“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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Our family loves visiting West Texas and we find something new each time we visit. We can’t wait to head west again!”
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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”!
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!
(Photo credits: Daniel Self, Andrew Slaton and the Marathon Historical Museum)
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.
William 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.
Hold on to your hats! This fall we have a great line up of events happening both at the Gage and in Marathon, TX. You Come visit us and check out the exciting music, festivals and more that are happening this sweater season!
Don’t forget to cozy up next to a warm fire on a plush leather sofa with a hot drink on our cooler fall nights!
Attention music lovers and road warriors: are you hitting the road for El Cosmico music festival this weekend?
If so, we have a travel tip for a delicious pit stop along the way – one that includes a Texas Monthly-rated “Best Burger”, fan-favorite prickly pear margarita, and a famous White Buffalo. And if you have a bit more time, a sparkling swimming pool under the big West Texas sky.
Whether we are a stop on your way to or from El Cosmico, we hope to see you along the way at the Gage Hotel.
Culture and history run deep in our little town of Marathon, as does our love for a good ole’ mom and pop shop.
With a range of shops as unique and authentic as the Gage Hotel itself, the towns’ shops are a true reflection of the spirit of the West.
These family-owned and operated local businesses are not only chock full of lovely regional fashion, antiques, dry goods and artwork, it is also a great way to get to know some of the nicest, most interesting people around.
So, break out your shopping bag, take a stroll on down ol’ Main Street, and say howdy to our neighbors!
Our last, and very special installment of the Grilling at the Gage summer series will take place on Saturday, September 6th, with Ámericas chef David Cordúa and his guest, and father, Michael Cordúa.
This father-and-son chef duo has created a mouth-watering menu of the Latin-inspired plates and incredible desserts that have made their Houston-based restaurants so successful. The complete menu is below. (Warning: may ignite appetite!)
This intimate dinner includes a signature cocktail, lively conversation with the chefs and a book signing of their new cookbook, Cordúa: Food of the Americas.
Reservations are required. Tickets are $75 per person (plus tax and gratuity).