One of my best friends from college came to Austin for a visit last week. We managed to cram about 10 adventures into a 3-day weekend... and one of the highlights was a trip to Fall Creek Vineyards.
Fall Creek Vineyards is a winery in Driftwood, just outside of the Austin-metro. It's only about a 20 minute drive from the city but once out there, you feel like you're deep in the heart of Hill Country.
We went on a Tuesday so being somewhat of an off-day, there weren't a whole lot of people there (which was fine by us!)
The guy behind the tasting bar told us that the building used to be a house once owned by a doctor. The doctor wanted to move closer to the city... so she sold the house (more-like, mansion)... and the guys & gals of Fall Creek Vineyards opened a winery. (I mean, this is no regular house.... it's absolutely gorgeous, BIG, and sits on quite a bit of land with vineyards all over the front yard up to the highway.) But they left most of the backyard as is, converting the pool to a pond and adding in some extra patio furniture. Bottom-line: it's stunning
Lauren (college friend) & I both favor white wine over red so we decided to skip the tasting and go straight for a bottle of their chardonnay. It was VERY good.
Definitely worth a trip if you want to get the "Texas Hill Country Winery" feel but don't want to spend an hour in the car. I definitely have plans to go back. (And just a little FYI -- there seems to be an incredible BBQ joint across the street, 'Salt Lick BBQ'. Haven't tried it yet -- but once I do, standby for blog post.)
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.