Marathon, Texas... January of 2013
The Gage is the fifth Texas hotel on my Notable Nights list, designed by Henry Trost.
I decided today would be a good day to spotlight it, since its 100 degrees outside and these snowy photos look refreshing!
Where is Marathon?
Marathon is a tiny West Texas town of about 450, in Brewster, the largest county in Texas. The town was named Marathon in 1882, after Marathon Greece, which evidently has similar open plains.
I've never been to Greece, but I'm guessing there is nothing quite like Big Bend National Park, looming beyond those Greek plains. This Texas town today, is more known for being the last stop to the rugged mountainous terrain of Big Bend!
A Cold Arrival
We were happy they had a room at the inn, when we arrived 2.5 years ago. We had seen closed roads and iced roads and evidently The Gage had been filled up with snowed in guests the night before.
We chatted with our desk host, who was a little weary from all the weather chaos. But she seemed happy to tell me about some ghost sightings. Always good to know!
What a treat on a cold, gray day to step into this cozy, fireplace heated lobby.
Henry Trost would be proud of how the old hotel still reflects the Mission and Spanish style design he built in 1927.
Up We Go
We headed upstairs to our room, which was one of the cheapest. Since our stay they have renovated even more, so there may not be any cheap options.
But we were happy to go for the "down the hall" bath because all the storm stranded guests had moved on. Don and I would basically have our own bathrooms, which were spacious and very nice.
Our Cozy Room
Yes, our room was small with its full size bed and dark furnishings.
But we had our sweet little corner sink, cozy bedding and when we opened the blinds, we had a lovely view of snowy branches!
We could have stayed in a much larger room, in the southwestern style addition. This setup would be pretty nice in warm weather with gardens and pool.
But we loved being a part of the original hotel that Alfred Gage built 88 years ago, as a base to oversee his 500,000 acre ranching operation!
Even with the snow and ice, it was fun wandering the grounds. I'm sure Gage and Trost didn't bother with long horn skull decor.
I'm sure there have always been chairs on this porch... maybe holding ranchers, puffing on cigars! I love a porch with a rocker. If only I'd been wearing a snowsuit, I would have rocked a bit! And the fountain! I do love the sound of a fountain, but I was even more impressed by seeing the fountain with its icy decoration!
The White Buffalo Bar
Don and I have come to Marathon a couple other times and we always stop at the White Buffalo Bar, attached to the old hotel. Don has learned to dodge the buffalo's chin when he walks by. The brown buffalo is a little cuter, in my opinion.
We've enjoyed some good people watching. Our most fun chat was with some ranchers. They described an enjoyable night they spent at the hotel bar once, getting drunk with Tommy Lee Jones (who has a nearby ranch) and Tom Selleck.
My last 2 write ups have focused on the same thing... "cool hotel in the middle of nowhere".
This was the most nowhere of them all, and maybe the most lively. I'm kind of sad that the hotel has become more upscale than when we stayed. It has become more of a hotel for spa enthusiasts than Big Bend hikers. Oh well.
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!