It all started when HGTV brought light to a small, family-owned remodeling business in Waco, Texas. Now, it’s the city rising to the top of travelers’ bucket lists for its southern charm, inspiring rustic décor and good food. We wanted our members to experience the “Fixer Upper” city, along with the top southern entertainment featured on TV and radio. We ate, we shopped and we had our pictures taken with Ree and Ladd Drummond, the Pioneer woman—here are the highlights of our Fixer Upper and Much More tour.
We kicked off our first night in Music City. After grabbing a bite at Blake Shelton’s, “Ol’ Red”, we walked along Broadway in downtown Nashville. The nightlife in the city is truly alive, buzzing with country music and bright lights.
We then made our way to Little Rock, Arkansas. If you’re looking for a classic, southern dinner, Doe’s Eat Place is a must. A skid-row dive turned power brokers’ watering hole, this family-owned business serves massive steaks, hot tamales and broiled shrimp.
On day three we made our first stop in The Lone Star State and settled in Plano, Texas for the next two nights. Our 1980s soap opera fans absolutely loved visiting Southfork Ranch—the set of the TV drama, “Dallas”. After a tour of the “Dallas” ranch, we dug into a barbecue dinner at Southfork, while trying to remember who shot JR.
The following morning, we were bound for Waco, Texas! Our first stop in the “Fixer Upper” city was at Harp Design Co. Clint & Kelly Harp founded his company, which quickly gained fame for making handmade furniture with recycled and reclaimed wood. Many of their pieces are a patchwork of pine, oak, mahogany, walnut, poplar and other reclaimed woods rescued from old buildings, fallen trees and scrap piles. As fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines, everyone on tour loved seeing Clint’s wood work in person.
Next up, the Magnolia Market and the Silos. With white buildings and rustic woodwork, the market was just as gorgeous in person. Magnolia Market is filled with home décor pieces—from candles to vases to throw blankets, you’ll leave inspired to redecorate your entire home.
Bags packed with souvenirs, our next adventure took us to Oklahoma. Home to the famous Will Rogers, we stopped at his Memorial Museum, then journeyed onto his birthplace, the Dog Iron Ranch. After a tour of the 1870s working Longhorn cattle ranch, we enjoyed a barbecue dinner with live entertainment. The Will Rogers impersonator enlightened us with his homespun humor and rope tricks—it felt like we were dining with the vaudeville performer himself.
The next day was all about the Pioneer Woman Mercantile. Owned by Food Network’s TV show host Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, this shop is a must-see destination. The Pioneer Woman Mercantile began in 1910 as Osage Mercantile and was a place for trading goods. Ree and her family wanted to honor The Merc’s legacy and created a shopping experience that hints to an earlier time in small town America. Shopping at The Merc is a treasure hunt with surprises everywhere you turn—explore cabinets, browse shelves and peek in all the drawers. When you need a quick break, grab a bite at the deli or bakery. With comfort food classics in the deli and hand-crafted bakery items, the possibilities are endlessly delicious. Our group even had pictures taken with Ree and Ladd Drummond.
Our last night was spent in St. Louis, Missouri. We stopped in Chuck Berry’s Blueberry Hill, a restaurant and music club filled with the pop culture memorabilia of the father of Rock n’ Roll. You can’t go wrong with their award-winning hamburger—it’s known as a St. Louis classic. Afterwards we enjoyed free time downtown and walked along the Mississippi River. It’s the perfect spot the capture a picture of the iconic, 630-foot Gateway Arch.
This trip was truly an unforgettable adventure. Everyone loved this trip so much, we are bringing it back in 2020. If you’re interested in exploring from the Silos to the Mercantile next year, please call Mary Jo Bumbico at (614) 431-7804 to reserve your spot early.
Becky Delauder is a Journey Manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club.