We had a great time.
On the first day it was just Lana and myself on the road. She had never been on the Round Top Antiques junket and had no idea what she was in for. The Round Top Antiques Fair must be experienced to be believed. From the original fair that took place in four venues in and around Round Top, it has grown and grown until it is hard to find a vacant place on the side of the road between Carmine on the north and Warrenton on the south. Pasture after pasture is filled to capacity with tents holding vendors from all over the United States. Several permanent barnlike structures are spotted along the road and hold another vast number of vendors who rent booth spaces. Some of the neighboring towns developed their own antiques shows in the dance halls and VFW halls of their communities.
And it happens twice a year.
My favorite time to go is in April, when the bluebonnets have just begun to hit their stride. If the weather is perfect, as it was the two days we attended this year, it doesn't get any better. (However, I have gone to the fair in driving rain and near-hurricane force winds and the crowds are just as big.) In the beginning the fair started on Wednesday and ran through Saturday. Nowadays some of the vendors are in place and selling as much as a week before. We old-timers know to go early on, because by Friday and Saturday the traffic is so horrendous and the crowds so thick that a platoon of police officers is necessary to direct traffic for pretty much the entire 10-15 mile stretch.
I didn't have anything in particular to look for this year, which is always a bad sign. Those are the years that I find something special. One year it was my oak desk. (In fact, I have purchased 3 oak desks over the years.) One year it was a pair of nightstands. One year it was a darling little footstool. One year it was a sewing stand.
Since I couldn't think of anything in the furniture line I needed, I suggested we go in Big Red the first day. I didn't know that before the day was out we would have the answer to the question, "can a full-sized piece of furniture be transported in a Prius?" The answer is "yes".
We spent five hours in the Cole's Antique Barn that first day. It was a good place to start. We were having a great time poking our way through the place and I had just about talked myself into the purchase of a beautiful little oak rocking chair when I glanced across the aisle and saw it winking at me.
For years I have been looking for an oak vanity that would fit in with my other oak bedroom furniture and had about given up hope that the right piece was out there to be found. But there it was and I fell in love on the spot.
You see, as soon as I saw it, I recognized it was a close cousin of the dresser I have lived with and loved for about 20 years.
I was pretty much convinced it was going home with me before I ever crossed the aisle to take a closer look. The owner knew I was hooked, but he still quoted me a discount that cinched the deal. It wasn't until I had committed to buy the sweet little piece that I found out I was also getting a nice oak chair to go with it.
Thanks to the fact that we were able to remove the mirror and that I could fold down the back seat, it turned out that it could all be fitted into the Prius with about an inch to spare. I am delighted to add the little vanity to the family.
Unfortunately the vanity was not the only thing I found that I just had to have.
For some months I have had my eye on a set of history books in the Round Rock Antique Mall and have managed to repeatedly talk myself out of spending the money. One of the last vendors we visited at Cole's had the same set for sale. And I do mean the same set. When I picked up the book to take a look at the price, I recognized a blemish that told me I was looking at the very same books that had been tempting me in Round Rock. The big difference was that I had never been face to face with the man who rents the space in the mall. He was manning the booth himself at Cole's and he recognized that he had a live one on his hands. We kidded back and forth and he agreed to make a substantial cut in the price he had been asking. I seized the opportunity and now I own the longed for books.
My last indulgence for the day was a set of Tootsie Toy dollhouse furniture. I was having a really good shopping day, while Lana was doing a lot of looking and finding very little to tempt her.
But, things change.