An off-the-grid border town, Terlingua if for the girl who embodies vagabond non-conformity. Abandoned adobe structures and mining shafts are layered deep into the landscape surrounding a short stretch of businesses. This is the Terlingua Ghost Town. I asked a gallery owner where the residents of Terlingua Ghost Town live - she gazed way out to the hills pointing “out there, your eyes aren’t quite adjusted yet, give it some time, you’ll see what we see.”
A Terlingua Ghost Town highlight is the front porch of the old trading post - locals and tourists gather nightly to watch the sun slip below the pastel mountains. The characters on the porch: a doctor offering “group therapy” and curing lost souls of “terminal unhappiness” - the prescription typically involves smiling and participating in the raucous good times happening on the porch, musicians like Uh Clem, a former Grateful Dead roadie who has a room named in his honor at the hotel and a weekly spot on the Starlight Theatre stage.
The Big Bend Holiday Hotel, directly next door to the Starlight and Terlingua Trading Company is an adorable theme hotel. It’s touristy compared to Tin Valley or Terlingua Ranch, however, it’s the center of the old trading post where the three dozen residents of the old town come to sip cold beers and lead sing-a-longs into the evening hours.
Take a walk down the hill to the Terlingua Cemetery. Modest filigree crosses, simple stonework, and small grottoes with hand-made embellishments highlight this historic burial spot. Visit during a Dia de los Muertos celebration to light candles and tell stories around the campfire with the locals.