I just returned from a two-night/three-day trip to Round Top, Texas, a small town of only 90 people, and a destination known for its twice-yearly antiques fair where more than 200,000 people descend on this tiny Texas enclave. I was in Round Top for another reason, though.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram for a while, then y’all know I have attended the very stylish Southern C Summit in Sea Island, Georgia a few times (2019, 2020 and 2022, to be exact!). The Southern C is both a networking/membership organization of (mostly) female entrepreneurs across all fields, but it’s also a conference that brings everyone together for in-person speaker/educational sessions, networking and mentorship opportunities. The Southern C’s tagline is “Connect, Collaborate and Create,” and it has absolutely allowed me to do all three of those things since I began attending the Summit in 2019.
Because The Southern C’s membership is growing rapidly in Texas, and also because some very cool female entrepreneurs with businesses in Round Top attended the Summit in Sea Island this past February (Katy Bader, who owns the adorable Frenchie Hotel) and Kristin “Sissy” Light who owns the stylish hat brand Sissy Light and also designed The Frenchie), great minds came together to create a “spin-off” event, held in Round Top.
This version of the Southern C was more intimate (about 125 attendees compared to 300-400), and pulled in some pretty amazing Texas-based entrepreneurs and attendees. I was so psyched to attend because a.) I LOVE the Southern C, and b.) Round Top is only about 90 minutes from Austin, so it was an easy car trip for me! Also, any excuse to have a few days away from home and the day-to-day grind is always up my alley!
My friend Kelsey Ogletree, a freelance journalist and the owner of Pitchcraft flew into Austin from Alabama, and then rode with me to Round Top. I met Kelsey back in February in Sea Island, and it was nice to have a friendly face to show up with. That’s kind of the MO of anything Southern C-related - find a friend, exchange info, see how you can help and support one another!
I stayed at the Round Top Inn, which was an adorable collection of small “farm houses” that congregate around a beautiful grassy courtyard. Mine room was very “Farmhouse chic” with a super comfy king sized bed all for ME! The best part about the hotel was its proximity to everything. It’s walking distance to the small “town center” and it was super easy to grab a cup of coffee from XYZ or pop into SUGAR for a sweet treat (I had a delicious GF chocolate cookie!).
The first night of the conference we all attended a “white party” at The Frenchie, and it was a grand time to catch up with previous attendees I recognized, as well as meet new friends. Emily Ufer, an artist I follow and admire on Instagram was kind enough to pre-plan an “artists” dinner for six of us at Lulu’s following the cocktail party. I love meeting artist friends in real life (not just online)!, and it’s always fun to “talk shop” since most of us work alone in our studios! If you don’t follow them already, be sure to check out the following artists:
Lulu’s was an amazing experience - especially the ambience, which was a 10/10. The Italian menu was thorough and delicious, and the service was top notch as well. Many of the attendees stayed at Lulu’s which is not just a restaurant, but a super cute boutique hotel, and the photos I saw of the rooms were just WOW. Would highly recommend looking into this place if you ever attend the antiques show, or spend a night in Round Top, just because!
The second and third day, we attended some amazing panels including the following speakers and panelists:
- Stephanie Hall of Estelle Colored Glass
- Emily Landers of How’d She Do That
- Annemarie Dillard, VP of Dillard’s Online Experience and Digital Marketing
- Kimberly Whitman, Tablescape and Lifestyle Expert
- Natalie Steen, of The Nat Note
- Bailey McCarthy of Biscuit Home, Goodthyme Farm, restaurants Rosie, Cannonball, Montrose Cheese & Wine, and MARCH
- Jackie Thomson of Of Counsel PR
- Betsy Cribb, Home and Features Editor of Southern Living
- Dallas,Texas tastemaker Jean Liu of Jean Liu Designs
- Sandra Campos, CEO, Founder, Board Member and CNBC Contributor
- Houston-based Designer Hunter Bell
- Entrepreneur and Founder of Red Clay Hot Sauce Molly Fienning
I made so many great connections and I’m already plotting my next trip to Southern C in Sea Island in February 2023, which I plan to attend!
If you’re heading to Round Top for the upcoming antiques fair, here are a few recommendations on where to shop and eat:
WHERE TO EAT:
Lulu’s - The aforementioned Italian restaurant with the A+ ambience
Prost -This was outside of my quaint hotel - it’s an outdoor wine bar with casual but delicious fare.
Casa Blanke - This brand new healthy eatery for health-nuts who want a delviious avocado toast or smoothie. My pal Erin Stewart of Savor and Sweat helped design the menu! I had a delicious breakfast there the last morning of the trip.
The Garden Co. Known for its fabulous food and beautiful florals.
Mandito's, located in Round Top's main square, for legitimate Tex-Mex and margs.
WHERE TO SHOP:
Blue Hills - This is the tent where I showed my work last year, alongside Sarah Bray Bermuda Hats and Hibiscus Linens. This show has a wide array of beautiful antiques, furniture, linens and rugs. It’s very manageable and shoppable and will only take you a few hours to get through. Great food trucks too! Make sure to also see my pals at Gather Goods and Fraulien Boots while you’re there!
Marburger Farm: I’ve never been, but this is a mainstay in Round Top. It is a HUGE farm with a wide variety of items - allow for one day to shop!
Paul Michel’s Market Hill - This 130,000 square foot space encompasses seven buildings under one roof filled with furniture, antiques and artwork, and a delicious restaurant.
The Arbors- Best known for our signature white tents, The Arbors offers an extravagant experience for dealers and shoppers alike. With a great selection of fine European & American furniture, quality rugs and linens, art, fashion, and antiques.
Bader Ranch: I’ve been here twice now - back in March when I showed my artwork at Round Top, and again for The Southern C, for our group’s farewell dinner. This gorgeous space has amazon vendors, a pop-up restaurant and bar as well as the best sunset in Round Top.