of the Gage Hotel and guardian of its legacy, is also a life-long student and collector of Texas history and Western art. After years of dedication and hard work, he recently opened the Bryan Museum in Galveston, Texas. The museum is a dazzling display of historic and culturally significant art, artifacts and information. We recommend anyone visiting the area or able to make a special trip to Galveston to plan a visit.

Click through read the entire Cowboys & Indians article here.

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Looking back at 2015

As the year is coming to a close, we are looking back to the fun times you all have shared during your stays at the Gage Hotel. From the weddings and weekend escapes, to summer fun and the holidays, we have truly enjoyed having you all and being a part of your West Texas adventures. Here are some of our favorites of 2015:


A beautiful moment captured by @shannons_photos


Chef Bruce Auden with Guests during Grilling at the Gage


@panchothepartydog getting to know our cow in the Gage Gardens


A fun looking bachelorette party shared by @amycradford


@clintmiller9 and friends enjoying their time in the Los Portales courtyard



Yummy looking meal of quail on a bed of red pepper risotto ordered by @kates.plate


@twodrifters warming up by the fire



Wild west Texas weather… brrr!


@justinstasney and friends celebrating their Marathon2Marathon success in the White Buffalo Bar

Happy New Year! We can’t wait to see you again in 2016!

Our favorite summer photos

What a fun summer season we’ve had here at the hotel! From Viva Big Bend to Grilling at the Gage, it has been a fun-filled summer and we loved seeing all of the great times had by our guests. Come back and visit us soon! Below are some of our favorite photos taken at the hotel this summer:

We love this photo from @setforthinstyle!

We love this photo from @setforthinstyle!

Nothing like relaxing yoga and meditation in the Gage Gardens! Photo courtesy of @ranchovilla_bigbend

Nothing like relaxing yoga and meditation in the Gage Gardens! Photo courtesy of @ranchovilla_bigbend

Relaxing on the porch with some pipes. These guys know how to live! Photo courtesy of @rrs1179

Relaxing on the porch with some pipes. These guys know how to live! Photo courtesy of @rrs1179

Amazing photo from @jjkennemer of a storm rolling through West Texas!

Amazing photo from @jjkennemer of a storm rolling through West Texas!

There's nothing more beautiful than a couple in love. Thank you for letting us share your special day @onsosa18

There’s nothing more beautiful than a couple in love. Thank you for letting us share your special day @onsosa18!

Wonderful collection of polaroid snapshots from around the hotel from @kodyrak.

Wonderful collection of polaroid snapshots from around the hotel from @kodyrak.

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This cute pooch was visiting us with his wonderful owner @des_reminted.

Fall Events in the Big Bend Area

If you are looking for a weekend getaway excuse this fall, look no further than a stay at Gage. Not only is the fall season a beautiful time to have an adventure in Big Bend National Park, there is also so much going on in the area and we’ve got your accommodations covered.

September 18 – Tom Lea: A Retrospective Exhibit at Museum of the Big Bend

The newest exhibit at Museum of the Big Bend celebrates the work of muralist, illustrator, war correspondent, portraitist, landscapist, novelist and historian, Tom Lea. His work has taken him all over the world but most of his art focuses on subjects found right here near his home on the border between Texas and Mexico.

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September 18 – Marathon West Fest Cabrito and BBQ Cook-off

Whether you are a BBQ extraordinaire and want to give this cook-off a go, or just want to try some delicious West Texas beef, this event is for you. After the cook-off throw on your boots prepare to get down to the tunes of Craig Carter and Spur of the Moment at Post Park.


October 16-17 – Friends of Big Bend “Ride 4 Trails” Motorcycle Rally

For its 18th year, more than 400 riders are expected to ride in support of Big Bend National Park. This fun-filled event includes live music, BBQ, bike parade, games, show competitions and some gorgeous scenery with rides that will blow you away.


October 24 – Marathon 2 Marathon

You don’t have to be a marathoner or a runner to be a part of this fun event! The race offers a full marathon, ½ marathon, 10K and 5K where the finish line ends right in front of the Gage Hotel! A pasta dinner, live entertainment, and ‘Post Race Party’ keep the good times rolling on all night long.


October 24 – Terlingua Green Scene

This family friendly festival celebrates green living and promotes it in fun ways for everyone. Demonstrations, crafts, art, local food, music and a great time are some of the things you can expect at the Green Scene. Not only is this a fun way to learn about “being green” but all proceeds go to the Terlingua Community Garden!

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The Gage Hotel’s Fall Music Calendar

Come join us on our restaurant patio this fall! We have several weekends of great live music we know you will enjoy. Hold on to your hats as you take a listen to our exciting line-up:

September 4 – Hillie Bills

September 5 – The Warhorses

October 10 – Abe Mac Band

October 31 – Rick Ruiz

For more information on these artists visit our website.

Viva Big Bend at the Gage

viva_big_bendGrab your partner! For the third year in a row, The Gage Hotel will be hosting the sole Marathon location of the Viva Big Bend Texas music festival, and it’s free!

This year, Viva Big Bend’s celebration of Texas music, July 23-26, will feature more than 60 performances at 10 venues across the Big Bend area in Alpine, Marathon, Marfa and Fort Davis. The music genres range from country to rock ‘n roll to mariachi, all complemented by the beautiful back drop that is Big Bend.

Prepare to start two-stepping and head banging as you check out the official trailer of Viva Big Bend 2015:

Gage Hotel Viva Big Bend Line-up:

Friday, July 24th

12:15-1:30 p.m. The O’s


2:00-3:15 p.m. William Clark Green


4-5:15 p.m. Anthony Ray Wright


Purchase your Viva Big Bend tickets here.

Don’t Miss Grilling At The Gage – Summer Event Series

We are so excited about this year’s Grilling at the Gage summer lineup!

June 13: Pecan Lodge

At Pecan Lodge, Dallas’s most award-winning BBQ is smoked in a pit and steeped in time-honored tradition. What started as a little stand at the Farmer’s Market has grown up and is now a brick-and-morter in the heart of Deep Ellum. For one night only, the chefs of Pecan Lodge will sharpen their knives, fire up their grills and set-up shop at the Gage Hotel, creating a very special dinner menu for our guests.

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Music following dinner will be performed by the one and only Abe Mac Band!

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July 18th: Biga on the Banks

San Antonio’s Biga on the Banks has a reputation for innovative New American cuisine. Led by chef and owner Bruce Auden, a native North Londoner, Biga on the Banks is well known for its adventuresome, original and creative menus. Recognized early in his career as one to watch among the new rising stars of regional cuisine, Auden brought a worldly fusion of influences to his brand of nouvelle American cuisine. For one night only, Auden and his team will guest chef at the Gage Hotel, preparing a special, pre-fix menu for our guests.

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After dinner, guests will have the pleasure of listening to the amazing Kelley Mickwee!

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August 15th: Grilling in the Garden with 12 Gage

Serving Texas inspired specialties with a gourmet twist, the Gage Hotel’s award-winning restaurant offers a refined menu that changes seasonally and utilizes high-quality ingredients including locally sourced wild game, beef, fowl and fresh seafood served with vegetables and herbs grown in our own Gage Garden. This summer, head chef Brandon Waddell will serve a one-night pre-fix menu for our guests in the Gage Gardens, what will prove to be a very special evening under a blanket of West Texas stars.

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Don’t miss Tessy Lou & The Shotgun Stars performing after this delicious dinner!

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This is going to be an amazing summer full of delicious food and lively music! Call now for tickets and room reservations.

A message from Gage Hotel owner JP Bryan

Dear Friends and Guest of the Gage Hotel,

We have decided to write a quarterly newsletter and send you updates on things of interest to encourage you to make a visit to this unique and fascinating part of Texas. Since this is the first, let me highlight some of the history and features that will make a visit to the Gage a memorable experience.

First, we as Texans, either by chance or choice, share in the greatest history of any State in the Union. Part of this historical uniqueness and grandeur is bound in the land. It introduces itself as an omnipresent force when one crosses the Pecos River into the vast Trans Pecos Region; the center of which is Brewster County, the least populated and largest county in the State which totals over 3,963,520 acres.

Here under the spell of the Chihuahuan Desert, framed by the eastern most extension of the Rocky Mountains, and in the charming small community of Marathon, resides the Gage Hotel. For the Mescalero and Lipan Apache, this was a mystical land – a place of religious importance.   We believe it still is. This land, of the long view of the earth below and vast array of heaven’s brightest stars above, calms the soul.

At the Gage, we try to balance your stay by making your experience here comfortable enough so you won’t feel the need to depart by promoting a desire for you to experience the adventure of one of the last great frontiers of America. Visit the Big Bend National Park, nearly a million acres of desert terrain punctuated by the bountiful forested Chisos Mountains and defined by the Rio Grande as it meanders through the crevices of Mariscal, Boquillas and Santa Elena canyons. Just a short distance west of the park is the colorful community of Terlingua, home to a famed Chili Cook-off, and not far away, in Lajitas is a wonderful resort golf course that extends from the river to the surrounding hills. To the north is the beautifully restored cavalry fort, Fort Davis, and nearby on Mt. Livermore is the McDonald Observatory where families can enjoy a star party viewing the wonders of the heavens of the Southern Hemisphere. These are only a few suggestions of the many unique venues that will pique your interest and provide you moments of reflections on history and the wonders of God’s creation.

We continue to make notable improvements at the Gage Hotel to enhance your experience here. Recently, an extensive restoration was completed to the guest rooms in the historic hotel which feature beautiful new baths and room furnishings. Two years ago, we purchased and completely restored the historic Captain Shepard’s home, built in 1890, which includes five bedrooms in the main house and two in a carriage house surrounded by a large beautifully landscaped private yard ideal for a special family or corporate gathering. Currently, we are polishing the look of our 28-acre Gage Garden which include walking and running trails, ponds, native landscape trees, plants and flowers offering one of the premiere bird and butterfly watching spots in the entire region. Additionally, our Gage Spa has added new services for your enjoyment and our famous 12-Gage Restaurant, White Buffalo Bar and hotel were recently featured in Texas Monthly, Texas Highways, Western Art and Architecture, Dallas Morning News and the Austin American Statesman. For guests wanting to take home something special from the area, don’t miss our new V-6 Collection store, featuring unique area books, art, antiques, decorative home accessories and Gage logo items.

Foremost, it is our goal is for you to enjoy this part of the world we have come to love, but equally important is that you find your stay with us rewarding enough to want to return again and again.

JP Bryan

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Meet Our New Spa Director – Hillie Bills!


1. Give us a little history abut yourself. Where are you from?

Im from upstate New York, but spent a lot of my childhood living in Europe where my father worked.

2. Why did you choose a career in the spa industry?

Many years ago when I was living in New York, I began working with nutritionists and body workers in order to seek the best treatment for my own wellbeing. I found myself so interested in information about health and wellness that my focus eventually expanded. What started out as a personal project ultimately turned into a professional career in the spa industry.

Working in this field has led me to believe that an approach based purely on scientific data or acquiring factual information is just one small part of our overall health.  So much of our general well-being is a result of our attitude and behaviors.  Negative self worth leads to stress hormones stress hormones lead to illness. Helping people ease into a positive mind frame is so rewarding to me and is one of my favorite things about working in this business.

3. What brought you out to Marathon?

I drove through West Texas a year and a half ago, and I knew it was the place for me.   My main artistic pursuits outside work are writing songs about cowboys and watching Spaghetti Westerns. Marathon was a perfect fit for my creative life, but what sealed the deal for me was the opportunity to direct the Gage Spa and continue working in the wellness field.

4. How do you like Marathon, TX and the Gage Hotel?

It was love at first sight. Im still in the honeymoon phase and expect that phase to last for a very long time. Im originally from a very small river town on the East Coast.  Subtract the fishing boats and add tumbleweeds, and its pretty much the same place. Needless to say, I feel at home here and the people at the Gage Hotel feel like family to me.

5. How does the Gage Spa compare to other places you have worked?

Ive worked in some very busy places.  In the spa industry we emphasize the cultivation of down-time, balance and stopping to smell the roses.  Following a relaxing treatment at many spas, spa professionals release their clients back into the hectic and frantic grind of every day life.    

At the Gage Spa, I enjoy the experience of providing high-quality services to clients in an exquisitely peaceful environment, and then sending them off into the gorgeous, quiet calm of West Texas.  The combination of such a tranquil spa setting and the natural beauty surrounding us amplifies the benefits of their treatments.  

And the best part for me is that I get to live in this idyllic atmosphere, too! At the Gage Spa, it doesnt feel like a job that I clock in and out of.

6. What services are currently offered at the spa?

Massage, body treatments, skincare treatments and Bridal Hair and Make-up.

I still believe fully in the importance of touch in the spa world, and therefore we dont use any tools or big equipment. Theres a general trend in the spa industry to rely heavily on machinery.  I think we lose something there.  Im happy to be in such a traditional spa where the hands do the work.

7. What changes have you made so far to the spa at the Gage Hotel?

My focus has been on the many little things that add to the greater spa experience, including creating a space and amenity offerings that rival offerings at large destination spas.

Guests now have many more options of treatments including the ability to lounge in your spa robe while drinking our signature organic tea, indulging in a foot soak, having makeup applied after a facial and before dinner, requesting in-room massages and more. Those kind of personalized experiences were important for me to implement at the Gage Spa and guests have loved them.

8. What changes do you see in the future of the spa?

Many!  The Spa is so beautifully designed, all of our guests comment on how much they love the space.  We are looking to take that idea and to expand it so that more time can be spent lounging and soaking in the experience.  

Ultimately Id love for the spa gardens to be somewhat self-sustaining in terms of offering people spa-oriented meals or juices in the midst of a day-long package.  We are becoming more wellness-oriented, which will allow for weekend retreats for folks from the city who are trying to reorient their health on a number of levels.

We are also exploring the idea of incorporating more hydrotherapy elementsbasically adding more water features and activities to the spa, especially since were in an arid climate.  Between the water and plant-based options on the horizon for us, I believe our spa will soon be considered the premiere oasis in West Texas!

9. How do you want customers to feel upon arriving and leaving the Gage Hotel Spa?

Embraced and balanced, respectively.

Gage Spa