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Round Top Travel Guide: Country Roads, Take Me Home!

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Round Top Travel Guide: Country Roads, Take Me Home!

It’s high time we shared our Round Top favorites, gathered over several years of exhibiting at the triannual antiques show. Round Top is a quiet little Texas hill country town situated between Austin and Houston, and we love it so much we decided to put down roots. We’re thrilled to settle permanently in the heart of town and welcome area residents and travelers throughout the year with a big dose of southern hospitality…and maybe a margarita or two!

Here’s the thing about Round Top: it’s refreshing slow pace, cultural vibrancy, and breathtaking beauty make it a slice of Texas worthy of a visit any month of the year. Whether you’re headed to the fields for the seasonal Antiques Week or considering a visit another time of year, we’ve pulled together basic information and recommendations for dining, shopping, and accommodations. Have any questions? Just holler—we’d love to hear from you!

xxCB

 

ANTIQUES WEEK: WHAT TO KNOW

The Round Top Antiques Show has been a Texas institution since 1968! Each year, two main multi-week shows take place: the Spring Show in March and the Fall Show in October. Consider these dates prime visiting season—thousands of vendors come in from all over the world to showcase furnishings, linens, art, clothing, gifts, and more in mostly open-air tents. A scaled-down Winter Show takes place every January. If you’re a first-timer, this guide is the place to start!

 

YEAR-ROUND FAVORITES:

EAT AND DRINK

Duo by Gino & Nate — Treat yourself to Nate's famous Dirty Martini as you peruse the ever-rotating menu that is determined day of based on what is seasonally available and what inspires the chefs. Sunday Brunch is a must!

The Little Cheese Shop — I could make a meal out of their hickory smoked salmon and a board of olives and cheese. They have everything you need for an impromptu picnic with the kids or relaxed date night with your better half.

Lulu’s — I’m obsessed with the grilled Caesar salad. After a 12-hour workday, the spaghetti and (massive) meatball is my soul’s salve. Other times, I opt for a fish dish.

The Garden Co. — Order the Brussels sprouts. This is a great spot for a lazy lunch to punctuate a long day of shopping.

Royers — I’d bet good money that Royers graces every Round Top guide out there, on account of their glorious pies. But here’s an under-the-radar pro tip: The fried chicken lunch special—served only on Sunday—is flaky, juicy, and might make you cry tears of joy.  

Round Top Mercantile — The deli sandwiches at this throwback general store are divine! Order at the counter but don’t stray from the sourdough bread. I like my turkey loaded with jalapeños, avocado, lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard, very little mayo, and a side of iced tea. It never disappoints! While you’re there, grab tools, ice, sundries, and more.

Round Top Smoke House — This is Lee Ellis’ latest concept, a collaboration with Cat Hunyh of Les Ba’get in Houston, and it’s the best BBQ in town. Order the Char Siu Chinese BBQ Spare Ribs and then double your order to-go—your family back home will thank you. Extra points if you're lucky enough to dine here on burger night!

Country Sunshine at Prost — During Antiques Week, this wildly popular Brenham-based burger outfit serves up delectable wood-fired pizzas and artisanal salads that rotate regularly. Pair with a glass of wine and sit around the fire at Prost.

Lollitop Sweetshop — I never miss stopping here for a homemade confection to bring to my boys (favorites thus far: Cap’n Krembo and French fry-shaped shortbread cookies) and an Asparagus Root Veg Galette for an easy dinner after a long day. 

Casa Blanke — My mornings always start at this healthy, plant forward restaurant. A superfood smoothie and avocado toastie make for a winning breakfast combo, and their light grab-and-go lunch options carry me through the day.

The Stone Cellar — Originally a train depot in the 1860s and now Round Top's favorite honkey-tonk. Simple, traditional Texas fare to be enjoyed inside, on the expansive porch, or outdoors amongst the shade trees and fire pits. 

Round Top Brewing — a nano-brewery and taproom serving an incredible chef-driven menu that changes daily. I *may* have visited three days in a row for their French mushroom soup and crawfish crostini. The pulled pork sandwich isn't messin' around either!

Ellis Motel — This quirky gem in the middle of town is my nightly unwind of choice, offering a laid-back aesthetic ideal for hugging dealer friends and lingering over gin cocktails. Lee is a character and I look forward to moments of quick conversation with him!

Il Cuculo at Hotel Lulu — The best place to unwind, end the night, and soak up the most beautiful eye candy! The quaint interiors have been hand-painted from floor to ceiling by one of my favorite artists, Andrea Condara. Sammy, the happiest and kindest bartender you'll ever meet, is as charming as he is a darn good martini maker.

 

SHOP

Townsend Provisions — This 1920s two story farmhouse is filled with the best collection of clothing, one-off finds, and vintage cowboy boots in town. Neither myself or my children have ever left empty handed—making this shop a family-affair.

Richard Schmidt — Years ago I worked with Richard to customize a diamond and silver bracelet, and it’s never left my wrist since. He’s Round Top royalty.

Round Top Village — Our Round Top home, a chic collection of eclectic specialty shops. We have amazing neighbors, including Richard Schmidt (see above), The StoreCottonseed Trading Company, and Bella’s Candles. Pull up and park, browse around, stop in and sit a spell…we’d love to see you!

Humble Donkey — Henkle Square's anchor owned by a dynamic artist-collector/husband-wife duo. I always, always return home with a favorite find from their shop.

Round Top Antiques & Design Center — A blend of dealers and offerings, this year-round shopping destination boasts big style in a tiny town. Say "Hi" to Katy; promise you'll be greeted by the friendliest smile in town! 

Melissa Ellis Fine Art — Round Top's newest art gallery teeming with a whole lotta eye candy from local talent. Don't miss Meredith Hadaway's vintage textile covered taxidermy.

modernMARLA —Owned by a sixth-generation Texan beauty, this luxury consignment shop offers beautiful-condition vintage womenswear, handbags, and shoes from the likes of Chanel, Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton — many new with tags!

Curate by Stash — My dear friend Cheryl and her crew are incredible artists and leather is their medium of choice. Their attention to detail, quality, and craftsmanship is top-notch.

Round Top Ranch Antiques — A family-run outfit with nearly 40 years specializing in European antiques furniture. You’ll find a vast mix of aesthetics and superb quality. With three warehouse-sized buildings, this is a must-visit! (And be sure to give the sweet shop dogs a scratch behind the ears.)

Haus Alkire — Owners Julie and Jason Alkire have expanded their architectural womenswear business beyond NYC to Round Top. Pieces are handcrafted from Italian four-ply crepe silks, double-faced organic cottons from Japan, and waterproof cashmeres.

Cisco Village — California-based upholstery and furniture guru that now has a year-round outpost in Texas! 

 

STAY

Hotel Lulu – Cinda and Armando Palacios’ latest and greatest boutique hotel venture: 14 en-suite guest rooms in six restored bungalows that pack plenty of charm! Come dusk, be sure to pop into Il Cuculo, the intimate cocktail bar, for a gin martini and allow the night to unfold. 

The Frenchie — Situated walking distance from downtown with views of sprawling fields, this chic boutique hotel has the most cheerful interiors with a hot tub and pool to boot! 

Red Antler Bungalows — Newly built luxury farmhouses (with screened-in porches and a communal pool) for the design-savvy crowd who appreciate a well-appointed space with every thoughtful detail accounted for.

Hotel Bebe — Owner/designer Abbie Byrom-Botello set out to create a country version of NYC's Ludlow Hotel combined with Charleston's Hotel Emeline, and she did just that. Set on 2 acres (conveniently across from Marburger!), this boutique hotel has four standalone bungalows that sleep up to eight people.

The Vintage Round Top  — It’s hard to beat this four-cottage, pastoral property located walking distance to fall and spring show shopping. Pristine and modern interiors make for a luxurious and serene stay, but the kind, conversant owners may be the best part of this rental experience.

Oakbones — Designed to be summer camp in style with a common mess hall, an outdoor lounge and a shared pool, this 12-acre cabin retreat and commune provides 7 different accommodations to sleep 26+.The stylish digs are all designed and furnished by Cisco Home.

Wander Inn — If a view of longhorns grazing in a field and hot biscuits at your door each morning is your thing (and if it's not, we can't be friends), book a room statCreated by Junk Gypsy sisters Amie and Jolie Sikes, this comforting and design-savvy hotel is not about luxury, but rather the land, the road, the experience, and the simple things—this is the country, after all.

FlopHouze — An eclectic assortment of recycled shipping containers reimagined into smartly designed rentals with a pool overlooking a cow pasture. We’ve heard rave reviews!

Round Top Inn — A collection of vintage cottages and farmhouses in the heart of town. A wine bar is located on site and your stay comes with a hot breakfast: win-win!

Farmstead at Round Top — Built in 1833, this newly renovated seven-room boutique hotel is walking distance to anything and everything. Its thoughtfully decorated guest rooms strike the elusive balance between farmhouse authenticity and an unfussy, contemporary vibe.

Juxtaposition Farmhouse — The brains behind one of my favorite California-based shops opened a collection of Round Top cottage rentals. The property is a homerun with pared back, authentic spaces that allow the surrounding landscape — and communal fire pit— to be the shining star.

Festival Hill — This international musical institute opens its student residences and faculty housing to the general public during spring and fall shows. Unfussy with no frills, but this location can't be beat.

The Franklin — This cozy 1904 Victorian Airbnb is located just down the road in La Grange. Though Round Top is the main attraction in this part of the countryside, Fayette County is home to the painted churches, state parks, and many small town diners, restaurants, and shops worth exploring.

HOSTÎE — Consider this mother and daughter duo your personal booking agents to the best rental homes and guest houses in Round Top, La Grange & Brenham. Their impressive portfolio of properties include The Poppy, Kobza Haus, and Sky Lake Farm.