For six years, I’ve wanted to visit the antiques show in Round Top, Texas. I always envisioned that an oversized, tented pop-shop of stylish ephemera would be great inspiration, if a little bit intimidating to someone without brag-worthy bargaining skills. The truth is, the show lived up to all of my expectations—without being the least bit intimidating. It’s true that most of the dealers are there to sell their goods, so yes, they are sensitive to being peppered with questions by someone who isn’t all that serious about making an offer. But, as an amateur scout, I found that they were more than happy to let me wander their booths, snap photos of their finds, and, if it was slow, answer any number of questions I might have about the treasures inside.
Round Top is just one of several clustered towns where the bi-annual show is held, and each features its own display of dealers. There is one main drag that runs through each town, so it is difficult, impossible, really, to miss the action once you’re on Highway 237. Whether you’re coming up from Warrenton or down from Burton, there will be plenty of places to park and shop.
I started at Marburger, one of the better-known shows, and, I’m told, a big draw for industry people. Marburger was all inspiration. The prices were steeper than my lunch-toting, tinfoil-saving, urban-living budget was going to make room for, but there were items here that don’t exist anywhere else in the world. My first crush of the day was on this gilded mirror, an item now at the top of my shopping list.
A purveyor of notions with a beautiful booth display. Hard to tell if they were vintage or new production, but they were exquisite.
A child’s rocking horse from the turn of the century. The detail of the craftsmanship was still intact and visible, down to the glass eyes.
Marburger boasts all kinds of finds. These Louis Vuitton trunks were pricey, but in beautiful condition.
The coffee bug. I was relieved to find this little gem in Warrenton, my second stop of the day. I have yet to find a coffee bug in New York, but it is about the same size as the subway roaches I’ve seen.
My buying team at MYHABIT has suffered my love of antlers and animal skulls for about a year now. I come by it honestly however, since they were a decor staple in our house growing up.
This little mascot for twang & twig was also for sale. I watched a couple debating the merits of putting it in their driveway. I’m unclear of the outcome there, however, as the jalapeno poppers at the booth behind me came off the grill and my stomach had its own agenda.
My mission was completed when I came across this Venetian glass beauty. I paid a ridiculous amount of money for it, but it was worth the investment. I was told it was an antique from the early 1900s, acquired at an estate sale. I’d love to believe that is true. It is extremely well-crafted, and whether or not it is an antique, I have never seen anything quite like it. It gives me joy just to look at it. As a show novice, however, I was baffled as to how I would get it home. This, of course, didn’t cross my mind until after I’d agreed to the purchase. And so, my second best discovery of the day was the nearby Craters & Freighters. Tip: If your newly purchased find meets specifications, you can have them do the crating but skip the freighting, and then have UPS pick it up for one-fourth of the cost. (Check out UPS for specs on ground shipments.)
A long day of shopping called for one last treat before heading out of town: The Blue Bell Creamery. In 2001, Forbes named Blue Bell the best ice cream in the country, and true fans know that it still reigns supreme. In Texas, you can buy a pint for $1.97, but, in New York City, I’ve paid $5.00 for a scoop—on the rare occasion of finding it. It is a few minutes up the road from Round Top, but absolutely worth the trip. Couldn’t think of a better reward after a long hard day of play.