Ask any antiques aficionado where to find the best hidden treasures, and you’re likely to hear the name Round Top. Situated between Austin and Houston in a quiet little Texas Hill Country town, the biannual Round Top Antiques Show has been a Texas institution since 1968. In recent years, the show has soared in popularity. Stylemaker Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s popular “Fixer Upper” is a regular, while countless designers regard it as a constant source of inspiration, thanks to over 6,000 antiques dealers hawking everything from vintage art deco sconces to rare European vases.
“Round Top is about three weeks long and is the largest antiques fair of its kind in the United States,” local Andrea Schutter-Riebeling tells us. “We have wine walks, super parades and cook-offs. Many people from Houston and Austin flock to this area for the weekend, because they can come and go and get home in a timely manner. Many residents live here and commute into Houston, because it’s such a pretty drive to make every day.”
Schutter-Riebeling is a newly minted Coldwell Banker Global Luxury specialist based out of Coldwell Banker Properties Unlimited in Brenham, Texas, where the famous Blue Bell Creamery is headquartered. “I sell farm and luxury ranches and cottages, but I work in several counties, as we have many small towns in and around Round Top,” she says.
Schutter-Riebeling’s family roots in the area can be traced back to 1960, when they purchased 50 acres of land that was eventually handed down to the children. She has attended Round Top for the last six years and has witnessed the entire surrounding area mature as a result of the national attention. “The folks behind the ‘Barnwood Builders’ show on the Discovery Channel have opened a Round Top location and are here to stay in our area,” says Schutter-Riebeling. “We have new hospitality offerings — like the Ellis Motel in Round Top from restaurateur Lee Ellis and the Grand Fayette Hotel, a new boutique concept in Fayetteville. More restaurants, a wine shop, a new music venue and finally some condos have began to pop up, too.”
While the spring 2019 Round Top Antiques Show just wrapped up, you have plenty of time to start planning your fall trip. The next Round Top event kicks off Sept. 19 and ends Sunday, Oct. 6. With Schutter-Riebeling and a number of designers and vendors as our tour guides, we decided to round up some of the latest and greatest hotspots to hit up during the show. It’s best to start planning now!
Shop: Don’t miss Paul Michaels, Magnolia Pearl, Old Glory, Marburger and Blue Hills, says Schutter-Riebeling. Darwa Webb of Magnolia Pearl adds The Porch, Richard Schmidt, Bill Moore and Junk Gypsy to the must-shop list. Brenda Kilgore from Kilgore’s Modern Country prefers to walk the fields early, hunting for her treasures — “all of the fields,” she says of her democratic approach to antiquing.
Among her favorite finds over the years was a grungy ironstone pitcher from Marburger and a huge grinding stone that still sits in her garden to this day. “When you find a vendor you like, follow them on social media so you can keep track of them, because vendors move around,” she advises. “Also, visit them several times a week, as they are always bringing more stuff out.” Webb’s advice? “Bring a truck and pocket full of green!”
Stay: The Round Top area is teeming with the sweetest down-home B&Bs and Airbnb offerings. Located about 15 minutes from Round Top, the Grand Fayette Hotel overlooks the town square in historic Fayetteville. The former Country Place Hotel was purchased by Mary Quiros and Joan Herring in 2017, and reimagined the interiors of the iconic hotel. Eight second-floor guest rooms and two first-floor garden rooms all feature private bathrooms and original art by Texas artists like William Anzalone, Charles Schorre and Clovis Heimsath, among others.
Rancho Pillow is another cool spot, just two miles from the fields of Warrenton. But if you want something really unique, try the Flophouze Hotel, a collection of converted shipping containers from owner Matt White and his crew from Recycling the Past. Each Flophouze comes with a hammock and fire pit, and is and comfy for enjoying the famous Round Top sunsets, plus complimentary coffee and tea, Topochico sparkling water and Mexican Cokes.
Royers is a classic haunt, best known for its Shoog’s Hot Cluckin Sandwich, the Todd’s Pork Tenderloin, and its famous pie. Save room for the Texas Trash, a gooey, melty chocolate, caramel, coconut and pretzel mess of a must-try.
Live: While you’re on the hunt for your next great find, you may also want to set aside some time for real estate hunting, too. With luxury pricing starting in the affordable $700,000s, many of the ranch homes in and around Round Top are a relative bargain. There’s this resort-like oasis on over an acre in Rolling Ridge Estates in nearby Brenham, completed in 2013 by Mill Creek Homes for only $785,000.
If it’s land you seek, then look no farther than this sprawling ranch property set on 102 acres. For $1,590,000, the property has all the fixings of a quiet country lifestyle: distant views, rolling lush meadows, beautiful live oak trees, a creek on its east border and privacy as far as the eye can see.