In a Texas desert far, far away, one woman falls in love with more than the landscape.
MARFA, Texas – I was getting desperate. I had already been in the car for eight hours when I arrived in Marfa. But I had to endure thirty more minutes of driving before 's warm West Texas embrace could envelop me.
Passing grazing cattle, sprightly white-tailed deer, and looming buffalos on the long, bumpy, ten-mile dirt road to reach it, my anticipation was unbearable, like the moment before a rollercoaster takes its first plunge.
I rounded a bend in the road and there it was, standing with serenity. I immediately took in the chestnut-colored 1850's Spanish fort, the surrounding Chinati Mountains, and the smell of smoked meat. My arduous journey was justified.
I was led to a room accented with Mexican and Spanish antiques, vintage bedside lamps, Saltillo tiled floors, an adobe fireplace, and an inviting bed covered with a hand-stitched quilt.
I am not sure how they knew the way to my heart was a potent, fresh-squeezed lime-juice margarita, hand-mashed guacamole, and house made tortilla chips — but they did and they were. I was in love before cocktail hour was over.
The Ranch thought one step ahead of tomatillo-topped rib-eye steak and Mexican rice, with a post-dinner fire pit roaring beside a tranquil pond. Romantic stargazing through a 12-inch Meade telescope ensued.
I slept deeply beneath the soft sheets and down comforter, the silence punctuated by a few coyote howls. I awoke rested, ready to see Marfa's wild side.
Most women swoon at getting picked up for a date in a limo or a Lamborghini. Not me. Cibolo's tan-colored Humvee with rugged tires, front bumper seats, and gun racks had me running hot (the soaring spring desert temps had nothing to do with it).
I felt like a kid again. We went deep into the Chinati Mountains to find abandoned Texas Ranger houses, Native American rock art, and panoramic vistas perched high above the ranch.
Back at the ranch, we opened door after door of the original fort filled with pictures, furniture, clothing, business contracts, newspaper clippings, animal skins, and weapons. (So this is what 1850s living was like!)
Looking back on my final night at Cibolo Creek Ranch, I know the closet-size chapel was saved for last. Washed in soft light by dozens of candles, it was a dream.
I am not a religious person, but for this one time, I became one.
HCR 67 33 miles S. of Marfa, Texas 74893
MORE ON FATHOM
See our mini Marfa Guide.