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

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

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

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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.

Gage - Pecan Lodge

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

Gage - Abe Mac Band

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.

Gage - Biga on the Banks

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

Gage - Kelly Mickwee

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.

Gage - 12 Gage Restaurant

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!

Hillie

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

The Nichols Photographers- “Why We Love West Texas and The Gage Hotel”

“When I was 12 years old and in 7th grade, I had a phenomenal science teacher who organized summer trips out to West Texas from our small east Texas town. That was the first time I experienced the quiet beauty of the vast, West Texas landscape, which was in such stark contrast to the piney woods and swamplands where I grew up. The wide open spaces that seemed to go on forever opened up my world and fostered my love for heading west.
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Now as a mom of two young girls who love adventure, my husband CJ and I visit our favorite spots in West Texas every chance we get, always capped off with a stay at Marathon’s Gage Hotel.
NICHOLS (20 of 31)
The tiny town of Marathon, TX has won our hearts with it’s quiet, charming main street and friendly residents. We like to bring along our bikes, cruise around the sleepy town and take pictures of the desert landscape. The history of the Gage Hotel and their attention to detail makes staying here such a unique experience, and is such a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life in Austin.
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As photographers, the West Texas landscape offers endless opportunities for photos with it’s unique quality of light and open expanses. Recently, we had the opportunity to document a wedding at the Gage Hotel, and it’s one of our favorites to date.  A wedding at the Gage Hotel is such a relaxed, and festive atmosphere where everyone can come together to celebrate, and practically have an entire town to yourselves! It’s such a fun weekend getaway and unique experience for your guests, and great proximity for exploring Big Bend National Park.
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We were so inspired while documenting this wedding, with the ceremony held at the historic Captain Shepard’s House, and reception at the Gage Hotel courtyard. We were able to steal the bride and groom away for some portraits against the stunning desert landscape, which are my favorite images from the day. We’re looking forward to documenting another wedding here this fall!
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Some of our other favorite West Texas spots include Balmorhea State park, the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. The water is cold and clear and our family enjoys snorkeling and swimming with the catfish.
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We always try to make it to a “star party” at McDonald’s Observatory, the darkest observatory in North America. Astronomers will point out constellations in the night sky and you can view planets through their massive telescopes. It’s a wonderful facility and the stars are spectacular!
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Other spots we love include Big Bend National Park, El Cosmico in Marfa, the Indian Lodge in Davis Mountains State Park, built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp, and we’ll stop off in Alpine to grab a hot dog from “Cow Dog,” a food truck parked on their main street, and pop into Ring Tail Music to browse their records.
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Our family loves visiting West Texas and we find something new each time we visit. We can’t wait to head west again!”

NICHOLS (3 of 31)(All photos courtesy of Nichols Photographers)

The Vaquero – Exhibit

The Gage Hotel is very excited to host an exciting exhibit of photographs and narrative text. They are all about the way of life and traditions of the Mexican vaquero, as captured by noted author and screenwriter of the Lonesome Dove series, Bill Witliff. This exhibit is located in the our Reposa Room from February 6-28. Admission is free!Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 4.13.28 PM

Phillip’s Prickly Pear Margarita

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Phillip, our manager and food and beverage director here at the Gage Hotel, shared with us his most popular drink recipe that keeps visitors raving and craving, even weeks after their stay. Needless to say, this West Texan knows a thing or two about making an amazing and authentic margarita—and we are lucky enough to have him share his secret with us. Happy Friday y’all!

The 5 simple ingredients are as follows:

1.5 ounces  *Pura Vida Silver tequila

2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice

3/4 ounces of Cointreau

Splash of simple syrup

1/2 ounces of prickly pear juice (1/2prickly pear juice, and 1/2 prickly pear purée mix)

After combining the above, add the mixture to a shaker with ice, and shake vigorously. Salt the rim of the glass (or not—whichever you prefer!), and add ice. Then, strain the margarita into your glass and garnish with lime wedge or fruit of your choice.

Voila! You have your self a delicious homemade Prickly Pear Margarita, courtesy of the Gage Hotel. Enjoy!
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7 Spots You May Not Have Seen in Marathon, TX

For those of you who have visited us before, you may think you’ve seen all that Marathon has to offer! However, our little town has a few hidden gems that may surprise you. Next time you’re out visiting our area take some time to check out some of our treasures!

  1. The Milky Way:  As one of the most isolated areas of the country Marathon’s night sky is one of the top star gazing locations in North America. In fact, it has the least amount of light pollution of any National Park in the lower 48 states and is classified as a Level 1 Dark Sky!MilkyWayOverMarathon copy
  2. Captain Shepard’s House: Don’t miss your chance to see one of the first colonial homes built in the late 1800’s in the town that would soon become Marathon, TX. Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 5.06.27 PM
  3. One of a Kind Shopping: Marathon, TX is host to a variety of stores that you won’t find anywhere else! We guarantee that you’ll find great clothes, antiques and one-of-a-kind art.Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 3.01.31 PM
  4. Marathon Coffee Shop: Not only will their delicious and down-home coffees & fresh baked goods perk you up in the morning, but this is the best spot in Marathon to hear our local banjo player Billy Faier (pictured below) play some fabulous tunes!                             Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 5.06.37 PM
  5. Gage Gardens: At the Gage Hotel we have worked so hard to cultivate a “Secret Garden” of our own. The Gage Gardens is a secluded, peaceful oasis perfect for any family picnic or romantic stroll.Double Rainbow
  6. First School House: This is the oldest school building in Brewster County. Built in 1888 it was used not only for schooling, but for all town public meetings and elections. The structure is still in beautiful shape over 120 years later due to a restoration done in 1928 by the ladies of the Marathon Study Club. Hence the school house’s new nickname – The “Club House”! Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 10.54.19 AM
  7. Marathon Jail: While the first “jail” in Marathon consisted of a windmill and a few chains for drunkenness and disorderly behavior, eventually we upgraded to this small, rock structure. Come inside, take a look and try not to get into any trouble! We’d hate to have to dust off those cuffs!Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 3.06.49 PM

(Photo credits: Daniel Self, Andrew Slaton and the Marathon Historical Museum)

Who Is William Roam and What Is He Doing At The Gage?

At the Gage Hotel we strive to ensure that our guests are treated to the best of the best and we think we’ve found that in the William Roam line of products.

William Roam’s signature Roam Collection is now available in our guest rooms. These finely crafted luxury grooming products are formulated with a unique blend of antioxidant phytonutrients, amino acids, vitamins and minerals for incredibly soft and healthy skin and hair. Best of all, the products are 100% conceived and created in the U.S and packaged with recycled materials. Having tried the products ourselves, we are sold, and know that you will be too.

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Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 3.24.26 PMWilliam Roam strive to encapsulate the “spirit of modern American travel: refined but approachable, sophisticated but spirited” and, like the Gage Hotel and our guests, hold themselves to the highest standards of quality and style which is why we are proud to partner with them.

Come visit us soon!