We stayed at the beautiful Tillworth Retreat in Round Top, run by the charming Bernard and Marilyn Mendoza. This lovely Bed & Breakfast is surrounded by lush greenery, cows, fountains and pure peacefulness. We stayed in one their meticulously restored historic log buildings called the "Albert Suite." It was beautifully decorated with lovely antiques...so comfy!
I lugged my camera around everywhere, and can you believe it? NEVER TOOK ONE PHOTO! I could kick myself for that, but this was a working trip, thus, fighting the elements; heat, wind, mud, gravel, bugs, etc. With the wind snapping at your face, I could hardly think of photos! So, please visit Kellie's blog here to see some great captured moments of Round Top.
Okay, so let me sum up our experience. Did we have fun? yes. Did we buy a lot of treasures? no.
I need to share a couple of my observations with you. Round Top is miles of fields, tents and barns brimming with everything from old gas station signs to fine European antiques. Here is my problem. I noticed a huge percentage of antique reproductions. Yes, quite a large amount, and that scared me. Even though there were spectacular "real" antiques, I saw more reproductions than I've ever seen in my life.
photo: Tongue in CheekTake for instance, these popular sunburst mirrors. This photo above is from Tongue in Cheek's blog from one of her earlier Round Top trips. (disclaimer: I'm not saying the above photo are repros)
Any time you see an abundance of something, you need to question it. There were hundreds and hundreds of starburst mirrors, most of them great reproductions, but with "antique" prices. Some were real of course, but many of them were repros. The repros are done so well that even a seasoned antiques dealer can be duped.
I was duped by this 19th century French mirror that I purchased. It was not inexpensive. I packed it very carefully in my suitcase, but the mirror fell off. Had it not fallen off, I would never have noticed this "EBONY" stamp on the wood. REPRO!
I've been selling antiques for 15 years, and once and awhile we all get burned. But this mirror looks over 100 years old. Even the felt on the bottom is old. The mirror, even chipped on the edges. How can this be? A 19th century European mirror would never been stamped "EBONY." In fact, there would be no stamp. And certainly if there was, it would be "NOIR" in French.
Someone out there is making frames, stamping them with the color of the paint, and placing old de-silvered mirrors in them. Scary, huh? And along with reproduction mirrors, I saw everything from repro French furniture and chandeliers, to French globes and apothecary jars. Advice: Buyer Beware. Just make sure you know your seller very well, or feel comfortable purchasing a reproduction at a reasonable price to get "the look" you want. AND, if you see an abundance of something, think carefully. It may be a reproduction.
I don't want to bash any of the sellers at Round Top, as the folks in Texas couldn't have been lovelier, and I saw some of the most beautiful "real" antiques. We even enjoyed a Passover Seder with the owners of our Bed & Breakfast, Marilyn and Bernard. Who would have thought that in a town of 70 people, I would be having a Seder meal with strangers? That's Texas. Nothing but surprises.
And finally, one of the highlights of my trip was this vintage pair of cowboy boots I purchased. Yes, my first pair! I love how aged they are, the hints of gold, and the great design.