Fresh As a Magnolia in Waco
Oklahoma City was a quick, one night turnaround, which is not our preferred method of travel. But with our final destination in sight, we gladly got packed up and departed Twin Fountains RV Resort. With a short visit to Oklahoma City now in the rearview mirror, entering the Lone Star State was on the agenda for today. The travel route was pretty clear for the day, I-35 South. The distance was just under 300 miles, a little far for us, but certainly doable. Our only major obstacle for the day was getting around the traffic and construction in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. But with our patience in full display, we navigated our planned route.
Our first night in the State of Texas was near the city of Waco. There was a couple of reasons for our decision to stop for the night here. One, it was a comfortable driving distance and basically in between Oklahoma City and Port Lavaca, TX. Two, since we are fans of the HGTV channel, and more specifically, the show “Fixer Upper”, we were drawn to Magnolia Market at the Silos. Yes, Chip and Joanna’s “little” business venture in downtown Waco has been on our Bucket List since it opened.
We arrived at our destination early in the afternoon on Saturday after an uneventful drive down I-35. I-35 RV Park was in the perfect location for our one night stop. It was directly along the highway, easy in / easy out, and only 25 minutes from Downtown Waco, the home of Magnolia Market at the Silos. The large pull-thru sites allowed us to easily park and set up before jumping in the car to head towards Waco. You see, we were kinda on a tight schedule. Magnolia Market was only open until 6:00 pm, and tomorrow was not an option since the Market is closed on Sundays. But have no fear, we can move quickly, and with a purpose, when we need to. Ok, now for the bad news, we were not able to secure arrangements to have dinner with Chip and Joanna! It’s not like we were the only ones to think we would show up at Magnolia Market at the Silos and Chip and Joanna would be standing at the door to greet us with snacks served on a piece of ship lap. No, this is a much larger operation than that. The Silos are literally multiple city blocks in size and contain multiple businesses at this one location.
It was a quick 25 minute drive down I-35 from the campground to downtown Waco. Along the way we saw the football stadium and several other structures on the campus of Baylor University. From a distance it appeared to be a very scenic campus, which was pretty much integrated with the city of Waco. On our next pass thru it may be fun to investigate Baylor a little closer. But today we were on a mission. Google maps got us to the stop sign right in front of Magnolia Market at the Silos. Yep, just as it looked on TV. But what were all of these people doing here? It was almost a carnival-like atmosphere in front of the complex. And at initial glance, it looked like parking was going to be an issue. Remember, this was all late on a Saturday afternoon, about three hours before closing time! There was a church across the street charging $10 to park in their parking lot while visiting the Silos. Obviously, the Magnolia Market was stimulating the economy, at least in the immediate vicinity. After taking our time, and reading the street signs, Chip and Joanna had us covered with FREE parking. Yes, all we had to do was drive a couple of more blocks, turn right, and go into their parking lot. Which conveniently was connected to the back of the Silos property. Thanks Chip and JoJo! After parking in the quite full parking lot, we entered through the rear gates. At first glance the property was quite large, with multiple structures and buildings. We were going to need a plan if we were going to see everything we wanted to see. Screw the plan, let’s just walk and see what we can see!
The entire complex is built around a central lawn, which for practicality, is really artificial turf. The central lawn is a big open space with chairs, tables and games. It is basically meant to be a place for families to hang out and relax. The day we visited there were families relaxing, playing corn hole, throwing frisbee, kicking a soccer ball, really just chilling out.
The back of the property is lined with 10 or 11 food trucks serving up a variety of grub and drink. Everything from crepes and pizza to coffee and popcorn. The day we visited several of the trucks were closed, however, we were still able to find a couple of good gluten free options in the form of a tasty crepe (thanks Co-Town Crepes) and delicious grilled cheese sandwich (thanks Cheddar Box!).
The main, and largest, building on the property was the Magnolia Market. The Market was a collection of souvenirs (hats, t-shirts and books) and the type of interior home accessories you would expect from Joanna. There wasn’t as much ship lap on the walls as I had expected, but you got that ship lap feel just being there. Now, living in a 400 square foot RV, these types of home interior accessories are definitely not on our wish list, but it was still cool to browse and see what was for sale. Being there in November we were also able to see the beginning of their Holiday decorations for sale. Everything was beautiful, displayed nicely, but nothing caught our eye and became a must buy item for us.
Back outside, we wandered through the Magnolia Seed & Supply section, which was essentially a small nursery and garden on the property. Again, very cool to look at, but since our yard is normally owned by the campground we are staying at, we made it out of there without a purchase.
The thing we saved for last was the attraction with the longest line, The Silos Baking Co. This little corner of the property was also, by the way, the sweetest part of the entire complex. As we approached the little, brick building, it seemed like there was a line out the door. No biggie, I’ve waited in line for sweets before, especially when there are gluten free options inside. When we followed the line and turned the corner, it was quite a significant line. It’s ok, we got time! While we were waiting in line, an employee came by and was handing out cards on which they asked you to have filled out when you got in the store. Very orderly. Although we prefer to SEE our sweets before we order then, we were good little customers and filled out the card. Besides, the gluten free options were limited, so my decision was easy. Betsy had many more options, so hers may have been a little more difficult. Once inside we gave them our card, paid, and a couple of minutes later, we were handed our sweets, which happened to be several flavors of cookies! Well, that was it. We saw everything and made it back to the parking lot before they kicked us out at 6:00 pm. Back to our home at I-35 RV Park for the evening.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our breakfast on Sunday morning at the campground. You see, I-35 RV Park had a nice little amenity that Betsy and I have always thought would be a nice touch for any campground, free breakfast. Now, I realize that most RV’s come equipped with a kitchen where one can make their own breakfast. But who doesn’t enjoy a fresh, made-to-order breakfast with no clean up afterwards. Breakfast was prepared by a couple of women who live at the campground and work for tips. It was a nice touch and a nice finish to a pleasant stay at I-35 RV Park. On to Port Lavaca!