As if getting ready for the whirlwind of High Point Market in October wasn't enough - I decided that I had to hit Round Top too! This was all happening during my birthday month, so I took some time to drive over to meet some of my designer girlfriends and check out what was up in the fields of RT this year. During our friend Blair's wedding weekend, a couple of my BAWDy designer friends, Judi from Austin and Julia from Minneapolis, made a plan to rent a little cutie cabin. Since it was right before HPMKT and time was tight, I made plans to meet them there and hang for the day. In a fun plot twist, since it was like two days after my birthday, I threw caution to the wind and ended up shacking up on their sofa for a night. #yougottalivealittle,lifeisshort
Have a look at some of my favorite finds this year, plus some of my tips for making your next trip to Round Top less chaotic and more productive!
Tips and Tricks for Your Next Round Top Trip
Booking hotels in the Round Top area must be done well in advance. VRBO and Airbnb can be booked even a month out, so definitely explore those options if you don't get a hotel in time.
If you're local and driving in for Round Top, I like to drive to the end of the main RT road of stops, and work my way back home to Houston during my time there, so I'm not fighting against traffic every step of the way. If you're flying in, Austin and Houston are about equidistant from Round Top but because of the location of our two main airports here in Houston, it is technically a little less of a drive to fly into Austin. For me personally its about 90 minutes door to door to RT to give you a sense of timing. Depending on where you're flying in from, you may get better flight times or flight options in one airport over the other. Do your research!
Having cash always helps here. It may be hard to find an ATM machine anywhere remotely close, but they are getting better about credit card charging. You can bring checks as well, but have options for yourself.
Bring sunscreen and use it generously! It's all open fields with various vendors set up, so you're in the sun more than you think. Even in the fall you can catch a lot of sun.
Bring a phone car charger, and a portable battery pack you can have with you as you explore. A dead phone is useless for these trips!
I highly encourage you to put your phone in airplane mode while you're walking around too. Otherwise your data is going to deplete your battery in a hot second in the fields of RT. Cell reception has improved drastically but still, it's an issue so be forewarned.
Depending on the time of year, a jacket and rain boots are a must to bring along. Here's the deal about the weather in Texas, specifically around these parts, in case you didn't know. It's generally hot, hotter, or hotter than hell (I'm only halfway joking) but in the fall during the show, it can get chilly. Again, open fields, not a lot of tree cover...think hot, sunny, dusty. Oh and I should mention the rando surprise rain. So pack a small umbrella if you can. I've been caught in some major rainstorms, especially in the spring, which brings me to shoes.
If you can, I would highly advise bringing comfortable shoes that you don't mind getting dirty. I even keep a pair of rain boots in the car just in case. Round Top is virtually in the middle of farm and ranch country. Sure there are ladies who come in their pretty little heels and dressed up fancy but I hear them swearing at themselves by the end of the day, vowing to wear shorts/jeans and sneakers the next time. Personally I'm all about comfort when it comes to what to wear but bottom line: You do you.
Check the schedule for Round Top online. If you show up early in the week, just know not all vendors will be set up, and not all vendors are as nice as they could be.
If you go later in the week towards show end, vendors are more open to making deals, mostly because they don't want to pack up their goods and get it back home! You might miss out on the best things this way, though, so be aware!
If you go with friends, have a rundown in the morning of what you're all looking for. If you're looking on one side of an aisle, the thing you want may be right across the way, and you would totally miss it! Multiple eyes are always helpful in these situations.
You never know what you're going to find. I've seen an airplane for sale before - so come in with an open mind...and some knowledge that you might find something that will take a lot of logistics/shipping budget to get back home! Ask the show vendor and they'll more than likely be able to hook you up with at least one company that can ship anywhere. Remember, the bashful go hungry, so ask away.
If you have a plan for specific items you want for yourself or a client, bring measurements of the space and photos. The shop owner is usually a designer themselves and can talk you through an item and whether it can fit.
Bring your own tape measure! You don't have to, but it sure helps in busier shops when all of theirs are being used.
Always turn pieces over that are claiming to be antique. I have unfortunately seen stencil marks on supposedly 'antique' pieces, so just be aware as you shop. If you love something, so be it, but the 'antique' moniker can bump the price up unnecessarily, and it's worth asking the owner.
Blue Hills, The Halles, and M. Naeve are my go-to stops for rugs. I have to see what they have every year!
And of course, it's always more enjoyable when you have good friends to enjoy it with!
If you ever find yourself in Round Top, keep an eye open for me and be sure and say hello! Oh! and in case you missed this post about RT from last year, click on over to this post.