We made a quick trip to the Magnolia Silos in Waco, TX – here are some thoughts about our experience, and some (hopefully) helpful tips!
Chels has mentioned a few times in her posts recently that she and I took a quick trip down to Texas – a little “babymoon” getaway (this is what I’m told it’s called…anyway). Honestly, Chels just wanted to get away for a few days together before she got to the third trimester and traveling became more complicated, or even downright discouraged. She’s been wanting to visit the Magnolia Silos in Waco ever since they were featured so prominently in Fixer Upper (Season 3, I think – why is it that DIY and being a foodie go together so well?), plus, she’s never been to Texas…ever! I did a little digging around, found a great deal at a beautiful, relaxing resort just outside Dallas, and so off we went. In truth, the destination wasn’t too important – we were just after a little alone away time. Dallas seemed like an odd choice for a romantic getaway, but the flights and the hotel and the weather seemed to work perfectly, so we went for it! One of the days we were there, we made the 95-mile trek down I-35 to Waco, and we thought we’d share our quick trip to the Magnolia Silos with you…
Parking at the Silos
Our first stop in Waco was the Silos Baking Co., which I think is the newest addition to the Magnolia property. But, before we get to that…a few logistics. If you come into Waco on the same route we did (down I-35, past McLane Stadium, and so forth), you’ll pass a whole bunch of tempting paid parking options. If that ends up being the only choice that makes sense, so be it – it was only about $10, so not too bad. However, there is a free parking lot for the Silos between Webster and Jackson. The entrance was on 8th St, so, basically one block past the Silos if you’re rolling down Webster like we were (little annotated map below). We came and went a couple of times, and we were able to find parking there on both occasions. It’s dirt, so you’ll get your ride a little dusty, but it’s Texas, right? Also, if you’re worried about that long drive from Dallas – we loved it. In late April, we found it to be a beautiful, easy drive, full of greenery. A fun little road trip, actually. It did help beforehand that we switched up our old car for something new. It didn’t take much, other than doing some research into something simple like Conklin Chevry and taking it from there. Seeing as we had an idea as to what we wanted, I guess that made it easier. But all in all, this road trip was one to remember!
The Silos Baking Co
Back to the bakery. They have a pretty good little system going. When you come up to get in line, a Magnolia employee hooks you up with a menu and a little pencil so you can figure out what you want while you’re waiting. I would say it took us about 25 minutes or so to get through the line and inside…where it smelled outrageously delicious (also, getting these pictures without people in them was borderline impossible…everybody wants to be inside the bakery!).
Inside, of course, one finds the cupcakes. We had decided on three that we wanted to try, Shiplap, Lemon Lavender, and Toasted Coconut, along with a “Silo Cookie” (pour moi) and three classic sugar cookies to transport 2000 miles home to the kiddos. All of them were insanely tasty. Admittedly, I’m not the world’s biggest cupcake person, but the Silo Cookie was up my alley in a ridiculous way. So good. Like, among the best cookies I have ever tasted in my entire life. Get the Silo Cookie.
There is an adorable little seating area just to the left of the Silos Baking Co building, in the “shadow” of the silos themselves, if you will. Maybe it was just because it was a Monday, but we didn’t have any trouble finding a seat in which to relax and enjoy our delectable baked goods. There are tables, chairs, umbrellas, and even a little “bar” of sorts (pictured below). Also, Chip and Joanna have this branding thing down. We used that cute little black cookie box to transport the aforementioned sugar cookies all the way home to the Pacific Northwest, and it not only made a fun keepsake and looked none the worse for wear, but it was a fun way for the kids to get a little “piece” of Magnolia with their cookies.
After finishing our snack, we headed over to Magnolia Market, aside from the silos themselves, what I would consider the “main attraction” at Magnolia. For those of you who follow the show or have read the Gaines’ book, this is the little shop that Joanna relocated to the Silos property from its original location on Bosque to the beautiful (and much, much larger) shop it is in now.
The inside of the shop is kind of divvied up into little sections, though as you would expect from Joanna, there are actually very few walls inside – it’s mostly one big open space. There’s the main shop that you walk into initially, full of floral arrangements, kitchen decor and utensils, clothing, and lots and lots of decorative pieces, and then there’s more of a warehouse-style addition behind it with sky-high ceilings and lots of inventory. There were some gorgeous glass splashbacks uk created which really caught my eye. In the warehouse is where you’ll find even more clothing, lots of signage, and, of course…Chip’s Corner. I couldn’t resist one of Chip’s Magnolia-branded carpenter’s pencils. I have a whole fistful of carpenter pencils that I use all the time, but I have a feeling this one will just be hanging out on my workbench for a really, really long time…
Depending on your point of view, you’ll likely find some of the goods a little on the spendy side, but they are by and large handmade, custom merchandise, with few exceptions. I was actually surprised by how reasonable some of the larger items were, like the custom metal signs from Jimmy Don above (well known to Fixer Upper fans) and the giant decorative clocks in the main store. T-shirts are $20-30, mugs are $10-20 – pretty standard price points, really. As others have noted, they do have a shipping center in the main store where you can have your purchases shipped to your home, rather than carrying them out with you, but oftentimes it’s more reasonable to find what you like and order it online. It’s good to have options!
The checkout counter at Magnolia Market is pretty classy, with recessed lighting and wood panelling framing the giant Magnolia logo behind the staff. The line moved quickly and efficiently, and everyone we came into contact with, from the two young ladies who helped dig through inventory in the back for a particular blanket Chels wanted for the baby (they found it!) to the employees who rang up our purchases, was incredibly friendly and genuinely warm and helpful. Even though the shop is absolutely bursting at the seems with shoppers, it never took more than a moment to find someone to assist. Some real work has gone into hiring and training here, and it shows.
A quick, cute note – at the far righthand side of the checkout counter, Chip and “JoJo” stuck their hands in the drying concrete. It’s a fun, personal touch.
Food Carts & The Lawn
I guess that really just leaves the lawn and the food trucks! The lawn is kind of amazing. It’s literally just a giant green space in front of the Silos with swings and toys on one side, a big picnic “barn” with tables and bean bag chairs opposite, and a variety of games in the middle (corn hole, football, etc). And people are playing! Again, this was a Monday, and there were so many people of all ages, some actively engaged in a game, some just goofing off, and some really chilling. It’s a brilliant idea, and people really seem to have taken to it. (I tried to get pictures without too many people’s faces showing – again, not a particularly easy task in a spot this popular!)
Bordering the lawn on two sides are the food trucks, which apparently rotate from time to time, and promised some yummy stuff. Chels tried “The Club” crêpe from Co-Town Crêpes while I grabbed an iced coffee over at Common Grounds. Both were amazing, and, of course, made us wish we had a little more room to try all of the incredibly tempting trucks between them. After cupcakes, cookies, and crêpes, however, we were at our limit. Next time!
Chels will probably hate me for including this picture, but I thought it was pretty cute. Something in the spring air in Waco came up all of a sudden and aggravated both our allergies at one point, and we both hit a bit of a sneezing fit. Poor Chels is eating her crêpe on the little deck at Co-Town, trying to get her sneezing under control!
Almost forgot Magnolia Seed & Supply! Over in the corner of the property, between the Silos and the food trucks and just off the lawn, is this little “shack”, with a beautiful raised garden out front. Admittedly, it’s really small inside, so we just kind of snuck in and snuck out, but the idea is fun – home decor and renovation should include living, growing things! We’ve always tried to have some kind of little garden, even if it’s just terra-cotta pots in the kitchen window, so that our kiddos can get to experience the wonder of watching something grow. Four-year-old Christian keeps his own strawberry plants out back, and nothing makes him happier than going out there and plucking a ripe one off for an afternoon snack! So, I think it makes sense that they included this concept at the Silos as well.
Harp Design Co.
Again, if you watch the show, you know we couldn’t leave Waco without making a pit stop at Clint’s shop. If you’re an admirer of Clint’s team’s handiwork, and I think anyone who watches Fixer Upper has to be, it’s hard to pass up. Harp Design Co. is only a mile and half drive from the Silos, and though it is incredibly modest by comparison – it really is just the little blue shop they show so often on Fixer Upper – it’s well worth the quick detour. The shop is a fun little store inside (there’s obviously something bigger going on behind the shop – Clint has like 15 employees now!), with many beautiful handmade wood products (cutting boards, candle sticks, etc) for sale. And, of course, next door is the house (“The Beast”) Chip and Joanna renovated for Clint and Kelly in Season 1. Clint and Kelly don’t live there anymore (apparently they rent it out?), but it’s neat to see it in person just the same.
Here’s a funny side note: As I was taking the shot above of Chels in front of Clint’s shop, a guy walked up to me and asked if we’d like one together. We said yes, of course, and he snapped the picture below with my phone. Chels and I both thought he looked awfully familiar…it was David Ridley, the “most eligible bachelor” from Season 3! Apparently Waco really is a small town (and he’s giving tours of it now!).
And that’s about it! We spent a little while just driving around town, down through Woodway and up along the shore of Lake Waco, before heading back up I-35 to Dallas. It’s funny to see in real life what you see so much B-roll of on HGTV (Is that how Grimm fans feel when they come to Portland?) – it really is a neat little part of Texas, and it’s great to see so many cool shops and restaurants thriving with the newfound hustle and bustle Chip and Joanna have helped bring to the city (plus, I have to imagine the local population is glad to finally be known nationally for something other than an FBI raid 25 years ago…).
We really enjoyed our quick visit, and we hope to go back, probably with our kiddos, who were admittedly pretty jealous! If for no other reason…so many food trucks to try, am I right? Since our visit (actually, the same day we were there), Magnolia posted their own “7 Tips for Enjoying Your Visit”, which has some great advice as well, so if you plan to go, check it out!