I’m all about a well planned trip but last-minute trips are really exciting too. I’ve had many ask about our trip so sharing about it with more specific details at the end.
My bestie and I are turning 50 this year and wanted to do something fun. Janine said let’s not over think it, but just do it. We invited our kitchen momma friends for a road trip to Waco. Three could come. We missed the other two, but sent them lots of pictures!
Five of us headed out of Huntsville for a week-long road trip to include Waco, Texas to visit Magnolia, Roundtop, Texas to visit the Antique Fair and Laurel, Mississippi to visit Laurel Mercantile.
We arrived about 8:30 at Magnolia. We paid $10 for parking BUT Magnolia has free parking in the back. (we later learned). We walked right in the bakery with no line. What’s for sale in the bakery is not available in the Magnolia stores so if you want a Bakery T-shirt you get it there. After 9:30 there was a line wrapped around the building for the rest of the day.
I saw the episode where they made the bakery so it was super cool to see it in person.
After coffee and cupcakes/muffins/cookies, we wandered around looking at the gardens, taking pictures. Lots of photo ops and lots of happy people to take them for you. We were enamored with all the cool things to see that we didn’t notice that a line was forming to go in Magnolia, which opens at 10. So we got in line about 9:30. The line moves fast once it opens. They hand you big shopping bags as you walk it. It’s very crowded. It pretty much remained that way the rest of the day. We were there on a Tuesday.
There are two check out lines, one upstairs and one downstairs and they run pretty quickly. They ship your items for free BUT you have to pay for packaging material. None of us took them up on it but they will give you an estimate. We all eventually met up outside and ate lunch at one of the food trucks. There are plenty of picnic tables and food choices.
We all discussed what we had seen and ended up heading back inside to look again. They have really neat displays and a sign in book by the door. There is also a little Seed and Supply shop over in the gardens.
They don’t sell things that are available at Target. Also plenty of price ranges and sizes. Every single one of us came out with a piece of jewelry without each of us knowing. Go figure.
It was worth it to come early and look around outside and take pictures before it fills up with visitors. It’s a very happy and fun place. The employees were all very nice and helpful. I’ll be honest, I didn’t see the big draw to come here. I’ve watched the show on and off over the years BUT I completely see it now. It’s so fun! A lady that took our picture said it’s Disney Land for ladies. Another quote from Janine. “I don’t know why women bring their husbands”. I couldn’t agree more.
I had packed a very large Rubbermaid container with lots of bubble wrap and masking tape and a sharpie so we could wrap up our breakables and label and store in the bin. This worked out really well and all non breakables just went in around our suitcases.
Other stops in Waco. Spice Village, Harp Designs, Dr. Pepper Museum, Waco sign, Collin Street Bakery. We ate dinner at Torchy’s Taco. It was happening and very good. One day in Waco was good for us and our wallets. But it was one FULL day. We didn’t go to the restaurant. It had just opened the week before and we didn’t want to wait for a table.
Roundtop Antique Fair is twice a year. It is HUGE. There is no way you can see every single venue. I can’t readily describe it, but I’d recommend doing some research before you go and have a game plan. We just stopped at the first thing we came to and started there. You will use your time more efficiently to do some research and know where you are going. Each venue has a personality so read up on what you are looking for. Get your hands on the free Antique Show Guide and make a plan. The fair encompasses three towns. The guide has a map and list of all the vendors and has them categorized by what they sell.
There are over 60+ venues. This is not vendors BUT venues! So you see the scope! 1000’s of vendors.
The center point for the whole fair started at the Big Red Barn. You have to buy a ticket for this venue. (the rest are free) We bought it online beforehand which saved us some time. For us the Big Red Barn and Annex had very awesome antiques BUT they were all “cream of the crop can’t afford and should be in a museum” booths. I loved looking and admiring but it was like a museum! I don’t know if it’s usually this way or not but something to consider.
Some stops were all big pieces that we couldn’t get anyway. Some stops were more flea market type and some were like your pop up barn shows that we all love. Blue Hills was our groups favorite stop, we also liked Zap Hall. We liked McLaren’s & Beard Antiques for super awesome European antiques. There is something for everyone! We made other stops, some we liked more than others. The vendors are very helpful and will tell you what venue has more of what you are looking for. They will also tell you the best food spots.
I found prices to be on the high-end but most were negotiable. Since we were limited on space, I tried to focus on things I can’t get anywhere else. We all found plenty to buy. Booths didn’t open till 10. Some at 9:30. Cell phone coverage was good for At&t and Verizon. Vendors take cash, credit and some take checks.
This is a great article in the guide.
The weekend traffic is supposed to be very heavy so keep that in mind. The traffic and parking were all very easy for our Wednesday and Thursday visits.
We spent one full day and one half day. We barely scratched the surface!
We stayed in Brenham. Home of Blue Bell Ice-cream. We visited the Blue Bell Factory and watched them make it from a viewing platform while an employee answered every single question we could think of. We had ice-cream for $1 a scoop and visited their gift shop. Brenham also had lots of good restaurants and a cute down town. A nice place to go after a day at the Antique Fair and just about 20 minutes away.
The wildflowers were beautiful for our trip! The blue bonnets were everywhere. Our drive from Waco to Roundtop we saw plenty of wildflowers. This is a bonus for the spring Antique Fair. The temps were comfortable. There is a nice drive north of Brenham to see the wildflowers. There are plenty of websites showing you where to go for viewing wildflowers. I don’t think you need them we saw plenty without looking.
We drove from Roundtop to Laurel. We had intended on going to see Oak Alley but rain had come in and we decided to skip that stop. We stayed in Laurel and woke up the next morning and drove around the old town to see the live oaks arch across the streets and the beautiful antebellum homes fill up the blocks. It’s a beautiful town.
We visited Laurel Mercantile. It is home to the show “Home Town” on HGTV. It’s a sweet shop. Erin’s aunt was the welcoming committee and she made our visit extra special. There are several photo ops around. We visited a couple of shops, a bakery, a butcher shop, and had lunch at The Pearl Diner. It’s a sweet way to spend an afternoon with girlfriends.
We had a super awesome trip! I think we could have sailed on thru another week. There was something for everyone. We came back with oyster plates, candlesticks, quilts, bags, jewelry, t-shirts, spool cabinet, and more!
With these gems as friends any where would have been great!
Many people have had questions about our trip so I’m whipping up this post to help YOU plan your own trip with tips we learned.
First decide how long do you want to be gone. And figure out mileage on how long to get places. I just used google maps and entered the towns. Then back into your time to figure how long at each place and then start booking any specialty hotels. We knew we had two days of driving, one full day in Waco, one day at Laurel and at least one or two days at the flea market.
With less than a month to plan, the first thing I did was book a place to stay. In Waco, I rented a small house thru Air B&B. We stayed at Cameron Park House. It was perfect for us and only $112 a night. It had only one bath but we worked it out. I tried to book Crow’s Nest at $150 a night because it had two baths but it got away from me before I could decide.
In Roundtop since it’s a very big flea market most things were booked already, I found a hotel in Brenham, Texas which is about 20 minutes from Roundtop. I book hotels thru Bookings.com because I like it and their app keeps all your details in one place.
After those nights, we decided to just wing it and drive as far as we could before stopping for the night. I looked around where we might possibly stop to ensure there were plenty of options.
We rented a suburban so we would have plenty of room for our luggage and be comfortable. We decided on three drivers (up-charge per driver & all have to be present at rental time.) On the long drive days we divided the time equally, the other days we switched dinners each day. Just to get an idea of how much gas our trip was going to cost, I used a Fuel Calculator. It was pretty accurate.
We suggested everyone do a little research to find out what to see, and do and where to eat. We used trip advisor to read reviews. We had someone keep up with what everyone paid for gas, hotels, parking, etc.. to settle up later. Front seat passenger was the navigator and we used a gps.
We were gone 5 nights and drove 2000 miles. Our hotels, gas, and car rental was about $550 per person.
Hope this helps!