Driving in from Austin and entering Round Top (population: 90) for the first time, the view from the car window gives you a good idea of the traditional experience that is the Antiques Fair. For 30 miles along Highway 237, the landscape is dotted with Texas bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and rows upon rows of big white tents with all kinds of antiques, accents and accessories inside. There’s not a cloud in the sky, as we watch people traipsing through the fields up and down each row while we drive through town making our way to Market Hill.
Upon arriving, the parking lot is packed with cars coming in and out, but there are still spaces available, which shows us just how big and accommodating Market Hill is. Free parking (and plenty of it) is one of many amenities available to shoppers.
Walking from the car, stepping out of the hot sun and into the air-conditioned space feels like the ultimate luxury, and that’s just the beginning.
It’s beautiful inside. Entering through the Paul Michael Company, which takes up 11,000-SF of the space, it makes a wonderful first impression with original art on the walls, agate-topped tables, large cow hides, brightly colored sofas and plush pillows. The remainder of the 130,000-SF is mostly dedicated to the 18 vendors inside. Each room is well appointed and staged with the best lighting, antiques, accessories, rugs and art we’ve ever seen in one place. Each vendor is present and patient, eager to talk to you about any of their pieces and answer any questions you may have.
Walking through the main breezeway, there is a sitting area with red velvet sofas called Pinky’s Bubble Lounge where you can sit and sip Champagne, which, of course, we did. The Restaurant at Market Hill is serving a variety of lunch options and a large selection of beer and wine. Chef Preston is in the kitchen, pulling a tray of potatoes from the oven. People are sitting around long tables, sharing stories, enjoying their meal and the comforts of this place. We grab a plate lunch, a couple of glasses of rosé and join them.
The word that comes up most often when vendors describe Market Hill is the experience.
“I believed in Paul’s concept of bringing comfort to the Round Top experience,” Ender Tasci of The Elephant Walk says of his friend Paul Michael. “Our venue provides an incredible amount of the most reputable dealers with their exceptional selection of merchandise. Our climate-controlled showrooms, food and all the other amenities make it a refuge for so many people visiting Round Top,” he says.
Susan Horne agrees and describes how much easier it is on vendors, “As a vendor at Market Hill, the experience that Paul Michael has created for us is amazing in so many ways. Our containers arrive right to our space and Market Hill provides help with the unloading, the installation of lighting, the placement of heavy items and so much more. The support I receive during and after the set-up takes the stress out of doing a show. It really is enjoyable! I am thrilled to be able to have a presence at a unique, friendly and beautiful destination such as Market Hill.”
“I never dreamed that a venue like this could exist here in Round Top,” says Stephanie Wheeler, fine art painter and Market Hill vendor. “But Paul Michael did! And thank goodness for that! My customers have really appreciated all of the creature comforts that our venue has to offer. From wonderful food options to easy parking and of course A/C, Paul Michael and his team help in every way possible to deliver a fantastic experience for the shopper as well as the vendors.”
Vikki Vines of Gallery Auctions adds, “This is the most well-planned building! It is perfectly suitable to buyers and vendors. The management has a special vision. They are
leaders in creating an environment that is appealing, provides all amenities from the food, the lighting, the parking, the late shopping – the complete experience.”
Market Hill is open daily and offers lunch and dinner service at the restaurant. There is live music nightly. Paul is also doing a pig roast during the show; he is even building his own equipment for it. For Paul, it’s about bringing people together, feeding them, entertaining them and showing them genuine hospitality. This is the Market Hill experience.
9 a.m.-9 p.m.
September 19-October 8
Location and contact info:
1542 Highway 237
Round Top, TX 78954