The planets aligned on Thursday morning, January 24th at about 10:30 am. That was when Dan called me, and said he had a run to Seadrift, Texas. After hearing the details, I said, “Let me call you back.” After checking the route on Google Maps, I called back with my list of conditions. I will go with you IF:
#1) You drop me off at Waco on the way to Seadrift,
#2) We spend 3 nights in Waco,
#3) We go to the Silos at Magnolia Farms, and
#4) We take the van tour of Waco offered by the now married, Most Eligible Bachelor, of the same name Fixer Upper episode.
Dan quickly agreed to the list, and I quickly packed and made arrangements for Lisa Bee to cat sit Sammy. We would make hotel reservations on the way. Part of the planets aligning meant we could take the Prius, which is way more comfortable than the million mile van.
We got to our hotel, La Quinta Inn & Suites Downtown Baylor, at about 1 am (technically Friday, 1/25). It was a beautiful hotel, about 6 months old, and probably the best hotel we ever stayed at. The price was $340 total for the 3 nights, including a good breakfast. Dan slept several hours before continuing on to Seadrift.
After Dan returned from Seadrift, he slept, and I spent the day enjoying our hotel and checking out a few of the Fixer Upper icons. I did not go nor even look in the direction of the Silos, as I wanted to be with Dan when I saw it live for the first time. Instead, I went to the “Little Shop on Bosque” which was the first store Joanna ever opened. It was small!!! It had recently opened as a discount, outlet store of the larger Magnolia Farms at the Silos store. There was a very nice candle there discounted to $58. I also saw 2018 Christmas ornaments for $6. I thought that would be a nice momento, but I decided to get it the next day at the Silos when I was with Dan. However, those ornaments were nowhere to be found at the Silos. This little shop had a steady stream of people, mostly women, flowing in and out. Along my way, I also passed Magnolia Table, the breakfast/lunch restaurant which opened about 1 1/2 years ago. The parking lot looked like the Bridgeton Walmart at Christmas time. I heard the wait was several hours unless you got there at the crack of dawn. Since we had a really nice breakfast at our hotel, we didn’t bother; although the lunch offerings looked very good, and the prices were not too bad. Another time, I hope.
|Little Shop on Bosque|
Our hotel was within walking distance to the Silos as well as several eating establishments. When Dan appeared among the living, we walked to Fazoli’s for dinner and played Scrabble in the hotel lobby in the evening. As we enjoyed the lobby and our game, we saw lots of young adults with parents in tow, presumably attending some event at Baylor University.
The next morning, Saturday, it was raining, so we drove to the Silos. We arrived early, so we parked in back at the free parking. There is a church next door which charges $10. The Silos were exactly as I had seen them on television. The food trucks, the bakery, the store, the garden store, the lawn, all were as expected. I was so happy to be at this place. I am too cheap to buy much, but just being there – as I love Fixer Upper and the positiveness of Chip and Joanna, I felt so happy. I had finally made it to Waco! The prices in the store were exorbitant. Every time Dan picked something up, he would say, “Oh my God” with an expression in his voice that just made me laugh every time. I saw a pillow made out of chenille bedspread type fabric – I like those – but not for $85. I did purchase a towel with purple cone flowers (my favorite) on it for $14.
There is a free trolley which circles around the downtown area, and we took that. (There is a 2nd free trolley which also takes you to the Magnolia Table restaurant.) While walking in the downtown area, a man came up and offered us a ride on a golf cart. No charge, that is what he does. He said he and his wife had visited Waco a few years back and then felt divinely led to move to Waco. They moved to Waco and were happy they did.
After visiting several shops in the downtown area, we went by Clint’s store and a few homes which had been featured on the show. I didn’t realize it beforehand, but you can find these locations with a google search. I would have liked to have seen more of these, but Dan was happy seeing just the ones on the routes we were already on. I didn’t push it, as I was happy to be doing what I could. In the stores and along our way, Dan was happy if he saw even one other man in the shops – which didn’t always happen.
The line for the cupcake bakery was around the corner and down the block. But we waited, and the line moved surprisingly fast. And, of course, there’s good conversation with your fellow Fixer Upper fans. Postcards are handed out while in line which list what is offered. You fill out your order on the card and hand it to the counter worker when you’ve arrived. I had wanted to see the inside of the restroom at the bakery (I remembered liking it from the show), but the inside area was jam packed with people, so I skipped that, too. For my treat, I chose the lemon lavender cupcake, and Dan chose the chocolate chip cookies. Was it worth it? You bet; although, all the icing was too much for me which, – call the pope – , may be a first for me. By this time, it was a sunny day, and we ate our delectable items outside on that quaint and charming side patio.
One item on my list, was the tour of Waco. This we skipped. At $79 a pop and a 2nd tour (also $79) which included the Brazos River, I didn’t want to spend either $160 or $320 to see places we could see ourselves. Perhaps this is an excellent tour and is worth the money, but I just keep thinking Waco’s most eligible bachelor’s wife must have some ring!
We had an early start, so it was only mid-afternoon when we had felt we were ready to move on. We explored the Brazos River for a bit. There is a trail along the river, but much of it was under construction. Our next stop was Waco Mammoth National Monument. Here is a discovered fossil site for a nursery herd of Columbian Mammoth. There is a nominal fee for a guided tour which takes the group down to an area where the fossils are in an enclosed building. The guided tour makes this discovery exciting and interesting, like so many national parks. In the gift shop, we bought the deluxe National Park Passport book which has info on the parks as well as a place to record the stamps of parks visited. We hope to fill the book with dozens and dozens of stamps. I had not heard of the Waco Mammoth National Monument before our trip, but this is a gem not to be missed when visiting Waco.
Sunday morning, we headed back to St. Louis and reluctantly to the colder weather, but not before meeting Michael and Allie for breakfast in Dallas. It was great to see them and exciting to take a ride in Michael’s new Honda Accord – which he modified to be self-driving! We even went on the highway! I knew about this new frontier, thanks to my hero, Clark Howard. Basically, a kit is purchased and free open software is used to convert a car to self-driving. So, Dan and I are among those who have ridden in self-driving cars, and Michael, is in the even more exclusive club of having modified his own, very costly, new Honda Accord in this way. Needless to say, we’re impressed with the self-driving car, and with Michael’s implementation of the kit and the software; although, I am not surprised: Michael has been making and modifying and impressing since he could turn his little wrist to take something apart.
For so many years, my thoughts of Waco were only of destruction and the knowledge it was prelude to even more destruction and evil. But out of the ashes and the passing of many years, has come a new Waco. While there are still poor areas around, I always felt safe. And while the fixer upper homes are surrounded by potential future charming homes, the downtown area is walkable, shoppable and enjoyable. While the Fixer Upper show is over, the upsurge for Waco doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Since we’ve left, we’ve heard of plans for Chip and Jo to open a coffee shop, and secondly, they bought a castle! Plus Jimmy Don is going to get his own real store; his store is currently a trailer across from the Silos. Like the man in the golf cart, we will return. I’d like to see it all again, the updates, the enhancements to the Waco National Mammoth Monument, and attractions we missed, like the Dr. Pepper Museum and the Texas Ranger Museum – which Dan really wants to see. I know! – I’ll use Google Maps to get us to the Ranger Museum – which will just so happen to take us by as many featured Fixer Upper homes as I can possibly figure.