Round Top Road Trip
I was just a young girl when my mother started dragging me alongside her adventures as a Texas primitive antiques dealer at Round Top, Texas. Several decades later, I still can’t stand to miss the event, as it continues to grow and be a tradition for dealers and pickers across the U.S. My fashion market styling and photography career has taken me to Paris and New York City and back, but nothing inspires me more than treasure hunting every spring and fall in Round Top.
This Spring Antique Week is April 2-7. The main action occurs between Round Top and Warrenton, Texas, a five-mile stretch of 60-plus fields about halfway between Austin and Houston. Below, I’ve combined my personal picks with event favorites, whether you’re on a budget, looking to decorate your dream home, or just searching for a touch of vintage.
Before you go
Stop for cash. ATM machines are hard to trek to, and though a lot of vendors take Square and other Apple point-of-sale systems, they are dependent upon wireless which is hit or miss. Most vendors are from out of town and won’t take a check, so cash makes negotiating more likely. Traffic can also be at a standstill during rush hour, so starting later or earlier is recommended, even though most fields and booths open around 9 am. Porta-potties are parked along the way, so take advantage when you pass one. Most restaurants and buildings have bathrooms — look for them when you duck inside.
If you’re on a budget
You’ll find free parking at most fields along FM 237, just get there early to snag a spot not too far out of the way. Most vendors nestle together in paths for miles from field to field and don’t require admission. There are also fairground-style food vendors, with some grab-and-go bites like corn dogs and tacos.
For music festival and foodie artisans
Elton Rains, an Airstream refurbisher and former Ralph Lauren stylist, is set up with his signature chambray and denim collections at Sheila Youngblood’s Rancho Pillow Mercado. The 20-acre compound includes four main lodges and campsites turned Feast to Field events — two main all-inclusive meals, which sell out early — but you can see the compound and shop the mercado anytime during the week, including jewelry and bespoke leather by Nashville’s Atelier Savas inside the main house.
If you’re DIY’ing industrial chic spaces
Architectural salvage, statues, signage — it’s all in one place at both Excess fields. With vendors from all over the world and products from all corners of the globe, you’ll have that gotta-have-it moment a dozen times. Catering is by the 145 Sisters in both fields, with great coffee, tacos, sandwiches, and salads.
If you love rare and European
The Big Red Barn (and adjacent Continental Tent) is celebrating this year with “50 Years of Fabulous,” music, nibbles, drinks, and late shopping. It is curated, air-conditioned, and has great parking — it's a destination and worth the trek. Many of the pieces aren’t just unique, they’re also rare, so it has more of a gallery and museum feel than a treasure hunt.
The best of the best
Market Hill's 130,000-square-foot warehouse and studio are worth the time if you’re looking for very special pieces. With a few dozen vendors and most of the work done for you, it’s a top-notch design collective.
Mark Massey’s The Compound has set the bar when it comes to merging the studio and showroom appeal, hosting events around curated wares in multiple spaces. His 57-acre event and entertainment development is bookended by the seasoned expertise of Kathy Johnston, as he’s also owner of Henkel Square and Rummel Square, destination showroom shows. Check out The Compound’s Savory Southern Picnic on April 4.
Take a load off
Open through April 7, Zapp Hall, an old dance hall in Warrenton, is surrounded by outside vendors. It's also located next to Royer’s at Zapp Hall, a great place to grab a good lunch (or a beer). Enjoy a casual meal with friends at one of the picnic tables or stick around to catch live music every night. The Junk Gypsy Junk-o-Rama annual prom is April 5, a free homecoming of sorts, where guests turn up their outfits and music for a celebration.
If you love to brown bag it
The Round Top Mercantile is a huge Shell gas station in Round Top. The local grocery store, deli, and coffee shop also sells hardware and general-store goods. It’s a great first stop before hitting the shows.
Last stop: wine
If 5 o’clock is wine o’clock, hit Prost wine bar, which offers a great wine and cheese selection in an adorable rock house in downtown Round Top.
The Vintage Round Tophas reinvented modern vintage design with blog-worthy homes available for rent. The spaces are an Insta-dream, and they host great events and meetings led by owners Paige and Smoot Hull.
The Frenchie Round Top, a partnership of Katy Bader and Kristin Light, just opened. There’s a 19th-century main house, two farm buildings, and other outposts like a potting shed turned wine bar.
Also brand-new, FlopHouzeis the second arm of Pieces of the Past Architectural Salvage owner Matt White and team. With refurbished shipping containers turned into amazing hotel houses, it's nice to at least peek inside and see how adorable shipping container living can be, but staying there is definitely memorable. If you’re thinking of your own tiny home, they can make it for you, and they ship all over the world from their warehouse/shop next door.
Gyspyville Wander Inn is the newest adventure for famed Junk Gypsy locals Jolie and Amie Sikes, an eight-suite guest house next to their headquarters.