Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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This one may just be my absolute favorite list I have compiled so far for my weekly editions of Wanderlust Ten.
Spring Break as a teacher is a wonderful thing, it always comes at just the right moment, a week full of anticipation and rest, excitement and ease. This teacher’s spring break aligns exactly with one of the busiest weeks of the year for my husband at work, so that always poses a fun challenge of planning. Last year for spring break, using the time that we had, my mom and I decided to embark on a mother/daughter trip to no other place then the fixer upper & ship-lap capital of the world, Waco, Texas. And boy did we have fun. The week was full of so many sweet moments, moments full of dreaming and drooling over all of the southern charm we saw and got to experience throughout our four day adventure through Waco, Texas.
As per usual, I spent quite a bit of time before hand researching blogs & travel itineraries from other Fixer Upper obsessed wanderers and we embarked on quite a list of adventure. So to keep with tradition, I have compiled your Top Ten Must-Sees and Dos of Waco, Texas. (If you are looking for more logistics of our stay, well you can scroll through the bottom, but I am a girl who loves her lists and will begin there!)
3. Explore Cameron Park. – If you have been following my posts since the beginning of the Wanderlust Ten series then you should have noticed that I am a big fan of the outdoors and nature. I tend to think better and be more tune with my heart & spirit when I am outside and one of my absolute favorite parts of traveling is getting to explore more of the beautiful outdoors. Cameron Park in Waco, Texas is a beautiful playground in the sense that it is filled with so many different, unique things. From beautiful views overlooking the Brazos River, cliffs, a very thorough trail system, perfect for hikers, bikes, and joggers. In addition, there are multiple playgrounds and splash pads for young ones, pavilions perfect for picnics and gatherings, sweet points of interest at Lovers Leap and Jacob’s Ladder, as well as paddling trails for kayaking, and paddle boarding. Getting outside and exploring nature is one of my absolute favorites and this park is a massive and definitely did not disappoint.
4. Cameron Park Zoo. – Since it was a mother/daughter trip, and I have plenty of sweet memories with my mom growing up and going to the zoo together, we definitely enjoyed our visit to the Cameron Park Zoo. Additionally, my sister’s name is Cameron so we felt an even deeper connection to this adventure. Cameron Park Zoo is within Cameron Park (see #3) and located along the Brazos River. Charging only $10 per adult admission, this is definitely an adventure you will want to add to your Waco itinerary. Explore the many different exhibits, our personal favorite was the African Safari as we made friends with a giraffe we called Jeffrey.
5. Dine at Homestead. Make plans to escape to this sweet ranch and enjoy fabulous food, sweet conversation and a step back to simpler times. Café Homestead is the restaurant at Homestead Heritage. Homestead Heritage is an agrarian, & craft-based Christian community in Waco that includes a craft village, general store, farmers market, restaurant, and pottery. We dined at the restaurant, Homestead Café, and enjoyed a delicious soup & sandwich combo. The meal as well as their ice cream were divine and definitely worth a visit. All the food is natural and locally sourced.
6. Road trip to McGregor, Texas – Magnolia House, JDH Iron Designs, Coffee Shop Café. One of the sweetest things about Texas is that as you drive around this beautiful state, the views are full of clear, blue open skies and wildflowers, everywhere! We took our rental car on a 30 minute drive to McGregor, Texas home of the Magnolia House, Jimmy Don and one of the best home cooked meals I have ever had. The Magnolia House is the bed & breakfast that Chip & Jo built and its full of charm and southern hospitality. While, you have to plan months and months in advance if you are planning on staying there, we enjoyed appreciating the view from across the street. From the Magnolia House we drove fifteen miles along some even grander country roads to Valley Mills, Texas to pay a visit to Jimmy Don and to look at his iron works. We enjoyed looking at all the wonderful iron works and on our way out we even met Jimmy Don ourselves. Now, talk about a true genuine, he came out of his way to say hi and to thank him for visiting. Since our trip, they have renovated the Jimmy Don cabin that was seen on an episode of the last season of Fixer Upper and is now open for reservations. Definitely worth checking out. After our trip to see Jimmy Don, we headed back to McGregor and enjoyed a true, southern cooking at the Coffee Ship Café, highly rated, this café is a true gem and be prepared to leave with your pants a lot more tighter. Be sure to make room for their pies, because they were absolutely dessert-worthy. Before heading back to Waco, be sure to take a moment and walk through some of Chip & Jo’s favorite antique stops that have been featured on quite a few episodes of Fixer Upper – The Cedar Chest Too Antique Mall, The Strand, and Hidden Talents Antiques and Gifts.
7. The Magnolia Tour: Harp Design Co, the old storefront, Firestone Tire Shop. Embark on your own local tour of Waco, Texas true Fixer Upper style by looking at all the monumental locations in Chip & Jo’s journey. Start off at Clint Harp’s shop and pay a visit at the house that Chip & Jo fixed up for them (they no longer live there now, but it is still great to look at and admire). Also, the Harp Design Co store is so much fun to look through, definitely a lot of great gift options as well as many things to take home as souvenirs. Also, drive by the old storefront where the first Magnolia shop was – this is where everything began back in 2003 for the Gaines and Magnolia, and now it was recently reopened to be the Magnolia Warehouse Shop where shoppers can browse and purchase discounted items. Also make plans to drive by the Firestone Tire Shop – where Jo used to work.
8. Coffee at Common Grounds – Pay a visit to the Baylor Campus and enjoy coffee as a local. While you are at it you may want to purchase a coffee mug or shirt to remember this sweet place while back at home. Common Grounds is the ideal coffee shop for college students, friends, business men or simply anyone who needs a moment to sit, relax and reflect on life. With plenty of seating options inside or out, this homey vibe will definitely revive your soul. Also, their Caramel Coffee Crunch is absolutely amazing, I got it iced.
9. Explore local antique stores: – Junque in the Trunk, Laverty’s, , Christi’s Interiors, Hidden Talent Gifts & Antiques, Junky Monkey, La Grange Shoppes Lane’s on Austin, LaSalle Shoppes, Salvage Sisters, Spice Village, The Findery, The Findery Marketplace. While in Waco, you might as well rock the Jo vibe and venture into all the many cute, unique, different shops & stores the city limit has to offer. Right across the street from the Silos, the Findery Marketplace is a beautiful, two-story treasure chest of gorgeous home furnishings. Also nearby is Spice Village, a heaven for shopping enthusiasts alike, with home to over 60 boutiques, you can definitely spend a few hours in here with no regret!
10. Waco Hippodrome – definitely one of my favorite memories of the trip. On Sunday night, we purchased tickets to go see Beauty and the Beast (it had just come out in theaters a few weeks prior) and we had a wonderful time enjoying the movie while indulging in food and drinks at this historic location. This historic theater shows current movie releases, as well as classics and live musical performances in addition to serving a full-service dining. This historic theater first opened February 7, 1914 (just to put this in perspective and since I am a full-time history teacher – this is the same year that World War I started)
We flew into Dallas from Atlanta on a Saturday morning (Honestly, the prices were cheaper to fly into Dallas than they would have been to fly into Austin. But it is very common for people to fly into Austin first, explore the city then road trip for a day or two to Waco. We rented a car from the airport in Dallas and headed to Waco, Texas (about an one and a half drive). Once in Waco we checked into our hotel, the Residence Inn, Marriott. The location of the hotel was easily accessible to the main points of interest throughout Waco, Texas. We stayed in Waco, Texas until Wednesday morning, which gave us more than enough time to truly explore and take in all the sights that we hoped to take in and more. The list above showcases the highlights of our entire trip, it truly was a remarkable time. On Wednesday morning we drove back to Dallas with plans of returning home to Atlanta on a flight that was to depart around noon. However, this was back in early April 2017 where the Atlanta airport basically shut down due to severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings, so our original flight got cancelled and we were rescheduled on another flight that was to depart that evening. So we took a little detour in Grapevine, Texas (an extremely country town) and enjoyed a lunch followed by some wine tasting at a local wine shop. Then we headed back to the airport where we continued to wait from 3:00 pm until midnight, when they announced that all flights had been cancelled. Our flight was rescheduled for Friday afternoon (keep in mind this was Wednesday). So we found the only nearby hotel that had remaining reservations, took an airport shuttle to the hotel (with other frustrated and exhausted travelers) and checked in to our room around 2:00 am. Now, being a teacher, I was in a huge rush to get back home as I had track practice, a track meet, and a pretty large amount of grading that still needed to be done to complete and the thought of being stuck in Texas (no offense) for another 48 hours was causing a lot of stress and anxiety for me. So, my mom is a rockstar, and when I woke up that next morning, we had a car booked and then spent the next 12 hours driving from Dallas to Atlanta. Talk about a road trip, and talk about making some memories.
This trip was truly a trip of a lifetime and memories were created with my sweet momma that I will treasure forever.