Marathon Motel shines big and bright

Danny Self, owner of Marathon Motel and RV Park, poses with furry friend Rita at Rita’s Cantina.

Everyone knows the Big Bend boasts star studded night skies and pristine landscapes. Whether visitors stop by Marathon for the beautiful Milky Way views, or just to get away from it all, there is something for everyone in this little town east of Alpine.

For long-time Terlingua resident Kathy Wisdom, exciting plans are in the works for Marathon Motel and RV Park as she takes on her new role as event coordinator. Wisdom assists with special occasions such as weddings, family reunions, birthday parties, and more.

And the motel is not just a place to relax and kick back after a long day exploring the Big Bend. It also features special activities such as the New Moon Party and star parties, where guests who are into astrophotography mingle with others who share a passion for the night skies.

“We are really excited about what’s happening, and events coming up,” said Wisdom, who is a proponent of the dark skies. “We have an observatory here with an astronomer on site, and we really encourage people to keep their lights off.”

Telescopes are provided for guests, or they can even bring their own. In addition, there’s a hip restaurant, Rita’s Cantina, which is open the first Saturday of each month, and features exotic fare by Chef Frank.

Wisdom is no newcomer to adding a festive atmosphere to any place. She used to own a food trailer in South County called Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe, and she was also known as a Relay for Life organizer. Her new role fits this social butterfly well, as Danny Self, who just celebrated his 20th year as owner of Marathon Motel, pointed out.

“She’s good with people, and likes being around them,” he said. “That is the way this place has always worked, the serendipity. The right people always showed up at the right time, and it’s kept on going. She’s doing a great job, and we have ideas and other activities that we are tossing around.”

Wisdom is also reaching out to motorcycle groups and car clubs, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, home school programs, and those interested in astrophotography to introduce them to star gazing and the importance of dark skies.

For food aficionados, Dutch oven cookoffs are also in the works.

Recently, the motel hosted a New Moon Party with live music by Rick Ruiz, and a visiting research scientist and astronomer from San Antonio, Dr. Vincent Hue, even stopped by to give a presentation on Jupiter.

Self said there were also plans to host a movie night, and show it on a big screen outside the cantina.

According to Self, everything is a work in progress.

“Right now, we are taking what we know, and combining it with what we don’t know to see how that works. And so far, it’s been working!” he exclaimed.

Marathon Motel and RV Park also shows events and menus on the Marathon Texas community page on Facebook.

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