Note that these blogs posted during the sheltering-in-place period of the coronavirus crisis are meant as a virtual escape. Hopefully, the information will be of use to you when it is safe to travel again.

April 2, 2020

Marathon, West Texas: Gage Hotel & Gardens complex; hotel review; restaurant reviews; things to do


Gage Hotel & Gardens  102 NW 1st St-Hwy 90 W., (432) 386-4205.  Pool; full-service health spa.

exterior of Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
exterior of Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas

Built in 1927, this high-end historic hotel today displays is the place to stay in this tiny town.  It is claimed that the owner has the largest memorabilia collection in the world, which is quite believable given the immensely interesting variety of items displayed throughout the property.  The lobby is definitely worth passing some time in.

lobby at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
lobby at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


lobby at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
lobby at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


Room 10 in the main hotel is reputedly haunted, but a first-hand report says no paranormal activity occurred and the bed was super comfy.

guest room at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
guest room at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


The Los Portales, or “porches,” section of the hotel features adobe brick buildings that replicate the primitive indigenous building styles of the area.  Configured around a courtyard, these atmospheric guest rooms are equipped with fireplaces to chase away any chill.  Units incorporate very old handmade windows and mesquite doors salvaged from Mexico.  Saltillo clay floor tiles and hand-painted Talavera tiles, also from Mexico, are used throughout.  These 20 guest rooms share a pool.

exterior of Los Portales section at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
exterior of Los Portales section at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


guest room in Los Portales section at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
guest room in Los Portales section at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


swimming pool for Los Portales section at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
swimming pool for Los Portales section at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


Adirondack chairs around fire pit at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
Adirondack chairs around fire pit at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


About a block away, the Captain Shepard House offers five guest rooms and is used for group bookings.  Built in 1890, the two-story, classic colonial-style home was fully restored in 2012.  Two rooms share a bath, and the rest have lovely stone-tile bathrooms.  There was a cold snap in the area when I stayed here, and a problem getting hot water in the house culminated in my group not getting a morning shower.  But we survived.  Everyone shares a sitting room, TV room, dining room, and butler’s kitchen.  A Carriage House in the rear offers two additional guest rooms.

exterior of Captain Shepard House at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
exterior of Captain Shepard House at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


parlor at Captain Shepard House at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
parlor at Captain Shepard House at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


guest room at Captain Shepard House at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
guest room at Captain Shepard House at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


The White Buffalo saloon makes lovely drinks and is especially nice when it's not crowded and you can chat up the bartender, but it’s also fun when it is jammed and festive.  Margaritas are primo here, and a fine dining menu is available.

The White Buffalo saloon at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
The White Buffalo saloon at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


Serving Texas-inspired specialties with a gourmet twist, the award-winning 12 Gage Restaurant offers a refined seasonal menu that uses high-quality local ingredients, including herbs grown in the Gage Gardens and local wild game, beef, and fowl.  Seating is available both indoors and out, but the way to go is inside, where you can enjoy the fireplace, cowboy chic décor, and art while seated in comfortable leather chairs.  An extensive wine list is available along with signature cocktails such as the lovely Blood Orange Margarita I enjoyed.  And it seems a no-brainer to order steak--think tasty Native American Beef Tenderloin Filet or tender Wagyu Strip Steak--but surprisingly fresh Columbia River salmon is also on the menu.  And do save some room for a delicious housemade dessert.

desk at 12 Gage Restaurant at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
desk at 12 Gage Restaurant at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


desk at 12 Gage Restaurant at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
desk at 12 Gage Restaurant at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


Blood Orange Margarita at 12 Gage Restaurant at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
Blood Orange Margarita at 12 Gage Restaurant at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


Native American Beef Tenderloin Filet at 12 Gage Restaurant at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
Native American Beef Tenderloin Filet at 12 Gage Restaurant
at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
12 Gage at The Gage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Located down the street a tad, the bright, casual V6 Coffee Bar cafe offers espressos and a breakfast menu that includes avocado toast, oatmeal, and an egg sandwich.  A cute children’s menu offers just a few items on a tiny card.  I was not sorry I ordered the biscuits and jalapeno gravy with sausage.  Yum, yum.

counter at V6 Coffee Bar at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
counter at V6 Coffee Bar at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


cowboy checks his phone at V6 Coffee Bar at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
cowboy checks his phone at V6 Coffee Bar at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


kids' menu at V6 Coffee Bar at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
kids' menu at V6 Coffee Bar at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


The Gage Gardens are located several blocks away.  The distance is walkable, but plenty of parking is also available.  This 27-acre park includes a small rose garden, a lavender field, and several trails.  Indigenous plants are found throughout.

red roses in Gage Gardens at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
red roses in Gage Gardens at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas




yellow roses in Gage Gardens at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
yellow roses in Gage Gardens at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas


Texas sage in Gage Gardens at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
Texas sage in Gage Gardens at Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas



Itinerary for road trip through West Texas.

Things to do in El Paso.

Great ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.

images ©2020 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


March 25, 2020

Fort Davis, West Texas: Fort Davis National Historic Site; things to do


Fort Davis National Historic Site  4 miles NW of town.  (432) 426-3224.  Daily 8am-5pm.  Fee. 

overview of Fort Davis National Historic Site in Fort Davis, West Texas
overview of Fort Davis National Historic Site in Fort Davis, West Texas


The volcanic Davis Mountains--the most extensive mountain range in Texas--and this historic fort and appear like a mirage after driving a while through the vast, empty, parched desert that surrounds the area.  Rocky outcroppings were once home to Apache Indians, who made continuous raids on the soldiers.  The U.S. Army tamed the wild Texas frontier here and opened it up for settlement.  Fort Davis is one of the best surviving examples in the Southwest of an Indian Wars' frontier military post.  This strategically located fort protected emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and the Chihuahua Trail from 1854 to 1891.  The fort was also home to the Buffalo Soldiers, who, even though they were highly praised, ran into prejudice and racial disharmony and resided in segregated barracks.  The fort was abandoned in 1891 and became a National Park in 1961.  A small museum is inside the visitor center. 

buildings at Fort Davis National Historic Site in Fort Davis, West Texas
buildings at Fort Davis National Historic Site in Fort Davis, West Texas


John Heiner, Chief of Interpretation, talks about a cannon at Fort Davis National Historic Site in Fort Davis, West Texas
John Heiner, Chief of Interpretation, talks about a cannon at Fort Davis National Historic Site
in Fort Davis, West Texas


Buffalo Soldier barracks at Fort Davis National Historic Site in Fort Davis, West Texas
Buffalo Soldier barracks at Fort Davis National Historic Site in Fort Davis, West Texas


Officers Quarters at Fort Davis National Historic Site in Fort Davis, West Texas
Officers Quarters at Fort Davis National Historic Site in Fort Davis, West Texas



More things to do in Fort Davis.

Itinerary for road trip through West Texas.

Things to do in El Paso.

Great ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.

images ©2020 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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