Spring Visit at the Magnolia Silos in Waco, Texas
We planned a trip to Oklahoma a while back to take my parents and nephew to the casino. We try to keep our drive time to less than 3 hours when towing the RV. So we were looking for a midway point to break up the drive to Durant, OK. Which meant I finally got to visit the Magnolia Market in Waco, TX. Nicole and I both love to decorate and like to think we are DIYers. So naturally we were fans of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Even though Waco is only two hours from us, we heard so many mixed reviews that we never planned a trip there. Most people I know that visited, said things like “it was too crowded" or “expensive” and that “you have to wait in lines that wrap around the block”. We change our interior style more often than most, so we don’t like to spend a lot of money on decor. Well let me rephrase that… I buy a lot of decor but each item is pretty affordable. So when I heard friends talk about how “it is fun to visit the market, but you can’t buy anything”. Well that didn’t really sound appealing to us. But since it was on the way to Oklahoma, we figured why not give it a try.
We arrived to Waco on Wednesday night and knew we wanted to hit the road early on Friday to miss Dallas traffic. So this left us with all day Thursday to visit Magnolia. Luckily, the timing worked out and my in-laws were able to meet us for the day. We were hoping since it was the middle of the week the market wouldn’t be that crowded. The website recommends coming early or late, because they are busiest around lunchtime. So we planned to arrive at 9:00 am when they opened. Which in true Monica fashion, means we arrived just in time for lunch at 11:30 am. I am chronically late to everything! But surprisingly, it was Nicole that was late to our wedding :) So as soon as we drive up, we see a line wrapped around the block for the Silos Baking Co. and immediately my excitement went down a few notches. I am not about lines or crowded places. All my excitement quickly returned as soon as I walked onto the property! Even though it is in the middle of downtown Waco, this place is quite large and spread out when you account for the market, gardens, silos, large open areas, picnic tables, and food truck area. There were a lot of people there, but I wouldn’t say it was overly crowded. I think we lucked out, because their big spring celebration was the weekend prior. But I am sure on a Saturday this place is packed. I of course quickly started snapping pictures of everything, because you recognize so many of the structures from Instagram posts. Plus, it is just plain adorable! All the spring flowers were blooming and everything down to the food trucks and restrooms are so beautifully designed. We headed into the market first and were greeted by a large umbrella display with spring silk flowers underneath. I have to say, they were some of the most impressive fake tulips I have seen. I had to touch them to see if they were real, because tulips are my favorite flowers. Every little display was well designed and gave me design inspiration. I honestly don’t know how they keep the product and displays looking so organized, with the number of people shuffling around. There were plenty of products to choose from and I was surprised at how affordable some of them were. I of course loved the throw pillows and blankets, but I personally cannot bring my self to spend $100 on either. But we have been wanting a large shoe basket to put near the front door. Luckily, this day the baskets were 30% off and I snagged the beautiful Samantha Seagrass Basket (large) with black designs on it for around $30. I also purchased a camel Seed + Supply hat that I LOVE! Nicole got a t-shirt for around $25 each. I wish they had more v-neck and tank top options for women, but plenty of crew cut t-shirts to choose from with cute #shiplap and #demoday sayings. The checkout lines went quickly and the staff is so friendly! Their website says “We pride ourselves in having the friendliest, most warm-hearted staff” and that was definitely present during our visit.
We then headed over to the garden area to visit the Magnolia Seed + Supply store. I think aesthetically the garden area was my favorite. It had this adorable white garden shed with beautiful cedar barn doors. Then there was an adorable cedar green house. This place had photo ops everywhere and the photographer in me needed an entire day here. Luckily, with it being private property I knew none of the prints would make it to the print shop. So, this was all for my own enjoyment. Due to capacity restrictions, the small seed/supply store had a line to get into it and I opted out. But took a quick rest on the benches that were shaded from the large Silo structures. That is where I grabbed what may be my favorite picture of Nicole and her parents!
Logistics: Pets, Parking & Food
Our biggest concern when planning our visit was Sadie! We couldn’t find anywhere on their website if pets were allowed. So I tried calling from the campground, and that was comical. There is one number for all of the Magnolia businesses and after several prompts and menu options I gave up. We decided to just take her and improvise if needed. As soon as we entered I asked a staff member and they said pets are allowed anywhere except on the turf grass. This makes sense, but wish this information was on “7 Tips for Enjoying Your Visit” webpage. Sadie did so well in the stores and loved all the attention. I definitely would have done more shopping if we weren’t trying to navigate the store with her. But leaving her inside at the campground for that long wasn’t an option. They had water coolers all over the grounds, but wish we brought Sadie’s collapsable water bowl. Because she was not a fan of drinking out of cone paper cups. Spoiled little angel! Parking was relatively easy once we found the free Magnolia lot on the southwest side. The lot was full but people are constantly coming and going, so it was easy to wait and snag one up. You access the lot on 8th Street between Jackson and Webster.
Even though we are vegan, we of course couldn’t leave with out getting lunch and one of Joanna’s cupcakes. We went into the trip knowing there would be a little cheating going on. There were several food truck options on site (pizza, burgers, hot dogs, salads, bbq, etc.). Since we knew we were cheating from our typical vegan fare, I decided bbq was a must. Mainly because it was the shortest line and cold potato salad on a hot day is the best! I went with a pulled pork sandwich and potato salad from Guess Family Barbecue, and Nicole had small burger from one of the other food trucks. My pulled pork sandwich was very good, but for $9 it had very little meat on it. I am glad I got the slaw on the side because it was kind of spicy. But, I am weak when it comes to spicy food. The potato salad however, did not disappoint! Nicole’s burger was so good, but she waited forever in line to get it. We decided to forgo the long line into the bakery and opted for the food truck version. By food truck, I mean the adorable Silo Baking Co. airstream that serves up deliciousness under its black/white striped awning! Our favorite cake is strawberry, so we naturally got the Strawberries & Cream Cupcake. It was very good and had a ton of icing on it!
Scratch and Dent Shop Heavily Discounted!!!
At the market checkout, we were told about the scratch/dent store at the old shop location on Bosque. Prior to our trip, I read different posts that the old store was closed. But it looks like it reopened to house all the scratch/dent items at 50-70% off. I of course had the cashier repeat all the information, because I love a good bargain. Plus, if you show them your receipt from a same day purchase at the market you get an extra 10% off. It’s called the “Little Shop on Bosque” in Google Maps, and is about a 10 minute drive west of downtown. This was on the way back to the campground, so this of course was our next stop after the silos. The store is pretty small (last two images below), but there was so much in there I wanted to buy. I ended up getting a glass vase, tiny rocks and a fake lavender sprig to fill it, plus a rustic looking black/white thermometer to hang in the RV, all for around $25! Visiting this store in my opinion is a must when in Waco. We also went to Spice Village near the silos. It has like 60 vendors, is all indoors, and they allow dogs inside. So it provided a great break from the warm spring day. They have some home items, but is mainly apparel and souvenir type items. Overall, we really enjoyed our trip to the market and silos. I definitely plan to go back when I have more time, and a dog sitter. We also love open air artisan markets and may have to look into their annual Silobration in October.
Campground Review: Speegleville Park (Waco, TX)
We stayed here two nights at the end of March and was able to reserve a lakefront site a week before our trip. Our trip was mainly to break up the drive to Oklahoma and to visit the Magnolia market downtown. We tried to find a park closer to I-35, but wanted a little space since family planned to visit. We decided to stay on Lake Waco and there were four USACE campgrounds to select from. The closest one to downtown was Midway. But it was right off the highway and we were worried about traffic noise. When we drove past it we were glad we decided to not stay so close to the highway. So we selected, the next closest one on the lake, Speegleville Park. Google maps showed it was only 2 minutes further from the silos than Midway. But think it was more like 10 minutes more, by the time you got through the park and to your site. This has by far been the largest camp site we have stayed at. There was a huge grassy are in front of the site by the lake, with a sloped entry into the lake. You can tell the water may rise during rainy seasons, but since the lake was down the site was HUGE! There was also a lot of space between campsites. The site offered electric, water, and a dump station on the way out of the park. There was also a large covered picnic area, grill, and a gravel area with a fire ring. The RV asphalt site was very level, and there was plenty of space for two cars to park on the pavement with the RV.
We always leave a Campendium review for sites we stay at, and will give a 5 star review if we loved the site and would stay again. Unfortunately for this park, even though the grounds were well maintained I didn’t feel the site itself was. There was small trash left behind from previous guess all over the gravel picnic/fire ring area (zip ties, wrappers, bottle caps, etc.). But the biggest concern was several areas of broken glass bulb from what looked like Christmas string lights. With a pup this was a big issue for us. The covered shelter was also FILLED with spiders and webs. We know we are camping and will see bugs, but the last USACE park we stayed at with a covered area was well kept. You could tell they dusted for webs regularly under the shelter. That wasn’t the case here, and at dusk there were several spiders hanging eye level around the structure. So needless to say we didn’t make use of the picnic area or hang up our string lights. Our other complaint was the registration office wasn’t supposed to close until 7:00 pm. But when we arrived at 6:10 pm, it was closed and there wasn’t any type of note. So we just proceeded to our site and checked in the next morning. If nobody is going to be available for check-in then the park could use a few more directional signs at intersections. There were two areas when driving up to the site, where we weren’t sure which way to go. The dumpsters were also overflowing. It is a shame because it really was such a beautiful site, but we personally wouldn’t stay again. Mainly because of the large number of spiders under the shelter. If you are going to stay here, and critters don’t bother you this site is awesome and large. However, if you want to stay and don’t want the covered area full of spiders maybe opt for the adjacent lakefront site. It is Site 004, and wasn’t as large but it’s picnic table wasn’t covered. So at least you aren’t walking into spiders on way to the table.
Massive site with beautiful lake views and sloped lake entry, but lots of small trash and spiders!