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All About Round Top

Thanks to The Vintage Round Top  and Katie at RoundTop.com for great guides to my very happy place - Round Top Antiques Week!  I've added a few insights of my own to help Houston folks planning day trips!

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Preparing for the Show.

WHERE IS IT?

Round Top is about 90 miles and about a two-hour drive from Houston (quicker if you have a heavy foot... see note about speed traps!). The town has a population of around 90 and is on Texas 237 between Brenham and LaGrange.  Watch for speed traps on 290. Once you're on Highway 237, expect traffic to slow to a crawl as you get near the shopping sites.

DATES & TIMES

-The shows are held twice a year in the Spring (end of March/beginning of April) and the Fall (end of Sept/ beginning of October).

-They span over a fifteen-day period with approx. 60 shows on an eleven-mile stretch of Hwy 237 in Round Top with smaller shows in neighboring towns. 

-Every show is different, most open by 9:00am (however some open even earlier) and close around 6:00pm (or stay open until the last shopper leaves)  

-Some shows have specific hours, primarily the shows with paid entry fees.

REFER TO THESE LINKS FOR SHOW DATES:

http://www.antiqueweekend.com

http://roundtop.org/antique_show_info.php

BEST TIME TO COME?

This all depends on what your goals are at Round Top Antiques week.

Looking for the Best Deals: Come towards the end of the third week of the show. There will be less selection, however vendors will be more inclined to strike a deal or negotiate with you to get rid of their inventory. (Although, this is not always the case. Many dealers pack up from one show to go to the next, so are not in a position to give major discounts.)

Looking for Smaller, Less Chaotic Crowds: Visit the shows Monday-Thursday. During the week, parking is much easier and the crowd is smaller, making it easier to get from one show to another.

Looking for the Best Selection: Plan to be there the very first week. It will not only be less crowded, but you will have the widest selection to choose from before it gets picked through in the following, most popular week. Downside: the prices will be less negotiable and not all vendors are open.

WANT TO BE HERE WHEN ALL OF THE SHOWS ARE OPEN?

Marburger Farm (opens the Tusday of the last week) and Big Red Barn (opens the Monday of the last week) are the only two shows that have an entry fee, however the fee covers parking and the entire length of the show. Both have a variety of dealers, however most of them are higher- end and many are European. The booths are styled and easy to navigate. The Vintage Round Top is a Marburger Farm vendor. 

WHERE TO STAY

Book lodging early! Many B&B/home rentals require a  2-3 night minimum stay.

Regardless if you plan to come once or twice a year, lock the reservation in with your favorite B&B or Home Rental. The Vintage Round Top is, of course, RVT's first pick, but if the home is booked already, go through Round Top Chamber of Commerce or VRBO Vacation Rental to find available lodging.  My girlfriends and I stay at The Main Street House in Brenham.  The owner is super friendly and makes a mean cup of french pressed coffee.

WHAT TO WEAR

Dress comfortably and stylish! Texas weather can be extreme and change overnight, but many days are picture perfect. Shoe choice is key as you will be doing a lot of walking... and walking over rocks, grass, caliche and sometimes through mud.  Sun coverage is also important in regards to staying comfortable while navigating the shows. Wear layers and a light jacket or top to cover your shoulders to avoid sunburn, even if it’s cold. Wear comfortable shoes or if the forecast calls for rain, wear rain boots. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.  I tend to have allergy attacks in Round Top, so I always pack Allegra-D.

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WHAT TO BRING

Carry a large tote bag to carry water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.  I tend to have allergy attacks in Round Top, so I always pack some antihistamine.  Use your tote to carry a notebook and pen or use your cellphone, for writing down your purchases including the location, name and number of the vendor you need to pick up your items from.  You can also use your tote to carry smaller items you have purchased.

If you're on a day trip, you may be looking to save precious shopping time.  I suggest loading a cooler full of cheese, crackers, chicken salad, water, etc.  You can grab a quick bite in your car (with A/C blowing) and avoid the long restaurant lines.

Use your cellphone to take pictures of the items you bought and left behind to pick up later. (Trust me - always ask permission before you take photos of a booth and get the name and contact info to tag the vendor in social media outlets.)

Bring cash from home! Although some dealers accept credit cards and checks, cash is always welcomed. There are banks located in Round Top and the surrounding areas of Carmine, La Grange and Brenham and some show sites do have ATMS.

During the Show.

PARKING

Many parking areas are located between and behind the shows along SH 237. Most parking is free, but there are places that offer paid parking for a small fee, typically $5.

NAVIGATING THE SHOWS

If you come for a day trip, get started as early as possible. Since the shows span over an 11 mile stretch, traffic can slow down the process of getting from one to another. Drive to the furthest show and work your way backwards so you are only dealing with traffic on the way back. However, if you have favorite shows, start there first to get the best selection.

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The Round Top Register has created a Back Roads Guide with information about show locations, times and dates. You can pick up one in Round Top or click here to view and download the PDF.

NEGOTIATING WITH VENDORS

Most vendors will negotiate, but some are firm on prices. You won’t know until you ask and most dealers expect to be asked. You will have better luck negotiating if you are looking to purchase a large ticket item or a large amount of small items. Remember that these vendors have a tough job so be fair in what you offer.

FINDING YOUR HIDDEN TREASURE

As the saying goes, “One’s man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” We love the hunt, but one issue you have to face when looking for your perfect piece is the decision of when to buy. If you decide to wait and go back later to purchase a piece, it may be gone. The other aspect is that you may buy something in the beginning and then find something even better later so, there is no easy answer. Bottom line: If you LOVE it, BUY it!

TRANSPORTING YOUR PURCHASES

There are several businesses that offer shipping of large purchases but in our experience, the two most reputable are Roll’en Hills and Distinguished Transport. If you aren’t buying large items, simply transport your purchases in the back of your vehicle, in your trunk or even pull a small trailer. If you choose to take your items home with you, bring plastic tarps or blankets to cover the interior of your car in case of rain or if items are dirty, etc.

ROLL'EN HILLS CONTACT INFO
Cindy's Cell : 281 726 2631 or Kevin's Cell:  281 204 7434
2121 South State Hwy 237
Round Top, TX 78954

DISTINGUISHED TRANSPORT CONTACT INFO
Phone: 979 249 3473  or 678 910 1668
2377 South State Hwy 237
Round Top, TX 78954         

After Hours.

Several shows offer late night shopping along with live music.

The most well-known and rockin’ is the “Junk Gypsy Prom” held on a Thursday at the Junk Gypsy tent in Zapp Hall. They have live music, vendors and Zapp Hall has a bubble bar with libations.

Prost Wine Bar offers live music and a world class selection of wines by glass or bottle.
112 Bauer Rummel, Round Top, Texas 78954

The Stone Cellar has moved to the Old Depot and is known for great music, dancing, and pizza. 550 N Washington St, Round Top, TX 78954

Teague's Tavern offers Texas style comfort food and live music every weekend.
105 N. Live Oak Street, Round Top, Texas 78954

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Round Top Vendor Schedule 2018

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Round Top Antiques Festival

If you know me, you know I love beautiful things, the thrill of the negotiation, and the hunt for treasure.  All these come together in a perfect trifecta twice a year in Round Top, Texas.  My sweet husband graciously takes over packing lunches and reading good-night stories to our children so I can drive 90 miles to the best antiques festival in the state!  This year I joined some girls from Dallas and stayed at the sweet Ant Street Inn.  This adorable Inn is located in downtown Brenham and sounds like a sorority house once all the ladies return to kick up their feet, sip wine, chatter about their purchases and strategize about the next day's itinerary.  Relishing cheese, wine and a dinner of twice-baked potatoes from Lisa's Aunt Nancy was my favorite time of the day.  I loved catching up and laughing with these ladies!

We kicked off the day at Blue Hills where I met Michael Lawlis and purchased a great looking side table for the beach house.  I can always use more surface area to rest a wine glass or two!

My favorite stop is Arbor Antiques where I always find gorgeous goodies.  I was sad to learn that the Mexican Shirt lady is going out of business.  She had all her inventory 20% off!   I fell in love with a sold item from Susan Horne Antiques, but am crossing fingers that she can source another.   My friend bought a stunning pair of French needlepoint arm chairs from Maison Pernoud that will look amazing in her new home's foyer.  

On my final morning, we hit one more road-side tent and Nancy found a lovely pair of vintage sconces from Galveston!!  My heart sank as I did not see them first...  That sweet woman let me purchase them for Bowen (thank you, Nancy!)!!  I also found two wooden tennis racquets for less than half the price where I saw them at Arbors, so I picked those up as well!  I plan to send them on to House of Lamps so Nancy can work her magic! 

Ciao, Italia!

Put down your coffee... I just returned from a gorgeous nine days in Tuscany.  Doesn't that sound glamorous?  My best friend from childhood and her little sis arranged a vacation for twelve friends in an outstanding villa outside Cortona, Italy.  

I was most intrigued by the villa we stayed in - the owners are from Houston and purchased the 1760 era property in 1999.  It had not been lived in since 1970 and the renovation took seven years to complete!  I'm pretty industrious, but a seven year endeavor seemed exhausting to even think about.  Here are a few highlights...

If you are interested, I would say the pricing is rather reasonable.  Check it out here.