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Round Top, Texas: A small town brimming with country charm

Round Top Vintage Market Round Top Vintage Market features more than 50 dealers selling antiques, art, and collectibles Fridays through Sundays. Photo by Dennis Burnett

Fewer than 100 people call Round Top home. But this slice of the Prairies and Lakes region roughly halfway between Austin and Houston has an outsize reputation for antiques, art, music, and food. Antiques markets held 3 times a year (the fall edition runs October 24–29) attract big-time interior designers like Kelly Wearstler and Joanna Gaines. And year-round boutiques offer time-polished furniture, fine art, and a rodeo’s worth of vintage cowboy boots. The town is worth exploring in any season for shopping, country charm, and an increasingly diverse food scene.

Places to shop in Round Top

A clothing display at the entrance of Mallory et Cie

Mallory et Cie is a French-inspired showroom of jewelry designer Mallory Nicholson. Photo by Dennis Burnett

In addition to the mammoth Original Round Top Antiques Fair, dozens of retailers operate throughout the year, filling 19th-century barns, stone cottages, and industrial-chic contemporary spaces with clothing, vintage furniture, and gifts. Inside a snug cabin, Mallory et Cie owner Mallory Nicholson deals in bohemian-chic scarves, tunics stitched from African ponchos, and Parisian-style jewelry. You can even mix and match charms, chains, and other baubles to create your own necklace. Round Top’s cowgirl-cool looks—vintage boots, snap-front Western shirts, and wide-brimmed hats—can be found at Junk Gypsy a bit south of town. (Turn next to the rusty pickup/sign parked on the side of the road.)

A taxidermy animal mount at Round Top Vintage Market

Open year-round, the Round Top Vintage Market offers antique hunters everything from paintings to classic furniture to taxidermy mounts. Photo by Dennis Burnett

At McLaren’s Antiques & Interiors, the owner transforms reclaimed pine sourced from buildings in England into tables and kitchen islands. A rustic red barn north of town is home to the multi-dealer Round Top Vintage Market, where you’re as likely to turn up a 1950s Western shirt as a burled wood Victorian dresser.

Read more: In Central Texas, Bartlett goes from ghost town to artist enclave

Things to do in Round Top

Winedale Historical Complex

Tour 10 19th-century wooden structures and see period furnishings and Texas hand-crafted artifacts at Winedale Historical Complex. Photo by Dennis Burnett

English and German immigrants settled in Round Top during the 19th century, and you’ll spot the snug farmhouses, bungalows, and European-influenced Victorian storefronts they constructed around town. For a deeper dive into early-Texas architecture, the Winedale Historical Complex is an open-air museum on 225 acres that boasts 10 historical wooden structures that were relocated from around the Lone Star State. Log cabins, a 1-room schoolhouse, and other buildings house artifacts and crafts, including an impressive collection of quilts.

The wooden dance floor at Stone Cellar

Stone Cellar is a Texas-themed bar with craft beers on tap and live music every Friday and Saturday night. Photo by Dennis Burnett

Classical music fans make pilgrimages here for the Round Top Festival Institute. This school that doubles as a performance venue hosts dozens of concerts throughout the year, many inside the Festival Concert Hall, with its Old World–inspired carved-wood balconies, star-festooned ceiling medallions, and crisp acoustics. For live country and folk music on weekends, two-step into the Stone Cellar, where a rustic wooden dance floor and 25 beers on tap add to the down-home vibe.

Places to eat in Round Top

Patrons dining at Royers Cafe

Family-run Royers Cafe has been serving gourmet comfort food and pies in Round Top since 1987. Photo by Dennis Burnett

For pre- or post-antiquing, the long-running Royers Café offers pies and Southwestern bistro fare in a cheerful vintage storefront. Menu highlights include grilled quail, a grilled shrimp BLT, and Texas Trash Pie—a candy bar–like confection oozing with chocolate chips, coconut, and pretzels.

In the town’s central Henkel Square, the weekends-only Round Top Smokehouse serves pit-fired Texas brisket and ribs as well as killer mac-and-cheese. Chow down on the beef and sip on a brew at a picnic table outside, where you can gaze upon a much-larger-than-life statue of a roadrunner.

Fully stocked shelves of wine at Prost on Block 29

Prost on Block 29 is a well-stocked wine bar in a historic stone cottage. Photo by Dennis Burnett

Inside a storied, 19th-century stone house, Prost on Block 29 doles out wines from Texas and around the world, as well as cheese and charcuterie plates. Its small, fromage-forward snack menu—think pizzas with mozzarella and jalapeño or a Basque cheesecake—can also be enjoyed under the trees surrounding the restaurant.

Read more: Fun, fabulous San Antonio

Places to stay in Round Top

An entryway to the pool at Hotel Lulu

Cool off at the pool at Hotel Lulu, a boutique hotel with small-town charms and urban amenities. Photo by Pär Bengstsson

Six Texas-style bungalows make up contemporary newcomer Hotel Lulu. In the spacious suites, modern amenities like walk-in showers and upholstered headboards mingle with rustic elements like antique tables and handmade swings. An herb garden, a swimming pool, and a restaurant serving rustic Italian fare round out the hotel’s appeal. Rates start at $225.

Flophouze Shipping Container Hotel

Flophouze Shipping Container Hotel rooms are built from recycled shipping containers. Photo courtesy Flophouze Shipping Container Hotel

The groovy Flophouze Shipping Container Hotel takes advantage of Round Top’s starry nights and ample open spaces, spreading out 6 converted shipping containers and 3 other rental units across a grassy field with firepits, hammocks, and plenty of lounge chairs. The decor showcases repurposed artifacts and salvaged finds like reclaimed metal trunks and counters made from bowling alley floors, as well as industrial and mid-century modern furniture. Rates start at $175.

Be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol.

Texas-born Nellie Mauer is a travel writer based in Washington, D.C.

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