Monday, May 15, 2017

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4 Ways to Maximize Your Magnolia Market Visit

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That's the store on the left, the bakery on the right.
My husband predicted we’d be in Texas only two weeks before we visited Magnolia Market. (For the uninformed, this is the shiplap-packed mecca of Joanna and Chip Gaines from HGTV’s mega-hit Fixer Upper). As it turns out, he was only off by a couple days—Mother’s Day happened to be just shy of two weeks after our move, so we decided to make the 90-minute drive to Waco this past Saturday. (Magnolia is closed on Sunday.)  

A map of Magnolia. Silos, store, and bakery up front; play area in the middle;
food trucks and garden center in the back.
We found free street parking surprisingly quickly (we arrived at around 10:30 a.m.), and I made a mad dash for the Silos (which, funnily enough, my husband remembers seeing in a much different—i.e. decrepit—state when he worked in Waco almost a decade ago). I was surprised by the size of the campus—there really isn’t much to it, although every inch of the place is impeccably decorated and well thought out. 



Entrance to the store.
I started in the shop, which was totally packed with people. (I soon found out that, in addition to being Mother’s Day weekend, it was graduation weekend at nearby Baylor College.) Overwhelmed, I mostly just absorbed the scene, rather than doing serious shopping, although I did pick up a pack of hymn postcards (available here).


I loved this subway tile wall in the store!


 The line snaked right through the center of the store, making it tough to browse, but I did notice all of the usual Joanna Gaines suspects for sale.



Candlesticks by Clint:


And metal signs by Jimmy Don:

After I finished shopping, we let Asa play in the Astro-turf area, where there are comfy striped seats, swings, and bins full of toys, including Frisbees (I got hid in the head with one). 



Then we meandered over to the food trucks, the mix of which is constantly changing, and I stood in the searing-hot Texas sun (I could literally feel my toes burning) for about 15 minutes to buy a cupcake out of a refurbished Airstream camper. I chose the Nuts and Bolts flavor, which consists of vanilla cake speckled with walnuts and pecans and topped with cream cheese frosting. It was certainly tasty, but I probably should have gone with my first food instinct: a gourmet grilled cheese from Cheddar Box. (Note: I walked by the bakery, which also sells cupcakes, but the ridiculous line deterred me from checking it out.)



I was disappointed to learn that you can’t actually go inside the silos (although if you’re dying to tour one, you could drive down the road to the Waco highway rest stop, which has silo-shaped bathrooms!). 




That said, I will definitely be going back when friends and family come to visit—and next time, I’ll be armed with these insider tips:
  1. Plan a mid-week visit. Not surprisingly, Saturday is the Silos’ busiest day, but a store clerk told me Monday is also insane. (She said they consider Monday part of the weekend, since they’re closed on Sunday.) The best time to visit? Wednesday around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, when the weekend crowd has dispersed and the day is winding down.
  2. Don’t wait in line. If you’re buying non-breakable items—like postcards or a t-shirt—look for a store clerk holding an iPad, who can ring you up and spare you a crazy-long wait in line. 
  3. Check your inbox. See a lot of items you love? Buy something small that you can easily carry in your suitcase, then write down the names of bigger items you like and order them online later. After making my purchase, I received a 20% off coupon for online items (most items for sale at the Silos are available on the website), which allows you to save a little money and avoid the cost and hassle of arranging shipping while you’re in the store. 
  4. Drive around back. As you approach the Silos from the highway, you’ll see church parking for $10. But if you keep going, you’ll find free parking behind Magnolia Market. It may be full if you visit at a peak time, but it’s worth a try! 

Next post: All the other must-see Waco sights! 

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