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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Big Bend Trip Part 1 - Gage Hotel

Hello again! This is Part 1 of what I hope will be a three part series on our recent trip to Big Bend National Park. What I can tell you about the trip is that it was wonderful, relaxing, tiring and FUN all at the same time. We both thought out loud many times, "Why haven't we done this sooner?!?" The area is vast (see Google map at link above), beautiful, and very well kept by the folks at the Park Service. But enough about the Park, you'll see photos of it later. Now for the Gage Hotel.

We had heard about the Gage for a long time, as Jan's sisters and their families had been there several times a few years back. We were never able to go with them on those trips, although now I can't understand why. I guess it was job conflicts, kid conflicts, but for whatever reason we passed. The sisters usually stayed at the Gage Hotel, and had wonderful things to say about it. Located in Marathon, TX, about an hour's drive from Big Bend, it is a very old and historic site, with many cottage-type rooms, as well as the original rooms in the hotel itself.

The dining area has both an indoor and outdoor area, and the menu appeared to be 5-star (with prices to match!). There was light fare, as well as 5 course meals, all available to hotel patrons and passers-by like us. We will have to take advantage of their wonderful facility on another trip, because we were running out of daylight, and just ate at a great little family restaurant down the street.

There seemed to be dried peppers hanging everywhere, which gave the place a distinctive Southwest flavor (pun intended). I wondered several times if they were for show, to eat, or if they had another purpose, but I enjoyed looking at them a lot.

Since I am constantly looking for new bird species in our travels, and very new to birding in general, I learn a lot from friends. Bob Zeller was kind enough to give me the name of these beautiful birds -- the Barn Swallow. They are very pretty, and seemed not to worry about me photographing them.

On the west side of the building is a large courtyard that separates the cabins from the main hotel. I can see many pachangas (bar-b-ques) being held there on special occasions.

Past the pool are the cabins. They look like they're made of adobe, and continue the Southwest look and feel of the place. I think if we stay there at some point, I'd like to be in a cabin rather than the hotel itself. No particular reason, just a preference.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this photo tour of the Gage. If you are ever out that way, it deserves at least a stop. Next installment will be the road into Big Bend and the sunset at The Window.

All the best,
Mike Z

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