May 19, 2011

Reason #3 I will keep travelin’ to Round Top, Texas

Prior to this spring, I could think of only two reasons to travel to Round Top, Texas, population 77.

1. Texas Antiques Week every SpringWarrenton and Fall. (discovered several years ago when a friend insisted I would enjoy walking in dusty fields layered with tents full of funky, vintage junk.) She was right.
2.  Bud Royer’s Homemade Pecan Pie. Pipin hot, topped with huge scoops of Amy’s Ice Cream.Royer's PecanPie (discovered last year on a trip to see Theresa Cano at the Big Red Barn Antiques Show. I’d heard all the fuss about his pie, so I tried it for myself.) Hands down the best pecan pie I’ve ever devoured.

3. Now for #3. . . Festival Hill. Here’s how and what I discovered.

Sometimes you just feel like jumpin’ over the fence and going for an adventure. That’s what happened this spring in Round Top.roundtop-adventure1
We were attending a wedding in Round Top that weekend and
had some free time. So we wandered around to see what we could find. There were no tents to browse or booths to ponder. Just an unseasonably cold, windy, and quiet day to enjoy in Round Top.festival-hill-chapel
We drove a couple miles out of town to an area called Festival Hill. Wow. If you’ve not wandered out there, you owe it to yourself on your next trip. And bring your camera.

We found ourselves in a virtual wonderland that seemed unaffected by time and busyness. It was simply magical.


The north wind was howling, but the archways and stone paths kept us amused and distracted from the cold. The girls kept climbing and hiking and peeking in secret places. They found this beautiful hand-made checker board sitting on a marble slab, begging for someone to pick up the pieces. 

Everywhere we turned we were met with something unusual and unexpected. Things looked old, then older. Worn, but then there were hints of new life. Planters filled with prepared soil, waiting for spring flowers to emerge.

It was wonderfully magical – especially because we we were the only people on the grounds that day. Except for these guys who hang out there all the time.roundtop-3
Festival Concert Hall     Edythe Bates Old Chapel
Round Top's Festival Hill is home to Festival Concert Hall. This place is a masterpiece.  I read that every bit of the work at Festival Hill has been done without incurring debt. Their desire was " create for the public a lasting monument to music and the arts free of the burden of financial obligation.” (source). 

I was fascinated to read about the Round Top Festival Institute.
It is a 210 acre campus which houses major performance facilities, historic houses, extensive gardens, parks and nature preserves.Young musicians come for intensive summer music education and a comprehensive series of public performances. The Institute presents educational forums and music events featuring distinguished musicians, art historians,writers and poets.

The Edythe Bates Old Chapel we were climbing around was originally build in La Grange in 1883. All buildings relocated here have been restored and have exquisite interiors. Everything was closed the day we nosed around, but we peeked into every window and could see magnificent interiors, even in the dark!

Who would have known this little pocket of beauty, art, and music was quietly tucked away in little old Round Top, Texas? I surely did not.

What has enticed you to Round Top, Texas? The antique/vintage shopping, Bud's Pies, Festival Hall . . .? I'd love to know if I'm missing something else wonderful!