Jul 13, 2018 by




I’ve started saying “My heart is in the hill country, but my soul is in West Texas”.  After any West Texas trip, I feel I leave a little piece of me out there.  It’s just a magical, mystical part of the world.  From what I’ve seen, you either really, really like it or………..you don’t.  There’s no in between.  To be clear, I’m talking about the Big Bend, big sky part of West Texas and all the roads that lead to it.  It’s not a cushy part of the state, no mam.  It’s tuff and ruff.  That’s why The Gage Hotel is such an anomaly being set right smack dab in the middle—right in downtown Marathon……. little spot in the road Marathon.  It’s certainly not on the beaten path—ya gotta want it.  I first heard about the hotel from friends in Kerrville who owned a little ranch called The YO. They would just rave about chillin’ by the pool.  And, “The Gage” would be considered a fabulous hotel no matter where it would be.  In fact, I could easily see it in Telluride or Jackson Hole with surroundings and hype that compels glitterati to flock to it.  But, in Marathon????????  Excuse me, MARE-A-THUN?  Go figure.  When you first see it, even tho it’s not huge, you see it strongly and solidly holds it’s own right there on Highway 90 (just like a true West Texan!).  You pull up, get your bags (no baggage carriers here, buddy) and walk up the steps.  It always reminds me of my grandmother’s brick house in Snyder–same brick, same porch, same West Texas air.  (I can still remember the smell of the sprinkler hitting that parched grass.)  Come to think of it, the welcome is the same, too.  The Gage, just like a grandmother, has the gift of a warm, fuzzy “come on in, so glad you’re here”.  Part of that may be, as my Mother always said, “Once you get past San Angelo, the people are much friendlier”.  A lot of it is how General Manager, Carol Peterson, has trained her staff.  You’ll know what I mean the minute you walk in the door.  And, ohhhhhh what a room to walk into!  It looks likes the movie Giant and Ralph Lauren had a baby.  You wish you were Luz coming in from a ride and could walk over and prop your spurred boots up on the low table in front of the fire place. Whoever happens to be behind the desk that day is welcoming and informative—they have all the right answers without having any demeanor of an uppity behavior.  From then on, the experience is completely personal and as deep as you want.  On this trip, we check into the Jardin Casita.  I hate to tell you about this place because Ait really is Nirvana and BI don’t want it to get so busy, it will be hard to book.  It is located across the railroad tracks and is on the perimeter of the gardens.  That’s right, there are gardens in West Texas—–bee-you-tee-full gardens.  And orchards.  And a pond.  And a putting green………..I kid you not!  The Jardin Casita has a little fenced yard, perfect for your doggie and when you walk through a back gate, you are literally in a secret garden.  Or, if you were in Alice in Wonderland, you would have walked through the looking glass….. I’ve stayed in some pretty fabulous places all over the world, but, this little hide away is muy special.  Reeeeeely special.  Staying at The Gage is wonderful on your first visit, but, every time you return, it taps into a deeper place.  Especially, if you are one of the ones as I mentioned in the beginning, who really gets it.  I love it………………… I just dad-gum love it.  No more talk, look at these pictures and see for yourself……………………..


The Gage


Be sure to tell Keegan, Kiki, and Mandie hello from Hola Hill Country.












The lobby—what Ralph LaWren aspires to be



Casa Jardin entrance

Shhhhhh-don’t tell anybody












Inside the casa

This is part of The Gage Gardens.  Can you believe this is in West Texas?!!!

The putting green in The Gage Gardens. It’s like you stepped into a parallel universe. Que: Rod Serling.

Dogs are welcome at The Gage





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