Emma and I like Marburger Farms as a middle of the road antiques destination. It is not as high end or as expensive as The Big Red Barn, but it is more upscale than the “garage sale” type wandering you do in the fields at Warrenton. There are entrances at the north and south end with the vehicle exit in the center. Headed south on 237, pass the north entrance and head to the south one. If you use the north entrance there are steps that have to be managed which is not easy with lots of packages.
There is a $10 admission charge per person (highway robbery according to Mom) which includes your parking. Marburger Farms has the nicest portable bathrooms you have ever seen, well worth the price of admission. The vendors are set up in tents with wood shavings on the floor if the weather is damp. There are also a few small permanent buildings on the property. There can be themes to the tents-folk art, linens, chandeliers, but mostly the vendors are just all mixed up. This event is wonderful people watching too.
We like to come on Wednesday, the first day of the regular show. The show runs Tuesday-Saturday. On the preview day on Tuesday, there are shorter hours and the cost is $25. It is mostly dealers, but is open to anyone and you get first pick.
One of the interesting things about the shows in this area is that items can travel from one vendor to another with the price going up each time. Many items start out in the field in Warrenton, which opens a week earlier, show up at Marburger, and reappear at the Big Red Barn which opens a day after Marburger. I have heard about this for years, but last spring spotted a Big Red Barn vendor doing just that in Warrenton. Since we knew what items she specialized in we watched what she was buying and sure enough it was just what would reappear later at the Big Red Barn with a higher price tag.
Although the “Methodist Men” no longer sell bar-b-que there, Marburger does have a variety of food options for lunch with $1 refills for your iced tea and lemonade. I also pick up a bag of kettle korn for Rocky on the way out. (If I forget, we have another vendor in Warrenton we can visit.)
Emma and I have been known to have to curtail our purchases because we are running out of space in the car. In fact, it was a big sacrifice to bring mom along this time because that meant giving up some precious cargo area. (See how much we love you Mom!) Paintings, Chandeliers, and furniture take up a lot of space in a small SUV. We ship the big stuff home. Marburger has a delivery service on site. Since we live close (about an hour and 45 minutes away in Houston), we get things pretty quick. They figure out the delivery route, which goes all over the country, after the show. Emma has had several things delivered and has always been pleased.
Next we headed to the Campbell Building in Warrenton. This inside destination holds some of our favorite shops. If you love antique/estate jewelry, there is no better place to shop than the Queen of Heirs just inside on the left side (past the clothing). Robin has wonderful contacts and offers the best prices you will find in the area. Beth Brown has a booth just across from Robin (on the right side as you enter the building). She offers antique fine and costume jewelry. I never fail to find something at either of these two shops.
The building is home to many vendors offering a variety of items. By the time we arrived, two of the vendors were already gone as a shop owner from New England had come and bought their entire inventory. (The prices are that good.) The Cat’s Meow has its vintage clothing museum here and Mom and I tried on a few hats. Steven Porterfield also has a new spot in one of the Marburger tents. I ended up buying a hat from him at both Marburger and Warrenton. Guess I need to have a dress-up Downton Abby party when season three premieres in January. Steven has supplied both to that series and to the film Titanic. He was full of great stories about the costuming.
Emma and I also like to shop for new clothing and decorative items at the Campbell Building. The Cat’s Meow is on the left side as you face the building. On the right side is Cottage Gatherings (clothing and shoes) and Urban Nest (home decor). These are shops from La Grange, Texas which is only 12 miles from Warrenton. The owner, Hayley Johnson, has a family home just minutes from the Campbell Building. She is always fully stocked for Antique Weekends and Emma and I go a little crazy. We are suckers for the Johnny Was silks and Old Gringo boots.
There are also fabulous and unique home decorating offerings. Hayley always has the best displays. She once parked an old VW bug on the porch and used it to display clothing. Eye-catching to say the least. Hayley’s items start on the porch and spill over inside the building where you will find the shoes (lots of yellow box), boots, and most of the clothing. She has two cute dressing rooms with overhead fans blowing directly on them-very smart! Along the street and just in front of the porch, her son sells cupcakes and the best ice-cold lemonade.
After a long day of shopping if we don’t need to get back, we stay for dinner. Some of our favorite night spots are Las Fuentes on Jefferson in La Grange, The Oaks in Warrenton, and JW’s Steakhouse in Carmine. Most of the vendors close at dark (around 6 pm). After the Campbell building was secure, Robin and Beth joined us across the street for dinner at The Upper Deck fittingly named for an upstairs porch with a cool breeze where you can watch the sun set (or at least see the colors change).
The next Round Top/Warrenton Antiques Fair will be the first full weekend in April 2013. Marburger Farms opens on the Tuesday before; The Big Red Barn on the Wednesday before. The Campbell Building and the tents in Warrenton are open the weekend before. If you are traveling some distance, there are a variety of overnight accommodations but they book early. It is not too soon to make your reservations now. Happy Hunting…