115 miles NW of Big Bend National Park; 193 miles SE of El Paso; 21 miles S of Fort Davis

Named after a character in Dostoevski's The Brothers Karamazov by a railroad exec's wife, this town of 2,000 residents is on the brink of one of the last American frontiers. Surrounded by rugged terrain, Marfa is, to say the least, remote. Once an Old West saloon-and-casino outpost, the predominantly Mexican town has evolved into a haven for contemporary artists, its nucleus being the avant-garde Chinati Foundation. This phenomenon makes for some interesting contrasts: 10-gallon hats and berets, wine bars and feed stores, cowboys and intellectuals, all coexisting in the same small town. There's a lot of buzz about Marfa being "the next Santa Fe," but it remains more than a little bit sleepy -- and that's a big part of its charm.