I like Texas a lot. In fact, second only to Oklahoma, it’s probably my favorite state. Maybe because as I cross the Red River, our southern border, it still feels like home.
A couple of weeks before Christmas, Bill and I took Claire to visit the University of Dallas in Irving Texas, and on our way back, we had to visit Waco. You know what’s in Waco, right?
Yes, after Megan urged me for months to watch Fixer Upper, I finally did and fell under Chip and Joanna’s spell. I blame it on shiplap, being primed for binge watching due to a horrid cold, and memories of our own fixer-upper–which only took us six years to complete, log-by-log. For years afterward, our expansion and remodel was a nightmare, but enough time passed I now have fond memories of standing on a huge ladder in our future bedroom hanging sheetrock. Ah, those were the days.
Not really. It was hard, but the results were worth it. It’s fun to now watch a show where everything is resolved in an hour instead of in years. Of course, now that I read their book, The Magnolia Story, I know that they are working on twelve to fifteen projects concurrently. Bill loves the show too, and we test each other on how long Magnolia’s projects take in real time. We observe the weather and clothing for clues. Funny, aren’t we?
Anyway, it was my dream to visit Magnolia Market. I hoped beyond hope that it would live up to my expectations. Did it ever! It’s like Disneyland for adults, especially women. There were whole families there too. Generations of families playing on the “lawn,” having their pictures made with Santa, eating at the bakery and swinging on real swings. Claire stood on the lawn’s turf and proclaimed it the best fake lawn she’d ever seen. She discussed the turf quality, and how it was even better than that of Newcastle High School–purchased by the Chickasaw Nation–owners of numerous successful Oklahoma casinos. She would know. She’s been a football manager for three years.
Because of the crowds, there was a large police presence. However, visitors were all polite and unfailingly kind to each other even in the God-awful traffic surrounding the store located near downtown Waco. So, while the officers weren’t busy, they passed footballs to the kids as their parents shopped. I’m telling you, I haven’t had this much fun since I visited Dollywood on homeschooler day. Yes, that really happened. Nicest kids ever.
Inside, Magnolia Market was a playground of farmhouse chic. It was so crowded you could hardly move, but I still managed to buy several things. I did miss out on the pillow below because I got distracted. It’s not on their website either, so darn. Maybe it will be back in stock in spring.
If you’re a fan of the show, you know that Joanna had a dream to make some abandoned silos into a larger marketplace. Chip made that dream come true. You might think it’s all saccharin sweet, but I find their story refreshing in a world that is angry, sarcastic and cynical much of the time. The Gaines invested their money back into their hometown and also own a realty agency that spans several Texas cities. I like people who invest in their communities. Bill and I try, in our own small way, to do the same.
The staff was wonderful and helpful. When I couldn’t fight the crowds to a metal sign that says “family,” I asked about ordering the sign on the website. The young woman who was checking me out along with a young man from Ponca City, Oklahoma, offered to go behind the counter and get it for me. They were super busy, but they went out of their way several times to gather items for customers. It was all so pleasant and lovely. They smiled a lot and loved that we were from Oklahoma. In fact, we talked about Ree Drummond. I’m going to visit her place in Pawhuska next.
Afterward, we meandered outside and around back where the Magnolia Seed Store is. There was a precious greenhouse, and a small store full of fun garden items. I bought more out there than inside. I bet you’re not surprised. That’s where the manager of the seed store told me Joanna started out as a blogger. Bill had told her outside that I was a garden writer and blogger. He seems to feel the need to tell everybody this which unnerves me. She then said, “Hey, you might be a famous garden blogger someday.” I laughed and said I would never want to be famous. That is the truth.
We then drove through Waco, went by Common Grounds, and drove along the Brazos River. We ate at Torchy’s Tacos, always a perennial favorite. By the way, we’re getting a Torchy’s in Edmond, Oklahoma, and there’s already one in Norman. We did not make it to the Dr. Pepper Museum. I think Bill was a bit sad because he’s a huge fan of Larry Culpepper.
We also drove by Baylor University, and I was relieved when Claire said she wasn’t interested. She may not go to OU, but to go to Baylor would make me weep because they are such a huge Big 12 rival. Still, if she changed her mind, I could go back to Waco and visit Magnolia Market again.
There’s a silver lining in every cloud. If you like the show, go on down and visit. It’s worth the while. If you’d like to read another garden blogger’s report on Magnolia, check out my friend, Pam, at Digging where she writes about the fall Silobration.
Click on the photo galleries, above to see the photos up close and personal.