My husband and I recently took a wonderful trip to Texas. We stayed in Austin so were conveniently located between Waco and San Antonio. I have been a fan of the very popular Fixer Upper show since its inception. Sadly, the show has come to an end. What a coincidence that we visited the Waco area the same week that the last episode was aired. We didn’t plan it that way. We just wanted to visit Texas before the weather got too hot.
On day one we made our trek to Waco. Driving downtown, it is easy to spot the silos in the distance. The town is not very big, so it is easy to maneuver your way around until you reach the Magnolia Market complex. We parked several blocks away to avoid paying a parking fee in lots adjacent to the complex. As we approached the buildings, we could see a long line of people already wrapping their way around the outside of the bakery. It was still early, not even 11 am on a Thursday morning. We decided to walk around first, then plan our course of action.
The store looked crowded but I knew it was a must see on our visit. The garden in the back of the complex beckoned so I decided to check it out first. There were raised beds configured in quadrants inside a fenced garden outside the Seed and Supply store. Roses, tulips and snapdragons were some of the flowers planted in groupings throughout the garden. Herbs were intermingled amongst the flowers. On one side was a lovely white flower garden.
The garden store was surprisingly not crowded. I found bins of t-shirts. I spied some with gardening sayings printed on them. I purchased a “Plant Lady” shirt. I chuckled to myself that they left off the “Crazy” part as most of us plant lovers are a little bit eccentric. Pots and interesting galvanized planters were displayed throughout the store. I also found an array of wonderfully herbal scented candles. I knew I had to find items that I could easily pack in my luggage so had to limit my purchases to small things or things that would not get broken if they were crunched.
It was still too early for lunch so we decided not to get any food from the marvelous array of food trucks. I had spied the Magnolia Table restaurant off the interstate so had hopes that we could later go there. We passed by the checkerboard patterned “greens.” Black and white striped bean bag chairs provided seating. It was delightful to see children playing and families together having fun lounging or eating at tables.
We went into the crowded market store and soon realized there was a checkout line growing by the minute. My smart husband decided to stand in line while I tried to navigate the crowd. I found a few souvenirs and treasures then took them back and forth to him until he couldn’t hold anymore. I did my best to take in the scenery and inventory of Joanna Gaines’ famous farmhouse style. Her store had some wonderful, unique displays which inspired the decorator in me. Among the displays that I most admired included shelving along one wall made from crates which housed moss-covered clay pots. She used clay pots in another area as ornaments hanging from the ceiling in varying lengths. There were wonderful collections of wooden candlesticks, as well as galvanized containers and pottery vessels for decorative or utilitarian use in the home. Meaningful scriptures or quotes were printed on metal signs and frameless works of art for wall display. Chip had his own “man” corner with hats, t-shirts and male-friendly accessories. I liked the shirts that read “Demo-day” and “Shiplap” but sadly have no one in the family who does renovation work that would appreciate them. I grabbed a couple Christmas decorations, t-towels and salt and pepper sets with the Magnolia emblem before heading for the check out. A kind lady took our picture together in front of the store then with bags in tow and smiling faces, we left the complex to explore more of Waco.
There are interesting places to visit in Waco near the Magnolia Market complex. There is the Spice Village in an old restored warehouse. It is another shoppers paradise with vendors of all different types of merchandise. There are good restaurants throughout town. We found one called The Olive Branch. It was the perfect spot for lunch as I found some delicious tomato bisque soup with a salad. My husband is typically happy anywhere that he can find a burger. Sadly, we never made it to the Magnolia Table. I heard that they do not presently take reservations and the wait to get in is several hours.
We scouted around downtown for some antique stores. I checked out a few then asked some local merchants where to find the hidden gems in the area connected to the Magnolia empire. On the way, we got lost. My husband turned around in a driveway only to find that “behold,” it was one of the homes that had been renovated on the show. It was the brick French Provincial house that was painted, had a tennis court and had an English style garden designed and created with boxwood shrubs and a fountain. We could not see much of the house as there was a long, private driveway but I immediately identified the tennis court and took a photo before we quickly left the premises.
Other photos I took were of Harp Design Co. and the adjoining house where expert furniture maker “Clint”and his wife lived after it had been renovated for them. Their house is now a bed and breakfast. We also found and visited the original Magnolia store which is now a wholesale sale for discounted items. There was a tour bus escorting people around to these different sites but we decided to take our own personal tour.
We left Waco a different way than the way we came. We went near Crawford, where the Gaines family owns a farmhouse. I am told that they do not live there anymore to avoid being bombarded by tourists. The Bushes also have a ranch nearby. We did not explore that area but guess that their current residence is well-protected and concealed from prying eyes.