Today I’m updating one of my very first and very favorite crushes, the beloved Antique Show venue commonly referred to as “Arbor” or “Arbors” or “The Arbors” or “Arbor Field” or “The Pretty Field with the White Tents and Pandora, You Know The One”. The official name is really best though. It’s at the top of this post and rightly includes the words International and Interior Design.
I’ve taken so many photos at Arbor over the years. The ones I’ve posted here are not necessarily of current or even recent items available. I chose them because together I think they express Arbor’s unique vibe of softness|sophistication|luxuriousness|authenticity. Walking through the tents here never fails to calm me down – and not just because I often start my visit with a complimentary hand massage at Pandora’s sweet-smelling, air-conditioned space!
There’s a bit of everything here – it’s a big venue – but Arbor is where I’m sure to send people who’ve asked me where to find a few specific things: bedding, fine art, rugs, garden/outdoor and furniture for real life.
The people behind Arbor have also been real pioneers in the development of the experiential side of the Show. So if you’re smart enough to be in Round Top for shopping and the special events like live music and food trucks and jewelry pop-ups and after hours nights and celebrity shoppers and book signings, I’d send you here for all that too. Have fun y’all!
It’s showtime and on cue my The Crush List mailbox has been filling up with reader questions asking all kinds of things about how and where and when to shop. I’m sharing a few Q’s and their A’s below and throwing in an assortment of photos from my files for visual flair. If I’m lucky, a bunch of you will be inspired by this post to click CONTACT ME with questions of your own.
“My Question: Where can I find vintage fabric esp. chenille and flour sacks.”
Nice and to the point. Here’s my (just as nice I think but) definitely more meandering reply.
Hi! I think your best bet for fabrics is Warrenton.You can find sources all over, but I’d start there. Ask around for where the grain sack booth is. There are also few spots I can think of with huge tables piled with vintage linens/quilts/etc. One is at Vintage Laundry at Texas Rose field, one is at the back of Bar W Field and one is in the old Sterling McCall building in Warrenton, next to the Chicken Ranch. Also, LaBahia has a nice high end vintage fabric dealer inside. Hope those help! Good luck!
I appreciated all of the info you shared on your blog about coming to Round Top! So for a first timer, coming the week of March 21st-25th, would that be a good idea? I have had a hard time finding a place to stay the week of the 28th and thought if we came the week before it may be a better idea and less crowds. Do you think there will still be plenty set out for us to see the earlier week?
I have a real soft spot for the first timer. That’s my excuse for this overanswer. It came from my soft spot.
As you can see, you’ll have plenty to see. I’d do one day Mon or Tues at Blue Hills/Chelsea’s Meadow/McLaren/Texas Rose and then the other at Clutter/Excess/The Fields(meaning Bar W, North Gate/Tin Star). But feel free to write your own script :).
Pretty much everything will open up Wednesday. Heads up though, you may find some of the venues that say they’ll open Wednesday will have dealers up and selling before that (Arbors for example). You won’t be around for Marburger, but that’s OK. It’s like the biggest best antique mall you ever went to, and you can plan to see it next time.
Food-wise, be sure to hunt down the Texas Pizza Wagon, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a quiet time out. It’s just down 954 behind Excess a bit.
I’m doing marketing for Prost wine bar in downtown Round Top so I’ll say stop in there for sure, although I’d say it anyway because it’s truly very nice and a hub of the action. Los Patrones in downtown RT is a great spot to see Rachel Ashwell eating enchiladas or just to feel in the middle of things. The raspberry iced tea at Pie Haven in Henkel Square can be a lifesaver, as can a frozen lemonade from the various Warrenton fields. And if you pick up food to go, pull into the grounds of Festival Hill and have a picnic. It’s open to the public 24/7 and such a magical place.
I think I’m starting to sound like a crazy cat lady, so I’ll stop with the random tips! Hope you have a fantastic visit and I’m always thrilled to get updates on how your trip is going and questions as you go.
My Question: What is the best route from Houston? We are going March 24-27 and want to know the best shows since we are building a reclaimed wood and stone farmhouse with industrial elements to it. Is Marburger farms open at that time? Can you suggest where we look for some rather large pieces?
This reader included a photos of great pieces she already has, plus a couple of things she’s hoping to find. Here’s my answer, followed by the pics of what she’s looking for, in case you see them. Email me and I’ll email her.
Hi! Thanks for writing — I’ll do my best to answer your questions. First the easy one. The Marburger Farm venue doesn’t open until Tuesday, March 29. But no worries, there will be more than you ever dreamed of seeing open for business on the 24-27 dates.
I think most people take 290 from Houston and then turn south on 237. If you’re starting from the south or west ends of town you may prefer I-10 to 71 to 153. Someone from Houston mentioned just the other day how much time they saved using the Grand Parkway toll road, so if that seems useful it sounded like a smart route.
Where to shop for light industrial! I’d suggest you stop at Blue Hills, especially ReCoop Designs and Loblolly next to the BBQ deck for pulley lights. ExCess and ExcCess Two across the street will have amazing things – Ken Bizzell and Demir at Nomadic Trading are favorites, but it’s all good. Try The Compound venue, especially for Old World Antieks, Eneby, ReWorks and Pascal. The Arbor venue has some vendors you may like – a Restoration Hardware lookalike vendor, good rugs, good fine art. McLarens has soooo much inventory, so if you see the Red British Phone Booth pull in!
All of the above are great for quality and lots of selection. If you want bargains, North Gate and Bar W fields may have better prices. I think the vendors at the southernmost end of Warrenton in theTreeHouse Park area have good deals too.
You’ll no doubt discover your own favorites and others I’m forgetting. Please write again if I can help in any way. Enjoy — and let me know how it goes if you get a chance!
Hello, I just joined your blog I Love Roundtop the town and the surrounding area I visit as often as I can. Of course I am going to go to the Antiques market as I always do but I really want to try new places I am so glad I found your crush list. I would really appreciate a map or directions so that I may find them easier. Thanks so much.
I loved all the love for the blog, but this question stings a bit since it points out that my posts aren’t always that good at offering useful information. You know what I mean. I get sidetracked way out of the way and as I’ve confessed before, I sometimes even make things up.
Thanks so much for reading The Crush List!
I try to give a general sense of where my crushes are, and there is usually a link at the top of each post to their website/FB page, etc., but I will definitely take your suggestion and try to give better directions or mark them on a map somehow.
There are two publications putting out maps for every show. Round Top Register’s is more general and Show Daily’s is super comprehensive. The Show Daily will be available all over the RT area, especially at places like restaurants and major venues. There’s a link to the new Show Daily issue via online reader, and the maps are there, but I find the actual printed magazine much easier to use.
Like Dolly Parton or Helen Mirren, Round Top is dazzlingly well-preserved. But where did it all start? Where does the history of the hamlet begin?
Leave it to newcomer Townsend Provisions to inform us that before Round Top, TX was Round Top, TX it was Townsend, TX.
Yep, Townsend, as in Asa, Stephen, Spencer, John, J.T. William, Nathaniel and Samuel Townsend. An entire set of eight brothers born near the Great Pee Dee River in South Carolina, all of whom made their way to the rolling prairies of Central Texas. With so many fine upstanding Townsends in the area, I guess it just made good sense to go ahead and call the place Townsend.
So when/why/how did Townsend become Round Top? Well, a few years into Townsend’s township someone built the post office and gave it an “odd shaped tower.” The next thing you know the name was changed to Round Top. Seems like there’s bound to be more to the story than that (scandal, payoff, family feud, something…) but that’s the official version and so it’ll be The Crush List version too.
Take a look around Townsend Provisions, one of the latest and most definitely greatest shops in the wonderful place that once had an odd shaped post office tower that we now call Round Top.
Fun, right? Well, that’s just the front space. You’ll also want a peek at the vintage boot room. Especially if you don’t have a pair for antiques show shopping yet.
Quick clarification: For those of you who’ve hurt your ankle by stepping in a snake hole or miscalculating the distance between your bed and the floor or some other unfortunate incident, you may be familiar with a Townsend Boot. They don’t sell those here.
Round Top shoppers have to be careful. We see it all. Every single decor trend imaginable, past, present and future, over and over through the creative eyes and outrageous imaginations and merchandising skills of multiple dealers. It’ll warp you. And make you a little meh about what at the moment the rest of the world is quite thrilled by. Wasps nests? So three shows ago. Macrame? Really, you’re still there?
No one wants to be that guy.
So let’s cast aside our inner know-it-alls and celebrate with clear eyes and full hearts a bunch of the trends that popped up all over the show this fall by looking around the artful Marburger Farm booth of Two Vagabond Vintage. They’re a great example of the ‘next generation’ dealer, offering a perfectly perfect mix of goods in a fun, sophisticated space full of unexpected moments. I’ll call out a few trendy bits as we go, and you can hunt down a few more on your own.
First up, numbered items and repurposed industrial mirrors and wood discs and bedspring art and architectural pipe-type-things and tarnished silver and scales and feathers.
Next up? Funky old phones, well traveled luggage, cowry shell art, seed bags, cots, dress forms, floral frogs, rope, vintage 40’s florals and coconut husk thingies.
But before we go on, let’s take a moment to learn that Ford Motors’ Focus Electric car is made out of all kinds of recycled materials, and in fact, “Wheat straw, coconut husk, and other plant fiber-reinforced plastic are used for vehicle storage bins and interior door panels.” Who knew?
Cubbies, especially hand-labeled cubbies were so big this show. I could do a whole post with the photos I got from various booths. OK, maybe I will.
Ditto cotton stalks, which are apparently the latest in rustic country wedding bouquets. Nice! One of my classic favorites, chippy peely turquoise anything, is back in a big way (if it ever left), and one of my new favorites has got to be the well-worn dinged-up and doodle-etched school desk/work table.
Plaid!!! Sailboats. Not-your-everyday taxidermy. Burlap. Old books with good personality. And lots of fun ephemera. Which, as we knew it would cause that’s who we are, brings us right back around to cubbies and numbered things and feathers.
Randy gets around. And back around. And around again. New Jersey to Texas to California to Alabama to New Jersey and then up and down and around again from there. He’s a true backroads traveler and one of the most enjoyable Instagramsters I follow. During the Antique Show he somehow manages to come to a complete stop for a few weeks to set up shop at the Texas Rose Field. His funky little building is a curiosity cabinet of of carefully picked and plucked travel souvenirs that reflect his idiosyncratic take on the world. What a Wunderkammer!
Have you ever heard of a Flux Kit? Maybe you call it a Fluxus Box. Maybe? I got all worked up a few years ago when I stumbled upon the mazy details of the 1960’s NYC art world’s Fluxus Movement. As you might expect of a 1960’s NYC art movement, it encompassed life’s entire enchilada: art, music, film, architecture, culture, commerce, performance art, publishing, Yoko Ono, John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, clear plastic suitcases, and a ‘let’s switch our clothes during the ceremony’ wedding.
If The Jersey Picker’s slightly subversive, terrifically exuberant art-is-what-is assemblages tickle your fancy you might want to take a little Google Voyage yourself through the absolutely fascinating and inspirational Fluxus landscape. It’s a long and deep road that’ll take some time to travel and I know you may be kind of busy right now, so just so I don’t leave you hanging, distracted all day wondering what the heck a Flux Kit is, here’s just a snippet of the Wikipedia description:
The second flux-anthology, the Fluxkit (late 1964), collected together early 3D work made by the collective in a businessman’s case, an idea borrowed directly from Duchamp’s Boite en Valise. Within a year, plans for a new anthology, Fluxus 2, were in full swing to contain Flux films (with hand held projectors provided), disrupted matchboxes and postcards by Ben Vautier, plastic food by Claes Oldenburg, FluxMedicine by Shigeko Kubota, and artworks made of rocks, ink stamps, outdated travel tickets, undoable puzzles and a machine to facilitate humming.
Sometimes I travel the Round Top area for no purpose except to stumble upon something incredible. Kind of like the way I take a nap just to tap into my creative mind. Plus I like to drive around. And nap.
Aimless wandering is how I found the Old Feed Mill in Burton, TX, owned and managed as an antique shop, real estate office and filming location by the accomplished, highly informed and hospitable Roger Chambers.
The space stunned me (and my iPhone 6 camera) with its light, its volume, the preservation of its original purpose and its near perfect assortment of well-priced home-style antiques. Roger kindly explained all sorts of feed mill processes and engineering details as I poked around. I’m still savoring the image of a huge blower sending swirls of shucked oats streaming up a long ductwork pipe and outside into a vat of molasses.
No further words necessary. Enjoy the sweet feed of photos.
In this random list of my very favorite things about my very favorite place I’ve tried to capture the area’s special pieces and parts. Some are big deal, some are small gestures, some are legendary and some are just tiny pip and squeak.
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