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Tag Archives: Marfa

Travel Mementos

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We’re going through boxes this week as we prepare to move to Las Vegas. I’ve come across all kinds of items I’d forgotten about, and many of them have to do with travel.

I found the ring that I bought in Rome when I was 21 years old. I’m now wearing it on a daily basis after neglecting it for several years.

Ring from Rome trip.

I found the complimentary luggage tag that we were given at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo when we travelled there in 2004.

Luggage tag

I found the black bear toy that I bought for my daughter when we went to the Smokies this summer, and I found my favorite pair of jeans that have travelled with me countless times and are tattered to the point that they aren’t acceptable to wear in public.

Black bear toy from Smoky Mountain NP

worn out jeans

And then there’s the scorpion lollypop that I bought in Marfa, Texas. Yes, that’s a real scorpion in there. No, I don’t plan on eating it.

scorpion lollypop

We’ve never spent much money on souvenirs because it’s the little things–the complimentary luggage tags, the receipts written in German, the $10 t-shirts–that have always brought back the fondest memories.

What kinds of souvenirs do you collect when you travel?

Concluding Our Time in Texas: A Collection of the Best Experiences

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Big Bend

Our two years in Texas are coming to a close. I started this blog the summer we moved here, and it has been fun going through previous posts to bring you this: the ultimate Texas round-up post. (Wandering Off will continue from Las Vegas. I’ll try my best to blog during the move, so stay tuned!)

Here we go: these are our best, weirdest, most memorable Texas moments…

Best Nature Memories:

Enchanted Rock: my daughter and I climbed a 400-foot pink rock.

Balmorhea State Park: I’ll never forget swimming in the world’s largest spring-fed pool with my daughter…and practically having the place to ourselves because we went on a Monday!

Pedernales Falls: Like Balmorhea, we felt like the only people there when we visited on a weekday in winter.

Best Big City Adventures:

Houston: a fabulous, family-friendly city. Underrated, in my opinion.

Ice cream in front of the Alamo: one of our favorite family traditions here in San Antonio.

Foodie Favorites:

Tre Trattoria: I love their pan-seared gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce.

Las Canarias: a great place for a special-occasion Sunday brunch. Oustanding food, but my daughter wasn’t so sure about the music.

Art Adventures:

Byzantine Fresco Chapel (Houston): a peaceful spot to see beautiful Byzantine frescoes right here in Texas.

Prada Marfa: a modern art installation located in the middle of nowhere. Try not to be abducted by aliens.

Weird Stuff:

The moment I realized I had become an honorary Texan.
Our run-in with the weirdest mascot in all of sports.
Our run-in with a ridiculously ugly duck.

Thank you so much for reading Wandering Off and for your thoughtful comments. I can’t wait to start this new chapter of our lives in Nevada, but I will miss this wonderful place that we’re leaving behind.

Happy trails!

Texas Historical Marker: El Paisano Hotel

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Paisano Hotel, Marfa.


The Paisano Hotel was built in 1930 in anticipation of a boom in the local economy. However, that boom never happened. Today, visitors to Marfa, Texas can spend the night at this historic hotel…or just stop by for dinner at Jett’s Grill and a stroll through the hotel’s lobby and courtyard. (In fact, we ate at Jett’s Grill twice during our stay in Marfa!)

Paisano Hotel, Marfa.

To read more about accomodations in Marfa, you might want to check out my post Thunderbird Hotel: Feeling the Retro Vibe.

Thunderbird Hotel: Feeling the Retro Vibe

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Thunderbird Hotel. Key

While planning a trip to the artsy town of Marfa, Texas, you’ll find plenty of interesting accomodation options. Stay in a yurt at El Cosmico? Opt for the historic Hotel Paisano? In my case, the decision was pretty easy to make: I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to stay at the retro-fabulous Thunderbird Hotel.

Where to begin? The hotel offers a vinyl library, sweet-smelling Malin + Goetz bath products, and old-fashioned room keys. The pool is small but clean, and the rooms are furnished in a style that I can best describe as “Donald Judd meets Texas.”

We stayed in a standard room that consisted of a queen bed, desk and chair, and a large bathroom.

Thunderbird Hotel, Marfa, Texas

The hotel first opened in 1959, but was redesigned and renovated in 2005. It maintains the retro vibe, but with a modern twist. There is an attention to detail that can be seen in the pad of paper, pencil, and postcards that sit on the desk in each room. The light blue, orange, and white reflect the West Texas world that sits outside.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay. The only problem was the overly-sensitive smoke alarm. The first morning, it went off after I took a shower. I informed a hotel emloyee, and someone showed up quickly to remedy the problem. However, it went off again the next morning.

The hotel website states, “The Thunderbird is everything a small hotel should be, providing privacy, hospitality and stylishness without pretension.” I consider this a pretty accurate description. Thanks for a great stay, Thunderbird Hotel!

Note: I paid the standard price for our room, and I did not inform anyone at the hotel that I planned on writing this review. All opinions are my own.

Photo Essay: West Texas

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Open road in West Texas:
Open Road, West Texas

Welcome to Big Bend:
Big Bend sign

The former swamp:
Big Bend, former swamp

The vastness of West Texas:
West Texas

Fort Leaton State Historic Site near Presidio, Texas:
Fort Leaton State Park

A purprle cactus at Fort Leaton:
Purple Cactus, Fort Leaton State Park

A lone historical marker:
Historical Marker, West Texas

Presidio County Courthouse:
Presidio County Courthouse

Coffee and ice cream in Marfa, Texas:

Open everyday in Marfa:
Frama Coffee and Ice Cream

We were lucky to have wonderful travel companions on this trip. You can check out more West Texas photos at

Stay tuned for more West Texas fun here on Wandering Off. I’ll be writing about state and national parks, a super-cool retro hotel, and why I was totally unprepared for this trip. Happy trails!

Making New Friends in Marfa, Texas

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My daughter makes new friends everywhere she goes.

E and Dog at the Thunderbird Hotel

I took this photo in the lobby of the Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa, Texas. Stop by Wandering Off again soon to read more about our West Texas adventure.

To see Photo Friday posts from other travellers, visit the family travel blog Delicious Baby.


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