After a busy week last week, I was craving a weekend away from the city. I've always wanted to go to the Round Top Antiques Fair, but each year when it comes around I find myself overwhelmed by the thought of planning the trip. I'm not sure what I was so afraid of - after a quick search, I found out it was only 1.5 hours away! So on Saturday, after a good cup of joe, we packed the car and hit the road!
As I was researching, I noticed there isn't a lot of quality information out there for first-timers, so I've taken it upon myself to provide some quick tips to anyone wanting to go this fall! All I can say is that Texans are very lucky to live so close to one of the biggest and best vintage/junk/antique fairs in the U.S. - I never realized just how big this event was! From shoppers to vendors, people from all over the U.S. were driving in left and right, with huge trucks and trailers to haul their loads back home post-show.
Essentially, Round Top (population: 90) is an 11 mile stretch of road filled with antiques and vintage fun. When we went, we started at Blue Hills (this was my favorite stop), but I wish we had started from the opposite direction - against the traffic rather than with it. That leads me to tip #1.
1. Go early. Avoid traffic.
When you get to Round Top, begin your visit south on 237 and drive north. It's a two lane road so traffic gets very backed up. Don't waste your day in traffic and take my advice!
2. Be present. Enjoy the spots you love and take advice on where to go from past attendees and friends.
When you arrive you will see miles and miles of make-shift tents filled with treasures. You will want to stop at each one, and you'll find yourself stressing how you will see them all. Don't do that to yourself! You can find info about the hot spots through friends, Instagram, Pinterest and this blog post!
- Blue Hills was filled with so many unique treasures. We got the cutest vintage shutters for just $12 each. They match our bedroom perfectly and I can't wait to hang them in our new place! One of my favorite vendors here was Karma Living - floor pillows, kantha throws and throw pillows galore! Now that I'm back in Austin, I've discovered that Gypsy Wagon carries some of their products too!
- The Arbor International Antique and Interior Design show and was chock-full of custom furniture lines, art and rugs. I could not get enough of this spot. We're talking light fixtures, fabric, art, rugs, custom furniture - the works! My favorite vendor there was Heja Home. Check out photos below of some of the jaw dropping Moroccan rugs they had on display. Here's what I love about Heja Home: a collection curated by an adorable couple from Vermont who decided to travel the globe and source these one-of-a-kind handmade rugs from the Berber Tribes of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Say no more - I love interior design pieces with a story! Another vendor I loved was Mary Gregory Studio. Her artwork is simply soft and I just love that she felt called to paint and bring attention to the small, mostly unnoticed things flawlessly designed by our Creator. What's more? Her husband, daughter and her all run the business together - how cute is that!? I'm currently obsessed with her feather pieces. Whimsically detailed in beautiful, subtle colors. A final vendor I loved, Covet House, had the most unique throw pillows and upholstered furniture. Vibrant jewel toned fabrics. Silk and velvet galore. Gave me all the feels!
- La Bahia Turn Verein, Inc. is located outside of Round Top near Burton and Brenham (Washington county). This old dance hall/membership community was founded by 48 German settlers in 1879. History y'all! It was created to encourage the positive aspects of having a social life. For the antique fair, this space operated as a venue for vendors from all over the country. We unexpectedly stopped here and thought it was absolutely adorable. I highly recommend this stop on your visit, but it's only an active antique fair during the biannual event. In the offseason, the building is operated as an event space. Located on a gorgeous stretch of land with beautiful, old trees - it would be a gorgeous venue for a wedding!
3. If you see something you love, buy it!
Chances are, it's one-of-a-kind and will be gone when you go back for it. While we didn't purchase much this time around, we're looking forward to our next visit to go hog wild! How do you think Joanna Gaines sources a lot of her stuff? Road trips to Round Top - duh!
4. Check the event schedule.
I really wanted to go to Junk Gypsy World HQ, but didn't check their schedule of events. When it came time for us to head that way I found out they were hosting a celebrity book signing, so it was impossible to get to. Adding it to my list for the next trip!
5. Where to Eat:
For all of my foodies out there - plan ahead. While there are some food trucks at the antique fair venues, some of the more popular eat-in spots are:
- Royer's Round Top Cafe
- The Stone Cellar at Round Top
- Brazo's Belle Restaurant in Burton
- Prost Wine Bar
- Espressions Coffee & Art
- JW's Steakhouse (they have a drive thru but you have to call ahead!)
While we didn't do this, we did end up grabbing a great vegan smoothie from a food truck called "Fuel" at The Arbor.
6. Where to Stay
When you decide to go really depends on your preference. If you're looking for the freshest selection and less crowds then go earlier in the week. If you're in search of the best bargains and the vendors being more willing to negotiate, then go on Friday or Saturday at the end of the show. If you really want to see it all, you will need to be there longer than one day. That said - below are some recommended places to stay:
- The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell - a home built in the 1800's that has been turned into a shabby chic haven brought to life by British interior designer, Rachel Ashwell.
- Round Top Inn - An Inn and cottages set in the midst of a lush one-acre property filled with beautiful oak trees - a perfect escape from the city!
- The Vintage Round Top - This restored 2,700 sq. ft. home is perfect for a family getaway or a girl's weekend. The home holds six people and looks like something right out of Fixer Upper! Chip & Joanna Gaines lovers unite!
- Stay tuned for the opening of Junk Gypsy's Wander Inn. Two sisters and their mom took a chance on small town Round Top and opened a business for junk lovers and vintage dreamers. Their adorable shop has been around for a long time, but they've recently exploded in popularity from their show on HGTV. Their new inn is sure to be filled with treasures and Texas spirit. Can't wait to check it out when it opens!
7. Take time to enjoy the hill country, the winding roads and history.
- This library is just too cute not to share with you. The Round Top Family Library is a full service library operating in the small town of Round Top. This building is situated on 2.5 acres and was constructed in 1925. What was once Hope Lutheran Church in Milam Country, was moved in 7 separate pieces and is now a beautifully restored building with books and programs for the residents of the Round Top area to enjoy. The restoration project was made possible by Sterling and Marianne McCall and seems to be very well loved in the community. I've heard it's a must see while you're in town!
8. Dog lovers beware.
While dogs are welcome to the event, some of the grounds are unsafe due to chemicals used to prevent red fire ants. All of that said, I recommend taking your small dog in a carrier (like Bauer - pictured below!) or using the pet sitting service available in the big red barn. Find more info here.
9. Pack a bag of essentials.
This is Texas. The weather is always unpredictable and if it's raining one moment, it will be unbearably hot the next. Wear sunscreen. Bring your umbrella. Bring a water bottle. Hell, bring your own Mary Poppins bag of tricks to keep you well-prepared for any situation! Round Top is in the middle of nowhere. You can't just pop into the Walgreens when you need allergy meds or something to drink.
10. HAVE FUN.
You don't have to follow my tips or anyone else's for that matter. Enjoy your time in Texas and appreciate the unfound treasures and history among you. Take photos, make memories and have a wonderful time! After all, that's what events like this are for!
P.S. A lot of the antique vendors are open during the year. If you don't get to see it all, that's okay! Make another trip back in the off-season, but be sure to check your favorite spot's hours before you make the drive!
P.P.S. We purchased tickets to the big red barn and at the end of the day, I didn't really feel that was necessary. I may have missed out on the purpose of it because it was the last day of the overall event, but I'd say don't spend the $20 unless you absolutely need/want to. There are plenty of free vendors and free parking available that don't require a ticket or a wristband!
I hope your visit to Round Top is as successful as ours was. I know I'm looking forward to our return. Texas has so much to offer - you just have to get out there and enjoy it!
Until next time...