After seeing the hype online and hearing good things from friends who've been before, I decided to make the 1.5 hour drive to Round Top, Texas for the biannual "Antiques Week".
If you haven't heard about it, picture this: 11 miles of tents and warehouses full of antiques. Furniture, silverware, paintings, signs, anything & everything in between.
I read a few blogs beforehand to get at least a vague idea of what I was getting myself into... and they all pretty much emphasized the same thing: prepare for traffic and crowds. (And they weren't lyin'!) Here a few of my main takeaways:
1. Go early. Not only for better antique-pickin'... but also because of the traffic. We're talkin' small town Texas here -- two lane highway, local officers in the intersection directing traffic, and THOUSANDS of people trying to turn into dirt parking lots. It gets busy real quick. Also, I went Tuesday, the day after opening day (Monday) and most of the furniture already had sold stickers on 'em! I was only there for a few small things & the experience... but if you're looking for something specific, it might be worth it to go that first day (but be prepared to pay more for admission & parking!)
2. Bring cash. Lots of it. And when you think you've brought enough. Bring $25 more. Between the parking and admission tickets (and of course, all the good finds), your cash will go quick. The last thing you'll want to do is have to hunt for an ATM machine. And just a heads up -- the restaurants raise their prices during 'Antiques Week'. I don't blame 'em -- and they are very up front about it (says it right on the menu)... but a burger will cost you at least $15. So be prepared.
3. Prepare to walk. Comfy shoes and socks are a must. Don't be thinkin' you'll be stompin' around the dirt in some cute dress and wedges. You need to be wearin' a good ball cap, tennis shoes & some athletic shorts. I parked the car twice and still ended up walking quite a few steps.
4. Watch out for the die-hards. Passing through one of the tents, I saw two ladies walking past some antlers on the ground. One of the ladies stumbled over the antler tip and without skipping a beat, her friend said "Be careful, Patty. We don't have time to go to the hospital." These people DO NOT mess around. They have their cash pouches, lists and wagons in tow. Watch out for the die-hards... but also observe their carefully-crafted madness. It's a weird mix of entertaining yet inspiring. I could have spent an hour just people-watching.
5. Lastly, go for the experience. I wasn't walking away with a U-haul full of new furniture or a Fixer-Upper house worth of farmhouse goodies... but I did come home with a wreath of Texas cotton & a sap bucket I plan to use as a vase. Little things that made me happy while also acting as mementos of my time in good ol' Round Top.