Your Haute Guide to Round Top by Catelyn Silapachal, Owner of The Distillery Market
This Spring, I wrapped up my second season leading private Round Top Trips, and I have to say that I only fall more and more in love with this small Texas town! But even after years of attending Antiques Week, this vintage paradise can still be incredibly overwhelming. So I wanted to share an insider-guide to the must-sees, how to shop like a pro, and a humble guide to haggling. Hopefully, with this guide, you will feel confident to take on a fun day of treasure hunting.
WHAT CAN BE FOUND AT ROUND TOP
Literally anything and everything. From high end collectors’ items, to mid-century furniture, to junk. Round Top is perfect for the new home owner, restaurateur, hotelier, design fiend, and casual shopper. Round Top is a fascinating way to explore design trends and history.
WHAT TO BRING
- Cash and credit cards – most vendors take both, but cell phone service can be spotty, so bring a decent amount of cash just in case
- A tote and extra foldable grocery shopping bags
- Sunscreen, water bottle, snacks
- A sack lunch – I recommend bringing lunch to save time, though there are restaurant options available.
- Comfortable shoes + layers
HOW TO DETERMINE AUTHENTICITY
One of the most intimidating parts of antiquing is knowing whether to trust your vendor. Here are a few pro-tips that will help you navigate the shops:
Antiques Aren’t Perfect: Keep in mind that antique and vintage pieces aren’t perfect. So, when it comes to analyzing a piece, you want to keep in mind that it should have some wear + tear. For instance, most antique rugs were dyed with insect dye or vegetable dyes, which fade in the sun, so there is typically some discoloration if it’s authentic.
Look out for Old + New: Be wary of of vendors that sell a mix of old and new items. This typically means that this particular vendor is more focused on their shop’s cohesive aesthetic, versus specializing in finding authentic antiques.
Research Your Vendors Before You Go: Each shop has its own reputation and style. Find vendors that are reputable, keep an open mind, and remember: if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
TOP 6 MUST SEE SPOTS
With over 60 actual venues (and thousands of vendors) set up each season, it can be very difficult to fit everything in a weekend, let alone a day-trip. So, I did my best to condense those into a list of my favorite hot spots around town — from antiques to refreshments.
- Ex-Cess Field, in Warrenton, is the most widely beloved among all of my past tour groups. It has quite a range of styles and vendors within Ex-Cess 1 and Ex-Cess 2, but the common themes are: over-sized and industrial.
- Marburger is the most famous, highly curated, and expensive venue at the antiques show. In fact, to many, Marburger and Round Top are synonymous. Marburger is a flea market at its most stylish with air-conditioned tents, a coffee bar, and high-end vendors from around the world.
- Blue Hills has a couple of my favorite vendors, including beautiful rugs and vintage prints.
- Townsend Provisions is a local shop owned by two Austinites, and it’s open year round. They have the best vintage boot selection at Round Top.
- Prost wine bar is the perfect way to end the day. It’s such a peaceful and lovely end to a hectic day of walking and shopping.
- Festival Hill is my favorite Round Top “secret.” It’s an ornate opera house tucked away right in the middle of town. Don’t miss a walk around the little white chapel as well. You won’t be disappointed by the magical gardens behind it!
SO, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!
Antiques Week only happens twice a year, two weeks in the spring (March/April) and two weeks in the fall (September/October). If you’re interested in an all-inclusive private guided day-trip, I just released dates + reservations for my Round Top Tours this September! This option allows you (and up to 3 guests) to navigate Antiques Week with ease with the help of me as your guide. I’ll handle all the logistics, planning, and meals so that you can focus on the thrill of the hunt. Contact me for more information on availability.