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Carole Carden

Member since: 2007
Call Owner
Speaks: english

Featured in Southern Living Magazine - Marathon

23 Reviews
Bedrooms 2
Property type house
Minimum Stay 2 nights


Big Bend House Rental Photos and Description

House, 2 Bedrooms + Sleeping Porch, 1 Bath, (Sleeps 2-4)

La Esmeralda is a 100 year old wood farm house, fully restored with hardwood floors, high ceilings, central air and heat. The two bedrooms have very comfortable queen size beds with down pillows and comforts if needed. The bathroom has a deep ball claw tub for soaking or taking a shower. Theres also an outdoor shower that everyone loves!

The house is professionally decorated in 'Cowboy Modern' style. Antique and modern furniture, art, 36 inch plasma TV, books, music, and a film library that includes Oscar winning and classic films. The book collection is a mix of architecure, design, photography, fiction and books on Marathon and Big Bend.

The screened in porch is the perfect place to eat, read and relax. You can watch the amazing sunrises from the porch with unobstructive views or the sunsets from the back porch.

We provide a kitchen with all the spices and things you need for cooking, coffee, tea and even a complimentary bottle of wine when you arrive. La Esmeralda is within walking distance of everything in Marathon and is the perfect place to unplug and enjoy the beauty of Big Bend.

Keywords: Charming 100 year old beautifully decorated farmhouse on six acres.

More Details
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
  • pets considered
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Carole Carden (Owner)
Member since: 2007
Call Owner
Speaks: english

About Carole Carden

I am a native Texan but now live in California. I have a background in magazine publishing and now own a retail shop that offers architecture and design books, home furnishings and gifts in Solana Beach Ca. named SoLo. I owned an independent bookstore in Del Mar Ca. for 13 years named Esmeralda, hence the name for my vacation home in Marathon.

Carole Carden purchased this house in 2005

Why Carole Carden chose Big Bend

I fell in love with the high desert beauty and climate of the Big Bend area. You have the best of both worlds, beautiful mountains, amazing star gazing, clean air and Marathon is a great little ranching town with nice friendly people.

What makes this house unique

La Esmeralda is a great old house with all the modern conveniences and comfort. The house is a lot of fun with great views and feels remote from neighbors. The front porch faces away from the street so it is very private. The landscaping if mostly natural grasses with agaves and cactus. I am in the design business so the house has been furnished with interesting art and furniture. I also love to cook so the kitchen has everything you need. La Esmeralda is not your typical rental. La Esmeralda is featured in Southern Living Magazine's January 2011 issue.

Guestbook comments from the owner

Loved the house, so comfortable and relaxing, our second stay and we will be back!
Mar 2010
  • 1 of 1


based on 23 traveler reviews

Featured in Southern Living Magazine - Marathon
average rating of 4.869565 based on 24 reviews

THE place to stay in Marathon

  • 5 of 5

This property was amazing! We loved it so much and extended our trip a couple more nights. So comfortable with attention to all details. We think this is THE spot to stay in Marathon. The Big Bend National Park is easily accessible but, really, all you want to do is hang out and enjoy this home. There is really no reason to leave. The rental process was professional and delightful. Highly recommend a stay and this property.

  • Submitted: May 4, 2016
  • Stayed: Jan 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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1 0

Wanted to stay longer!!

  • 5 of 5

What a perfect "taste" of Marathon this house is! Beautifully equipped, cozy, wonderful screened porch. I wanted another day in the area just to spend hanging out at the house! Tons of books, movies, music or just plain quiet. It has 100 years worth of charm!

  • Submitted: May 3, 2016
  • Stayed: Apr 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: SO happy you enjoyed the house and Marathon! Everyone wants more time in the area. Come back soon!
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1 0
Westcliffe, CO

Not Impressed

  • 2 of 5

My husband and I, and a senior friend recently stayed at this property, and although I found it tolerable, I was not impressed. It is quaint, but is also cluttered. Every room is so full of "decorations" and the owners personal items, that the vacationer doesn't have space for their necessary items (clothes, suitcases, etcetera). The "antique" wardrobes don't accommodate standard size hangers and the doors hang open. There is essentially no counter space to prepare meals on in the kitchen. Two of the three burners only worked on high. I didn't try the third. The cloth shower curtains in the bathroom needs a thorough washing. By the time taxes and cleaning fee were added, this property definitely was not the money. On a positive note, the beds were comfortable.

  • Submitted: Mar 1, 2016
  • Stayed: Feb 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Wow, in eight years of renting my house La Esmeralda, I have never received anything but glowing reviews. I am sorry my house did not live up to your expectations. The house is 100 years old and since in the old days the houses did not have closets, we provided antique wardrobes. One does have a door that stays open about an inch. There is also a dresser in each room for additional clothes. I was just there and the old cute stove worked fine but it is old and the low and medium setting start a little slow. I did not want my house to be a typical vacation rental so I provide books, music, movies and art for the guest to enjoy. What you describe as clutter has been a delight to our other guest. The numerous photo's on the VRBO site show the furnishings and design. The kitchen has counter space by the sink, one half of the stove, the spice cabinet and a large round table to cook and prepare food. We wash the shower curtains after every rental and replace them often because of the hard water stains. We work very hard to make sure the house is clean and provide so many extras for happy guest. I am glad you liked the beds! Sincerely, Carole
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2 4

Wish there were more stars to give

  • 5 of 5

We just got home from our first trip to the Texas Big Bend area. We originally planned on spending 4 nights in Marfa but could only find accommodations for 2 nights there - so I booked our first 2 nights in Marathon at La Esmeralda. Now I wish we'd never left La Esmeralda. Wow! While the photos on VRBO accurately reflect what you'll find in the house - they still don't do it justice. The house is a knockout - decorated in the most perfectly rustic, Texas style imaginable. Antique bureaus, uniquely quirky lighting and art, beautiful vintage Mexican pottery and what must be the world's most comfortable porch glider. Plus everything to make your stay comfortable - cable TV, a large selection of DVDs, CDs, books and magazines, fluffy towels in the bath, everything you need to prepare and serve meals. You can just feel that this house is loved. If La Esmeralda was mine, I'd never leave - but I thank Carole for sharing it with us - if only for a couple of nights. We'll be back!

  • Submitted: Oct 26, 2015
  • Stayed: Oct 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you Lee! Love sharing my house with guest and so happy you had a memorable first trip to the Big Bend area.
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0 0

Peaceful Retreat

  • 5 of 5

We loved each and every minute at beautiful La Esmeralda where our days here were measured by sunrises and sunsets; reading and napping on the glider; the soft rustle of the breeze through the Cottonwood; candlelit dinners on the screened porch; relaxing in the comfy living chairs each evening with a glass of wine, listening to great CDs by candlelight with the cool spring breeze dancing between the front and back screened doors; sitting in awe under the vast starry night skies and crescent moons; the sounds of silence only interrupted by the song of the birds and the gentle rumble and whistle of the train.

We enjoyed the friendly, sleepy town of Marathon, and a four hour hike in nearby Big Bend National Park, but we were so happy to return to this beautiful home where we rested and breathed deep! We thank the owner for sharing her home with us, her warm hospitality, and making our stay so wonderful - much love, peace and the good things of life reside at your La Esmeralda. We are under her spell. It was hard to leave, but we are already planning to return to this lovely, peaceful retreat next spring.

  • Submitted: May 1, 2015
  • Stayed: Apr 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks Patty! You enjoy the same things I do about Marathon and my house. I love the Big Bend area but I can hardly leave the glider it's so relaxing. So happy you had a peaceful fun time.
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0 0


  • 5 of 5

First -- I LOVED it! I have never been so thoroughly charmed by anyplace. It is gorgeous. The owner has combined style and taste with comfort and fun, and succeeded wildly. I'd go back in a heartbeat, and I've already recommended it to friends.

Second -- fantastic customer service. There was a regional ice storm/power outage during my stay, and the owner just went above-and-beyond to make me comfortable for the duration.

Third -- Big Bend National Park is about an hour's drive away. I had a blast day-hiking there, and LOVED coming back to the comfort of La Esmeralda at the end of the day.

  • Submitted: Jan 7, 2015
  • Stayed: Dec 2014
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Car: necessary

Marathon is 46 miles Big Bend, 26 miles to Alpine, one hour to Marfa and Fort Davis, Marathon basin is surrounded by the Glass and Del Norte Mountains, Beautiful views and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Birders that have stayed at the house love the small fish pond for spotting unusual birds! La Esmeralda is a short walk to everything in Marathon.


Rates & Availability

Marathon House Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
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2 night minimum stay
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Big Bend House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
Location Type:
  • Mountain View ...
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Hair Dryer
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided
  • Parking
  • Parking Off Street
  • Parking for RV/Boat/Trailer
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Cooking Utensils ...
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 -
  • 1
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4
  • Queen size Beds (2)
  • Books
  • DVD Player
  • Music Library ...
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • Video Library ...
  • Deck / Patio
  • Lanai / Gazebo
  • Outdoor Grill
  • children welcome ...
  • non smoking only ...
  • pets considered ...
  • wheelchair inaccessible
  • botanical garden
  • churches
  • health/beauty spa
  • library
  • museums
  • restaurants
Leisure Activities:
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • mountain biking
  • rafting
Outdoor shower, fire pit, stone BBQ and screened in porch

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