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Good Design Travel | Apr 30, 2019

Good Design Travel Guide: Round Top

This was our first trip to Round Top, Texas after being on our bucket list for many years now, and it didn’t disappoint! It was such a fun week packed to the brim with lots of antique shopping, good eats, and a perfect little taste of the Lone Star State!

We had so many of you ask about our must-see spots, tips for shopping and shipping, and all the ins and outs of doing Round Top properly, so we thought what better way to illustrate our time in Texas, than with a guide highlighting all of our favorite spots in this gem of a community!

Travel


We flew into Austin and rented a large SUV for the week, knowing we’d be transporting many of our smaller finds to and from the local shipper we decided to coordinate with for all of our shipping needs. The drive from Austin to Round Top is about an hour and a half, but before we headed out of Austin, we made a pit-stop at Hank’s for a quick bite! There’s SO much great food in Austin, it’s worth timing your flight to land around lunch or dinner time, so you can grab a bite to eat before making the drive out to Round Top.

When to Go & When to Stay


Round Top Antiques Fair takes place twice a year, in the spring and fall. We opted for spring for our first trip, hoping for better (and less hot, sticky) weather. The locals will tell you to be prepared for just about every type of weather under the sun when you visit (rain, hot and cold temps – you name it, Texas’ got it! So come prepared with layers and proper shoes).

We were in Round Top for 5 days, which was the perfect amount of time for us to get through everything we wanted to see, and not feel super rushed. We planned our trip dates around one of the bigger independent antique shows, called MarburgerThis is a BIG show that has a huge draw with lots of people. It’s a week-long show that boasts a more curated selection of furniture & wares, both old and new, and is quite the experience. Marburger takes place twice a year, during both the spring and fall shows, so be sure to visit their website if you want to plan your trip dates around this show. Expect lines and a bit more traffic for opening day at Marburger, and definitely plan on being there for opening day itself, if you’re planning to be in Round Top that week – it’s worth it and fun to be part of the hustle and bustle.

As you start considering trip dates, one of the best resources to start with for lodging is Round Top’s website. It’s full of helpful information, as many of the local rentals are listed here. Finding the perfect spot to stay can be a bit tricky, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a little digging and lots of emails back & forth with innkeepers. Many Round Toppers book their accommodations show to show, so often times things are booked up before the next show dates are even listed – it’s a small town, so it fills up quickly! You can also try Airbnb or VRBO, and other similar sites to check additional availability with other homes. Most people stay in a private home rental, since there aren’t traditional hotels as lodging nearby. If you stay in neighboring towns, you’ll have the option to book motels and smaller hotels, but our suggestion is staying as local as you can, and finding a great home rental as close to Round Top as possible. It’s all part of the experience, and it’s what avid shoppers have been doing for decades!

We requested our rental through Round Top Lodging, and got very lucky because of a cancellation with a previous guest. We stayed right in town, in this charming historical house, originally built in the 1800s. The house is located on Round Top Farms, complete with good ol’ Texas Longhorns & donkeys in the backyard. Our stay was wonderful, our host incredibly gracious, and we were walking distance to local shops and restaurants. Doesn’t get much better!

Where to Shop


Marburger & The Compound

Our first day of shopping was opening day at Marburger, so we decided to be first in line (along with hundreds of other people!) for this fun show. There’s an entrance fee to get in, so bring cash and expect to pay before you park. Marburger sets your expectations high with tent after tent filled with a collection of vendors selling curated good that are both found, reproductions and slightly new. We found the prices to be a bit higher throughout this show, so keep that in mind as you game plan all the other venues to visit throughout your stay. However, if you find something you absolutely love, snag it. Odds are, it won’t be there if you circle ’round a few hours later. Shoppers are serious here, but you can also enjoy just walking the tents and taking it all in. This is also a great spot to stay and grab lunch, so keep that in mind as you map out your day!

Although we found some goodies here, we were mindful that there were SO many vendors outside of Marburger that have very similar items, and sometimes at a lower price point.

The Compound was a big highlight of the whole Round Top experience for us, made up of a few different buildings with a range of vendors. Both incredibly curated and inspiring, and home to Old World Antieks and Eneby Home, both of which have impeccable wares and styling to boot. This venue is also a great spot to stop for lunch with yummy food and live music…we didn’t want to leave!

ex-cess 1 & 2

 This was one of our favorite spots, complete with an authentic experience that feels like you’re at a flea market, with the opportunity to scour for great finds and good deals! There’s a mix of vendors with a wide range of collected pieces, and the price points tend to be a bit more competitive here. It’s worth carving out a few hours to wander and see what you find. Lovely vendors call this venue home year after year, so it’s a must-stop for most shoppers. There’s also a big tent right off the parking lot filled with some of the best lattes, breakfast and lunch options. If you can’t tell, we’re allll about the food pit stops along the way, ha!

Old Glory Antiques

Perfectly curated and collected, this space (which is open year-round) is a beauty inside and out. Definitely a different experience from shopping in the fields, but equally worth stopping by. They do all of the hard work for you, and their team is next-level lovely. It also happens to be next door to one of our favorite dinner spots, so it’s the perfect spot to end the day, before walking over to any of the in-town dinner haunts in Round Top.

Box Road & Ettiene Market

Box Road is comprised of three different roadside boutique buildings that are filled with the coolest collection of vintage items. Each building contains something a little different, yet everything so thoughtfully collected and placed. We went home with a large wooden planter that was too good to pass up and had just come off the container! Word on the street is they’ll be in a new & improved space by next year, but in the same location.

Some people wonder if all the good stuff is gone two weeks or so into the show…and truthfully, we wondered the same thing before we arrived, since we were coming for the last week of the spring show. However, we were pleasantly surprised – every vendor had tents and buildings filled to brim with product, so it never felt picked over in our opinion. Many of the vendors told us they get additional deliveries throughout the show, which keeps inventory and merchandising constantly changing and full of rare finds, even if you happen to come toward the end of the show.

Around the corner is the newly opened all-things mercantile, Ettiene Market, and it’s in the sweetest little spot! Although you won’t find antiques here, it’s a great shop with everything from ceramics, to spices, to the cutest leather fly swatters we ever did see! We chatted with the owner, Coryanne, a previous food writer, who gave us her inside scoop to Round Top and all of her favorite food spots around town. Definitely pop by this charmer!

Blue Hills & The Arbors

Blue Hills is somewhat similar to Marburger, except at a much smaller scale & without an entrance fee (and they’re open for the entire duration of the show, not just one week). You can wander through each tent of antiques, take it all in, and see what catches your eye. Some may have what you’re looking for, and others may not. There is a diverse selection here, but that’s the beauty of antique shopping!

The Arbors is located across the road from Market Hill, and is lined with white tent after tent of curated vendors. This venue happens to have a lot of new product (less vintage), some with fashion attire, many with art (including our personal favorite, Paul Meyer), but you’ll also stumble across some great vintage rug & pillow vendors. If you’re looking for more of the antiquing experience, this isn’t necessarily your spot; but if you need a break and want to wander, pop by here!

Market Hill

Market Hill is a beautiful venue that sits proudly along Hwy 237, and houses some stunning, larger showrooms chock full of new and found furniture and accessories. It’s more of a traditional shopping experience, and prices are a bit higher here, but it’s a great spot to add to your shopping mix if you’re in need of more curated selections (and want to get out of the sun for bit, cop a squat in their AC building, and use a good clean restroom because, hey, this stuff matters!).

The Fields of Warrenton

Once you’ve made your way through many of the curated vendors and venues above, head further down Hwy 237 to what feels like miles and miles and miles of fields (and venues) filled with additional vendors. This is the real deal, and we’d suggest carving out a good day+ for The Fields and surrounding area, and on a day that’s decidedly cooler outside and you feel like digging through lots to find some diamonds in the rough. There’s a lot to see, and you’ll need some good time to see it all. You can see more of the Warrenton vendors here.

Where to Eat


We suggest eating dinner on the early side (and beating the crowds and longer lines), especially if you don’t have a reservation. These were our go-to spots for the week!

Mandito’s

Nothing beats snacking on chips, salsa and thee best guac on your first night in Texas! This Tex Mex eatery is casual and everything we were looking for after a long first day of shopping. The tacos and margs hit the spot, and this popular dinner spot fills up quickly! If you plan on going for dinner, try to be there a few minutes before they open at 5pm, and you’ll be first in line to get a seat before all of the local venues close up and traffic on Hwy 237 starts to crawl by and brings in the big groups of shoppers ready to dine.

Prost Wine Bar & Jax Brenham

The cutest wine bar with fire pit seating can be found in the heart of Round Top proper, and it’s a little tucked way so it’s easy to miss at first glance. Prost is first come, first serve, and easily one of our favorite finds. We snacked on their charcuterie board and sipped Frosé. You won’t wanna miss this little hideaway.

Next door is the local Brenham-based food truck, Jax, serving up some of the yummiest pizza we’ve EVER had. This too is first come, first serve, and the outdoor tables fill up quickly.  Grab a glass of wine at Prost while you wait for a table to open up.

Lulu’s

Unexpected and adorable, Lulu’s is an upscale Italian restaurant located in Bybee Square in Round Top proper (and owned by the founders of Mandito’s). The grilled caesar salad was our favorite! (Make a reservation in advance, as availability is limited! If you can’t get a ressie, pop by a few days beforehand when you arrive to town, and see if they can squeeze you in). Before or after dinner, be sure to wander around the town square…it’s so charming and the perfect spot for a sunset stroll.

Royer’s & Royer’s Pie Haven

An institution in Round Top! Royer’s has a restaurant in the heart of Round Top that’s always a local go-to, as well as a sister Pie Shop around the corner. Royer’s Pie Haven is walking distance from Lulu’s, in Henkel Square, so of course we grabbed a slice of pie to go! If you’ve got a sweet tooth, this is your spot!

Things to Know


As any first-timer would have it, we really had no idea what to expect for our first buying trip to Round Top. We did a little digging ahead of time for some of the basics, and loved hearing what Shea McGee and The Vintage Round Top had to share on all things Round Top. These are great guides to reference as you start planning your trip!

Shipping

While we went with the goal of buying for many of our projects, we weren’t quite sure what we’d find or how much we’d be buying, but knew we’d most likely be coming home with LOTS of goodies! With that, trying to game plan for the shipping & freight portion of an unknown buying trip started out as a bit of a mystery since we didn’t want to rent a U-Haul and haul things home ourselves for this first time, and didn’t want to ship things individually and worry about boxing things up on our own.

Prior to our trip, we reached out to various onsite shippers and found that Roll’en Hills was our best option (and the owner, Cindy, is wonderful to work with). Roll’en Hills is located at the Big Red Barn, so each day we’d bring our smaller accessories to their booth, take photos & log our inventory, and went on our way. Roll’en Hills would then handle picking up any of the larger items we purchased that wouldn’t fit in our car. From there, they inventory all items at their local warehouse, tag, box and load their trucks after the show finishes. All items are delivered about 4-6 weeks after the show ends, so patience is key if you go this route.

For us, this was a more cost effective option and allowed us to keep our options open to buy (and ship) as much or little as we wanted.

What To Pack

In terms of packing for yourself…plan for any and all types of weather as we mentioned earlier, because it changes throughout the day. Pack layers, comfy closed-toe shoes (you’ll be walking on grass, rocks, mud, etc and on your feet ALL DAY), sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks and lots of water if you don’t want to stop for lunch (or wait in long lines at lunch time). You could even keep a cooler in your car, and keep things chilled if you’re more of an on-the-go type.

Planning Your Days

Start your day right when the venues open. There isn’t much to do (or much open in Round Top or neighboring towns) prior to 9am, so plan on being out the door and at your first spot by 9am when they open. Check each venue ahead of time, because hours vary but are typically 9am-6pm by venue.

Also, Round Top is the term largely used for the Antique Show, but technically the show is spread out over several towns spanning 20+ miles, with 75+ venues and 3,000+ vendors throughout Burton, Carmine, Round Top, Warrenton and Fayetteville. All that to say, try not to be overwhelmed for your first trip…our suggestion is to start at one of the spots on our guide above, and as you start driving along Hwy 237, you’ll see venue after venue and can pull over wherever it looks like a find! Everything, for the most part, is located along Hwy 237 so it makes it easy to get around and explore each day.

We tried to finish up around 4pm each day, so we wouldn’t get stuck in the traffic crawl on Hwy 237 going in and out of town. It’s a 2-lane highway for the entire show span, and can take a little extra time if you leave town with the crowds at 6pm.

How to Pay

Bring cash & checks. Although some vendors take credit cards, reception can be unreliable and spotty. We wrote checks for most of our bigger purchases, and used cash for smaller purchases, so everything was easier to track. There is access to ATMs at some sites, but to avoid searching for one, plan in advance! Stop by your local bank to grab cash before getting to Round Top, and bring lots of checks.


That’s all for now! If we missed anything that you’re itching to know more about, feel free to ping us with any other questions you may have!

And, if you’ve never made it to Round Top, but it’s been on your list like it was on ours, gather up your closest group of friends and book your trip! It’s honestly such a fun week, and you’re bound to find some really fun treasures (and eat lots of good food along the way)!