Known as the “Gateway to Big Bend,” Marathon is a town on the edge of the closest thing we have to American frontier in the 21st century. This tranquil and ruggedly beautiful land presents plenty of opportunities to get away from it all while also not being far from one of the most popular places in Texas: Big Bend National Park. Sip a coffee, take a stroll down Marathon’s quaint Main Street, enjoy the view of the mountains, and let this laid-back place recharge your batteries.
Marathon was built in the late 1800’s on the railroad and ranching industries. Each is still a part of life there today, while other remnants and reminders of its earliest days still linger. The Marathon Historical Museum is housed in the town’s first schoolhouse, and the Captain Shepard House - built in 1890 and named for the railroad surveyor who founded the town - is a fully restored piece of the famous Gage Hotel family of rental properties. No trip to Marathon is complete without spending at least one night at the Gage, an upscale hotel with rustic rooms and high-end restaurants.
Speaking of history, Marathon lies on some of the oldest rocks from the Paleozoic Era. Local geographic features like the Glass Mountains and Crinoids Hills offer unusual formations like strike-slip faults and folds, as well as many different types of fossils. But it isn’t all jagged rocks and arid desert here. Check out the Gage Gardens, a lovely 26-acre spot with an orchard, vineyard, pond, and verdant greenery. There’s also Post Park, which offers a shady respite from the West Texas sun amid cottonwood trees by a pond fed by spring water, all surrounded by the Los Caballos Novaculite Mountains.
Along with all the natural wonders to behold, Marathon has a thriving arts scene thanks to a distinguished group of photographers and painters. E. Dan Klepper has exhibited work all over Europe and the U.S., and now showcases his striking small animal and landscape photos from his Klepper Gallery on Avenue D. At the Evans Gallery, proprietor and published photographer James Evans presents his celebrated photos of Big Bend, as well as a custom line of screen-printed home goods. Interesting local businesses such as The Rusty Rabbit and the V6 Collection sell books, paintings, photographs, pottery and jewelry from local artists, as well. If you like to take something unique home with you from your travels, then you’ll find a lot of surprises in Marathon.
From shopping and dining to yoga and stargazing, leisure is the order of the day in Marathon. Come experience the place where the wonders of the West Texas wilderness meet a charming small town where you’ll find all the comforts of home.
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