30 Miles Away

This is where the cattle drives met the railroad and Marathon still looks like an iconic Texas railroad cowtown, picturesque and historic.

That's why people come today, for the flavor of the old west as it was gentrified into a blend of yesterday and the-day-before-yesterday.

Back in 1879, Marathon was a fort on the old Commanche Trail. Today it's one of the gateways to the Big Bend National Park, and that highway offers a seemingly endless panorama of untouched desert and prehistoric mountains.

Freight trains still scream through town, but signs warn that there's no horn blast -- so watch out.

Look around and you'll find a coffee shop, a hotel or two, an eclectic hostel, a few places to eat, and light shopping,

There are also a few churches, some art galleries, a modest museum, an exercise facility, and a lot of manicured gardens to enjoy.

Somewhat surprisingly there's a bocce court, a putting green, and even a beach volleyball court -- minus the ocean.

For over a century, on the Saturday night closest to July 4, Marathon entertains most of West Texas when they host a dance and barbecue at The Post, a park just out of town.

In September there's a Marathon Arts, Crafts, and Quilt Show. Later that month, they offer the West Fest Cabrito Cook-off and Dance, also at the Post.

In October, there's a Marathon to Marathon marathon.

Marathon has gas stations. Use 'em.

Aguilar Fina - 801 NE 1st St.

Alon - 801 US 90 E.