I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season. We had a wonderful time ourselves, including a week-long visit in Alabama that included forays into six other states. Y’all. Seven states in one week are just too many. I basically lived in a minivan.
I did visit somewhere thrilling, however, and if you follow me on Instagram, you saw glimpses into my glamorous life.
Both maternal figures (Mama Sr., and Mama-in-Law) and I headed west for the booming metropolis that is Waco, Texas. Mama Sr., had the brilliant idea to fly from Florida to Texas (though her Dallas flight was cancelled around 2 a.m., fostering a slew of middle-of-the-night texts from both parents and a rerouted flight to Austin). I, however, promoted a 10-plus-hour-long roadtrip for my Mama-In-Law (heretofore known as “MIL”) and myself. I mean, we were starting in Alabama, so that’s like, what? A smidge closer than Florida?
Well, we saved money! And, frankly, it’s always nice to spend extra time with MIL. She’s just that kind of lady.
And so, at 4 a.m., we packed up MIL’s minivan, prayed for our husbands as they had kid-duty for three days straight, and hit the dark highway west. I had Christmas-gifted MIL The One-In-A-Million Boy audiobook by Monica Wood for our trip, but we only got through the first few chapters as, well, I’m chatty and MIL is accommodating.
After surviving a green-sky tornado watch on the Mississippi-Louisiana border, we cruised into Waco, meeting up with Mama Sr., at the Hotel Indigo. Here’s my plug for Hotel Indigo. It was an ideal location with swanky rooms and included an upscale restaurant and bar. If you can walk two or three blocks, Hotel Indigo is the perfect location for you.
I had pre-booked three nights at Hotel Indigo, but we later realized two nights are perfectly sufficient for Waco. It’s a sweet, little city that has clearly suffered through some heartache, but the Magnolia boom is igniting a fire under the area’s rehabilitation and restructuring. I’d like to visit again in 10 years and see what all has changed.
Here’s how we enjoyed the sights and sounds of Waco on the first day.
Get. Up. Early. (Actually, this was inadvertently the entire trip’s motto.)
The Silos Baking Company opens at 7:30 a.m., and we were standing in the 38-ish degree weather about 7:20 a.m. We even drove the minivan and parked in an adjacent spot so we’d have a place to thaw after we’d received our baked goodnesses (all bakery seating is outdoors). At 7:30, we were about the 10th, 11th, and 12th people in line and waltzed right into the warm, cinnamon-smelling bake shop.
Because “we came all this way!” we ordered about $40 in baked goods the first go-round, then MIL returned the next day to stock up for the menfolk and babies at home. I guess it’s clear the sweet teeth run strong. Here’s what we snagged (just to make your mouth water and encourage your New Year’s weight-loss resolutions):
Nuts & Bolts: Vanilla cake filled with pecans and walnuts, topped with cream cheese icing
Lemon Lavender: Lemon and lavender vanilla cake, topped with lemon buttercream icing (this was recommended by everyone)
Wonderland: Red velvet cake and peppermint buttercream icing, topped with crushed peppermints
Campfire: Chocolate cake with chocolate chips and graham cracker crust and vanilla buttercream icing, topped with a toasted marshmallow
- Baked Goods
The Silo Cookie: Classic chocolate chip, oatmeal cookie with peanut butter chips and walnuts
Classic Sugar Cookie: Butter rich sugar cookie with sugar crystals
Chocolate Croissant: Flaky buttery croissant filled with rich dark chocolate (the least memorable item)
Gingerbread Cookie Pie: Cream cheese icing sandwiched between two classic gingerbread cookies, dipped in sugar crystals (my favorite!)
So, the Magnolia Market, which is adjacent to the bakery and silos (which are currently empty, FYI), doesn’t open until 9 a.m. Since we didn’t know what to anticipate in terms of line-wait time at the bakery, we ended up stuffing our faces with sugar in the minivan and thawing our fingers and toes for quite some time before venturing into the Magnolia Market Silo ‘verse.
The Silo compound is just adorable. It has a central, astroturf’d area with porch swings, picnic tables, cornhole sets, beanbag chairs, etc. Food trucks surround this area, as well as a garden and shop, restrooms, and, of course, the Magnolia Market. God was looking out for us again when we slid into line right before the market opened, and the line grew to lengthy proportions behind us.
Hmm, what to say about the Magnolia Market?
If Joanna Gaines is your spirit animal in all things stylized, shiplapped, and serene, then save up your pennies and blow them at Magnolia Market. The store is large and beautifully decor’d, especially at Christmastime. The whites contrasted nicely with the leather and industrial touches. I liked the burlap and porcelain, while the metal signs of Jimmy Don’s making were sassy or inspirational. I bought a t-shirt and a Christmas ornament to commemorate my visit.
Call me out, if you’d like, but I just like more color in my world. I wouldn’t be relaxed and jolly in a house full of only white and gray. It’s just too stark for me. And my husband couldn’t be relaxed in a home where the “vintage” light fixtures are covered in peeling paint and rust.
At this point, we wandered around other nearby shops. Clearly, Mrs. Gaines and Fixer Upper are having a strong influence on the styles offered by other folks. We saw “vintage” furniture and home fixings by the barrel-load. A particular $200 dresser sporting peeling, pink paint, a broken drawer, and coffee-ringed top inspired a lengthy conversation deciding “What is ‘vintage’?” and “What is something someone found in their great-aunt’s shed and slapped a price tag on?”
Now onto my favorite event of the trip!
Book with Waco Tours. And, yes, that deserved a bold font. Waco Tours was founded by two couples who both had homes renovated on Fixer Upper. The 2.5-hour tour featured an adorable guide and driver, ice cream or coffee at local haunts, a stop at Clint Harp’s store (next door to the home Chip and Jo renovated for him), a tour of Baylor University, and quite simply the best tour I’ve ever heard of a city. Loved it.
We finished up the day at the highly recommended George’s Restaurant. Mama Sr., and MIL ordered chicken-fried steak and raved. I had a cobb salad, hoping the spinach leaves would sop up the remaining sugar coursing through my veins.
To be continued, as the word count became astronomical, and Olivia’s nap time came to an abrupt halt…