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Featured in Southern Living Magazine - Marathon

Bedrooms 2
Property type house
Minimum Stay 2 nights


About the property

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, plus local roasted coffee and tea. 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

Carole Carden
Member since: 2007
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
May 25, 2017

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


Marathon House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 4
  • non smoking only ...
  • pets considered ...
  • children welcome ...
Location Type:
  • Mountain View ...
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • 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
  • 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:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • mountain biking
  • rafting
Outdoor shower, fire pit, stone BBQ and screened in porch.


Wonderful! 4.9/5 -
(29 traveler reviews)

Featured in Southern Living Magazine - Marathon
average rating of 4.8965516 based on 30 reviews
league city tx

La Ezmeralda, Historic building, Every amenity, Creature Comforts. Marathon, Texas

  • 5 of 5

Exceptional in every way: location, privacy, responsive owner, fantastic care-takers who go above & beyond, beautiful old place, lovingly curated, w,ith attention to detail & all the amenities. SO comfortable & easy, clean, pretty, great library -- I could go on & on & just want to go back & stay again. Perfect "headquarters" for me, Mother of the Groom, to try to help oversee & help out with BBNP outdoor wedding, 40 guests, rehearsal dinner one night & reception the next at another rental house in Marathon. I truly love the nice, helpful, friendly nature of people who live in the Big Bend of Texas, and especially the people of Marathon, and the rental community in Marathon who did all they could to accommodate our group, and to help us in any way they could.

  • Submitted: May 9, 2017
  • Stayed: Apr 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: So happy your wedding weekend was a success! Marathon may be small buts it mighty in friendliness! I am always amazed at how many weddings our little town of less than 400 people host.
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Denver, CO


  • 5 of 5

Great weekend getaway

  • Submitted: May 14, 2017
  • Stayed: May 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Houston, TX

West Texas Charm

  • 5 of 5

La Esmeralda was host to my husband, sister, brother-in-law and myself for three nights and we loved everything about it. The beds were comfortable, the screened-in porch perfect for early morning and late evening chats, the kitchen fully stocked with everything we needed to make delicious breakfasts (spices provided, we supplied the eggs, bacon, etc!) We even grilled one evening outside on the stone grill. The house had all the modern amenities yet retained a certain rustic charm and coziness. Carol was wonderful to deal with; very responsive to questions and clear with instructions. If you ever have the chance to visit Marathon and the Big Bend area, I would highly recommend La Esmeralda as a place to stay!

  • Submitted: Mar 29, 2017
  • Stayed: Mar 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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The house was exactly what we expected and wanted!

  • 5 of 5

We had a wonderful 5 days/4 nights and only wished we had stayed a whole week! We spent a lot of time in Big Bend and surrounding areas only to come "home" and sit in the enclosed porch at night and watch the sunset; spectacular! Also the sunrises! It truly was peaceful. The house is wonderfully decorated in the 100 year old ranch house theme. Plan on visiting again.

  • Submitted: Feb 14, 2017
  • Stayed: Feb 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for taking the time to right this review. So happy you had a great trip! I love the screened in porch so much I even sit out there when it's raining. Love the sound of the rain hitting the medal roof. Best, Carole
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Perfect Escape

  • 5 of 5

La Esmerelda exceeded our expectations! I just wanted to curl up on the screened porch and read a book on the rocking lounge. It was too warm to build a fire, but in cooler temps that would have been a must!

The kitchen comes equipped with all the basic necessities plus more...the french press made my day! The beds were cozy, the bathroom had plush towels and a variety of toiletries. The book collection met the interests of my music loving husband and my outdoorsy, inquisitive 7 year old!

We can't wait to stay again. We're already planning our next trip to Marathon and La Esmerelda.

  • Submitted: Jul 8, 2016
  • Stayed: Jun 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: So happy you had a good retreat at La Esmeralda. I love to sit on the porch and read for days and listen to the birds and the breeze rustling thru the cottonwood tree. Glad your husband and son enjoyed the books. I try to keep it interesting. Thank you for your nice review. Look forward to hosting you again.
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Buda, TX

A part of my life now

  • 5 of 5

This trip marks the fifth year I have come out to La Esmeralda. I return, always once, sometimes twice a year depending on how much repair and solace I need. This is an utterly peaceful, healing place and it's done as much to repair the tears and strains in my soul as any other store-bought therapy could have.

I've been through storms, through snowfalls, heat that makes the air wobble in the near-distance....heck I've even lived through some of those monster big-boy West Texas thunderstorms with hail that would knock you sideways should you be foolish enough to step outside the safety of the house. La Esmeralda endures all. It's been here before you and will be long after, likely.

The house may appear spartan but is actually incredibly well-stocked for about everything. Before you go, just remember this is an authentic, frontier railroad house that's over 100 years old. The house has ... character, earned by years of surviving everything Texas has thrown at it. Part of the charm, indeed, is learning all the various quirks and learning to love them. Me? Wouldn't have it any other way. If I want boring consistency I will go stay at a Marriott.

The owner has been nothing but wonderful, flexible and accomodating for all of my stays dating back to 2012. She's very understanding when it comes to hiccups in travel and work-related interference. For me, that's something that really can't be bought.

If you are an avid reader or lover of music, La Esmeralda will be an absolute find for you. Stocked with hand-picked CDs and books dating back to when Marathon was founded, you'll be able to spend your quiet mornings out on the screened-in porch reading signed hardcover copies of books and listen to the subdued splashing of the fishes in the outside pond and, that high-lonesome sound of the railroad as it enters and departs town several times a day. Do your homework -- Marathon is and always has been a railroad town, one of the first.

As for amenities, the town is.....quite limited. Although -- you can find some pretty decent mexican food at the gas station, at the Oasis, and at The Marathon Cafe. If you go to the latter, tell Francene and Nancy that Dave from Austin sent you and that I miss them.

  • Submitted: Jun 6, 2016
  • Stayed: Apr 2016
  • Source: 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
Owner accepts payment in:
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Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
My Standard Rate
2 night minimum stay

Additional information about rental rates

cleaning fee $75
Tax Rate 13.0%

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
Enter dates for accurate pricing
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