The Big Bend area has always been one of the most alluring places in the South. On one highway, a trio of towns-Marfa, Alpine, and Marathon-show that untamed geography stirs an inspiring spirit.
Of the highway town trio, Alpine is the busy one, where outliers visit for dry cleaning, a pharmacy, an Amtrak pickup station, or the largest grocery. Alpine’s thriving liberal arts university Sul Ross State looks down on the town, which, like its neighbor communities, lives at nearly mile-high elevation. Sweet aromas in the mountain-fresh air pull locals to Judy’s Bread and Breakfast, where folks pass the paper over homemade cinnamon rolls. Even as a passerby, I get warm looks that say pull up a chair.
photo: The art installation Marfa Prada stands as lonesome and odd as a runway model hitchhiking U.S. 90.