Holy crap you guys, I needed to get away. Taxes, kids who don’t listen, an unexpected fit of spring cleaning and just life in general was too much so a little weekend getaway with my childhood friend Holly was just the thing I needed. We both needed. Everyone needs.
Holly’s very wonderfully accommodating friends Mary and Mike live in Arlington, TX and their mid-century retreat backs up to a wooded area making their back porch and pool a getaway unto itself. But when I discovered that Waco, TX – home of Fixer Upper icon Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market at the Silos – was a short drive away I was pretty excited. And even more excited when everyone was cool with a trip there, yes, even Holly who had somehow never heard of Joanna or Fixer Upper. Yes, such people do exist.
Since it was spring break for area schools we got up bright and early to avoid the crowds and show up right when the Market opened at 9 am. We picked up a breakfast of kolaches (a Czech sweet yeast bun wrapped around a sausage – oddly enough there’s a large Czech population in Texas) plus a couple of little cinnamon donuts from the Wonderful Donut shop and we were on our way. We just missed our 9 am arrival time, so I’m not sure at what time we would have had to have been there to be the first ones in line.
When entering Waco we were greeted by McLane Stadium, Baylor University's stadium. The university itself is really, really nice and BIG. Chip and Joanna speak about it often on the show and I can see why. It pretty much is the cornerstone of the town.
Boasting a population of about 130,000, Waco is a fairly large city and the Silos are just off of the interstate and near the downtown area. Kind of like the Equity is in proximity to downtown Effingham. In my mind the Silos were located at the edge of town but it’s actually surrounded by the downtown area and older somewhat dilapidated neighborhoods, so not at all what I thought. There is ample free parking on the street and we had just a short walk to the Silos. Luckily it was a perfect day for being outside.
What to Do At the Silos
The Silos consist of the Magnolia Market store, the Silos Baking Company, Magnolia Seed & Supply shop and garden, a large lawn/play area, stage, food trucks with seating and a big ole covered patio where the line forms. Like I said, we were there at about 9:30 am on a Saturday but we still waited about 45 minutes to get into the Market, which went somewhat quickly. There was excellent people-watching to be had what with the families playing in the yard and just pretty people in general. Holly even commented on how many beautiful people were there. I was thinking the same thing, not your average crowd of mediocre-looking folk. Oh, and there was live music. Great touch.
On the weekend we were visiting, the Silos hosted an outdoor market consisting of small shops from around the country. They were all set up in small white tents in rows on the perimeter of the property. This was my favorite part. So many cool things to look at and more to do while there. Holly said all of it combined looked like Fresh Digs. That was a nice compliment. I found quite a few businesses willing to wholesale to us, so be on the lookout for new products found at the Silos. And now our new goal is to somehow get Fresh Digs into one of those tents. Why not?! : )
Oddly enough there isn’t actually anything inside the silos. According to the website they’re still trying to figure out what to do with them. For now, they’re serving as a fantastic landmark and backdrop.
Onto the main event - Magnolia Market! This is the store where you can find all of the lovely things Joanna uses in her show, Fixer Upper. Only so many people are allowed in at a time but the place was still really full. We meandered around taking it all in. I tried my best to see everything and snap some pics. Long story short, I did my best considering the quick flow of traffic, sheer number of people inside and an iPhone that kept telling me my storage was full so I had to constantly try to delete pictures in order to take more. Photographically speaking, it was a sh*tshow. Oddly enough, I don't want to use many of the indoor pics. I don't want to ruin it for you.
We entered on an upper level that contained botanicals, home décor, leather purses and jewelry and kitchen items. On the lower level is Chip’s Corner with tools and man stuff, paint, signs, a kids’ section, t shirts and more home décor. Check out stations are available on both floors.
Vases, clocks, letters, signs, Joanna’s magazine, candles, etc. – it was all there. It was cool to see that we carry at Fresh Digs a number of the same product lines as she does. The kids’ items were totally adorable, the botanicals included cotton, anemones, roses, tulips and other spring-like florals. What I didn’t see, however, were any of her awesome vintage finds she integrates into her designs. Perhaps when Salina and I make it there with our tent we can bring some. : )
Although I didn’t get a gander of Joanna or Chip, Jimmy Don the steel sign maker from the show was in the shop taking pics with people.
Planning on going? Here’s my two cents.
· Plan to hang out in Waco for at least a day. We were at the Silos for about four hours but what with driving around and checking out the other shops in the downtown area, we could have easily entertained ourselves for much longer. There’s even a Dr. Pepper museum nearby.
· Only after we’d gotten back did I realize that we could have probably taken turns checking out the Bakery or Seed Store while one from our party held our place in line. By the time I waited in line for the Market and then again for the food truck, I was lined out, so I didn’t see those places.
· Going during the week and either right when they open or before close are probably your best bets for avoiding crowds. But we were there at peak crowd time on a Saturday and although it was packed, it wasn’t completely ridiculous.
· If you’re not afraid of a really early morning, take note that the Bakery opens earlier than the shop so maybe check it out first.
· Being a family-friendly place, if you decide to work this stop into your family vacation there is quite a bit for the men and children to do at the Silos. The garden and the lawn are great entertainment options for them. TONS of kids and parents were throwing footballs (provided), swinging and playing around when we were there. Plus there are super cool black and white striped bean bag chairs to lounge in.
Long story short, I love how Chip and Joanna have created a family-friendly outing all around the goal of inspiring people to make their homes beautiful. And oh, what it must be doing for the coffers of the city of Waco, TX and the local businesses. Add this place to your list if you’re a fan of Chip and Joanna and Fixer Upper, even if you’re not, it’s still a unique experience that gives you an excuse to check out a different part of America.
If you’ve been, feel free to share your thoughts on the Silos and Waco.
For the next post I'm thinking that I'll have to pick science teacher Holly's brain to help share with everyone why our roller perfumes end up half empty after a plane ride. Ah!