Round Top has been on my radar for quite a few years now. Last year, when we were finally booked, excited and ready to go, Covid-19 hit and we had to reschedule for this year. But I finally made it!
I had high expectations and it's safe to say, this was even better than I had hoped. If Round Top is something you are considering, (and I highly suggest you do it) there is a lot to take in so I am rounding up the things you must know before you go. I do A LOT of research before I go on any trip, and this was no exception (Thank you Paige for this AMAZING Bible... I mean Guide to Round Top). By the time I landed and got into town, I went from a clueless California girl to a seasoned Round Topper in no time.
So what is Round Top?
Round Top is an antiques fair that happens in Round Top, TX twice a year; In the fall and in the spring. Basically, it's 14 miles of antiques off a 2 lane highway ranging from the fields (true treasure hunting and bargains) to more curated booths (but you'll pay the price for the curation)!
If you're a newbie like myself, pay attention to this; Round Top is actually 3 weeks long. If you look at websites like https://www.roundtoptexasantiques.com/ and https://www.exploreroundtop.com/ they only tell you the start dates of the big shows like the Big Red Barn and Marburger. However, by the time these shows start, most of the shopping has been going on for 2 weeks! So plan ahead to get there well before those start dates. (Trust me, I know that is confusing).
Where to stay?
I definitely recommend staying in Round Top if you visit. The energy is just amazing. That being said, there are limited places to stay, so definitely book way in advance if you are thinking about going. We stayed for a few nights at the Vintage Round Top right in town, and then a few nights at the Farmhouse at the Carmine Coop, about 6 minutes outside of town. You can find all the lodging here or else try out some of the many airbnbs in town.
Where to shop?
There are all kinds of places to shop in Round Top. If you like treasure hunting, start early in the fields of Warrenton. This is the place that you will find the best deals, but you really have to search for them. The further up the road you get, the more curated the spaces and booths become. It's hard to say what my favorites were because there is SO MUCH to see at each place; but Box Road and Blue Hills were my favorites that I visited more than a few times.
Must See: Excess I & II, The Compund, Bader Ranch, The Halles, Market Hill, Blue Hills, Big Red Barn and Marburger.
I mentioned to someone that I was a first timer and was given Michelle's infomation for GetARoundTop and WOW was that lucky! Michelle is well versed in all things Round Top and has just relocated there permanently. She offers personalized, private tours of the fields and the shows and introduces you to the locals and shop owners. She is incredible and also happens to own the Carmine Coop that we stayed at for the second half of our trip! Our tour included the cutest market bag, hand sanitizer, a tape measure and a guide to Round Top. If you're going for the first time, DEFINITELY reach out to her to book your first day with Michelle!
Where to eat?
Remember that there are a ton of people in a small town for 3 weeks, so plan in advance for meals because they book up fast.
Royer's Cafe and Pies - and trust me, I'm not even a pie person and this was heaven.
Prost - get there around 5 for wine and some of the best pizza you've ever had
Round Top Coffee Shop - for morning coffee, breakfast tacos and conversations with the locals
Lulu's - yummy Italian cuisine in Henkel Square
Mandito's - Mexican food that is always packed
The Garden Company - Amazing food, salads and cocktails. But get there right when they open!
The Little Cheese Shop in Round Top - In Henkel Square, we grabeed cheese, olives, crackers and wine on the go for the days we were tired to eat on our porch and they were some of our favorite nights.
The Ellis Motel - it's actually a bar. Go and get the Ranch Water.
The only market in town is quite small, so if you're driving in, stop by a grocery store on your way in for any essentials for your stay!
What to Wear and What to Bring?
Well for starters, make sure you go with someone you can hang out with in the fields for days at a time. My friend Chloe joined us and we had the best time shopping both for my shop and for her shop, opening in Reno this Spring!
I added a few essentials here and here. But basically, dress for comfort. For clothing, you will need: COMFORTABLE shoes, a hat, a crossbody purse so you can use your hands, something you can wear all day and light layers (Again, Honest Cotton and a denim jacket were my hero's).
You will need: SPF, pens, a tape measure, WATER, snacks, hand sanitizer, lip balm, and a notepad to track your purchases. Bring cash for negotiating!
What about Shipping?
There are a few shippers in town and some of the shows/ shops ship as well. If you ask, someone will be able to help you. Roll'en Hills and Distinguished Transport were the two most recommended.
When is the best time to go?
Like I said, the show lasts about 3 weeks. If you want the best for picking, go the first week. However, vendors may be less inclined to negotiate on pricing. If you go later, you will get to see the shows like Big Red Barn and Marburger, but the prices are a bit high. Toward the last few days, most vendors are willing to negotiate on pricing. However, some pack up for their next show so it really just depends. We went for an entire week starting the second week and left right after Marburger opened. It seemed like a lot of time but I feel like we got to see everything possible.
What did a typical day look like?
No two days were ever the same or even close. But we always started with coffee; whether in the lodging or in town. Then we would head to the fields before they get busy... and work our way up to the bigger venues. You will walk a lot, but you will also be in your car as well. We never had to pay for parking until the bigger shows started. We would grab lunch in town or at a venue and keep going until our feet hurt or the shops started closing up, whichever came first. There are events and parties at night. I didn't make it due to lack of sleep, but I hear some of those partied at Desperado and Zapp Hall were SO much fun!
How to get there? I flew into Austin, rented a car and drove in. It's about 45 minutes to an hour and was an easy drive. On the way out, we stayed in Austin one night at the Austin Proper (Kelly Wearstler's new Hotel). After a week of walking and moving, this was the ultimate luxury before heading back home!
Thanks for tuning in! Let me know if you have any more Round Top questions that I can answer!