With Maggie home for the Easter holidays, we headed out to Warrenton, Texas to try our luck antiquing the fields. Emma and I have gone for both the fall and spring antique fairs in the Round Top/Warrenton area for years. (See my posts on the fall fair and a focus on Marburger Farms.) On this visit it is preview weekend so the Round Top shows, Marburger, Big Red Barn are not yet open.
I find the fall shows to be bigger, but just slightly. In the spring you have the advantage of the fabulous drive out to the area with the fields and highway easements covered with Texas wildflowers like Bluebonnets and (red) Indian paintbrushes. Even if you never find the tents, you’ll love the journey. Many people make this an annual pilgrimage.
We try to go midweek to beat the crowds. However, we worked around Maggie’s availability and with Good Friday being a holiday for so many, the fields were full of people and the road was crowded in both directions. In addition to the shoppers, you had vendors coming it to set up for the for the shows opening early the next week.
We parked near the Campbell building and made our usual stop to see Robin Lindberg-aka, the Queen of Heirs– and Beth Brown: Both show fabulous estate jewelry in a range of prices. We also had to start with our clothes-trying-on-marathon at Cottage Gatherings-a two-hour event. Maggie slept the whole way out and woke in time for the shopping. It can be pretty intense. “I was not prepared for this” was Maggie’s reaction.
Phase 1-Campbell building shopping-completed, we headed out to the fields. Our breakfast stop had already had to be modified as it was Good Friday and we were not eating meat. That meant no bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit or sausage kolache in the morning. Lunch was an even bigger challenge. There are food booths everywhere along the road, but few choices if you are not eating meat. (I wasn’t up for the baked potatoes just across from the Campbell building and the Upper Deck-a favorite spot-had a really long line.)
Most of the shopping is set up in tents that cover the open fields or sandwiched between the few buildings in town. Pedestrian bridges cross the ravines which separate the fields, the construction of which is a testament to the biannual shows’ importance to the local economy. We did a little browsing along the way and ended up at Casa Mia/Texas Pizza Wagon along the south side of the road. They have a portable brick pizza oven and offer a wide variety of generously-sized individual pizzas, salads, and sandwiches. I added mushrooms and fresh basil to my cheese pizza, selected a drink, and got out for $10.50. Emma and Maggie shared their pizza, but added a large bag of kettle corn to their lunch. (Kettle corn is plentiful during the show weekends.) I would recommend this lunch-with or without meat.
Maggie is moving off-campus next semester so we were looking for some inexpensive things to decorate her apartment with. If she didn’t have to drive or ship it all to Pennsylvania we could have really loaded her up. She found “ready to hang/use” items as well as some that are more “project” pieces.
I bought a beautiful platter and Emma got a few things as well, but we absolutely wore Maggie out. This power shopping clearly takes training and Maggie has to learn to pace herself to keep up.
Robin has a wonderful apartment in the Campbell Building so at some point Maggie packed it in and took a nap. Emma and I used the opportunity to visit with vendor friends we have made over the many years we have been coming to the show. The atmosphere also changes as the day wears on. By 3 pm it seemed that at least every other person’s favorite accessory was a koozie with a cold beer. This is Texas you know and besides that it is “always 5 o’clock somewhere.”
Some of the vendors close around 6 pm; others stay open until later. That said, I have never seen a vendor close down as long as they have shoppers looking at their special finds.
With the Campbell building closing, we sat outside on the infamous red adirondack chairs and did some people watching. People watching is reason enough to come to the Antiques Fair.
After closing, we made the short drive to La Grange, Texas for some of our favorite Tex-Mex at Las Fuentes. Cheese enchiladas always work on Lenten Fridays. We got the skinny of the show’s activities from a vendor perspective from Robin, Beth, and Robin’s niece Laura who spends her spring break working the show with her aunt.
It was a special treat for Maggie since at 21 she can now join the “legals” for a margarita with her Tex-Mex. Of course it wasn’t her first libation for the day. She had found blender drink offerings among the Warrenton tents. (I suspect this was the reason she needed that afternoon nap.)
On the drive back to Houston, Emma announced that it was Maggie’s job to stay up with me as I drove back. (Apparently it was now time for Emma’s tequila nap.) I had wisely limited myself to one jumbo margarita. It was all highway in from La Grange and we made it in good time.
I am now actually posting this several days after our visit. The show is in its second week and more venues are now open in the nearby Round Top area. After yesterday’s preview, Marburger Farms opens for regular admission shopping today. Stop by and see Dolan Geiman and his work. I commissioned a wonderful original “Westie” piece for Boris’ Bar Westie as a Christmas gift. It never made it to the bar; we continue to enjoy it in the den.
More to come on spring break in Michigan, early April in Georgetown, and Asia in the middle of the month. Boris and I leave for Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and India on April 15. In May, Rocky and I dive Belize. Join Natasha for more travel…