Shop the Antique, the Vintage, and the Collectible in the Highland Lakes
BURNET — Barbara Hilton picked up the antiquing bug in the 1980s when a Houston friend invited her to give it a go. Now, more than 30 years later, Hilton still loves the thrill of the hunt, though she admitted she sleeps in later than when she first started.
“I don’t get up at 4:30 (in the morning) and try and make all the garage sales, estate sales, and things like that on weekends like I once did,” Hilton said.
The veteran antiquer believes the Highland Lakes should be on every treasure hunter's map.
“I think there are a lot of people who spend time here at the lakes and other things, but then they come and check out the stores and shops for antiques and collectibles,” she said.
“Antiquing” can mean shopping for a variety of things: antiques; vintage, retro, and repurposed goods; or just the strange and eclectic. The definition of an antique depends on who you ask, though based on a U.S. Customs Office decision in the 1930s, it officially is anything 100 years or older.
Others define an antique as something old with value, whether that value is monetary or personal.
Regardless of how you define it, the Highland Lakes offers plenty of places (and excuses) to head out on your own shopping adventure. In Marble Falls, Meagan Steele and her sister, Adrienne McKnight, took their love for farmhouse chic and turned it into ReDid, 209 Main St. in Marble Falls, a shop that features ... well, you really have to see it for yourself.
Steele and McKnight find, buy, and gather the antique, the vintage, and the eclectic and repurpose the items or simply stage them so people can see how a former chicken feeder can become a light fixture. (They’ve done that.)
“One thing that sets us apart, I think, is how we stage things,” said Steele about the showcase she and McKnight have created in their store. “If we can give people the vision on how it will look in their house, they’ll want it.”
“Vintage farmhouse, that’s really popular right now,” she added. “I love the simplicity and wholesomeness of the farmhouse style. I think people are looking for that simple lifestyle look.”
ReDid is just one of many shops in the Highland Lakes you can explore as you search for those unique treasures.
Hilton, who sells a range of collectibles and antiques at her booth in John and Carol Will’s Burnet Antique Mall, 206 S. Main St. in Burnet, explained that one of the best things about antique shopping in the Highland Lakes is the endless discoveries.
She puts in one day a week at the mall, where she helps customers and just enjoys the community atmosphere. Hilton pointed out that antique shops bring in the most interesting people — and items.
“When you come in a place like this, you’re likely to see something you’ve never seen in your life, and may never see again,” Hilton explained.
That’s part of the excitement of wandering through antique shops, vintage stores, and places such as ReDid and the Burnet Antique Mall: You never know what you'll discover — and it might be something you never knew you needed.
On the counter of the Burnet Antique Mall, shoppers will find a map outlining similar shops in Burnet. Something Hilton admires about the antiquing culture is that businesses support each other. If someone can't find what they're looking for in one antique store, the shopkeeper will often direct them to another business that has it.
“Here (Burnet Antique Mall), we have probably 10 different people selling things, and everyone has different things and tastes, so you won’t find the same things over and over,” Hilton pointed out. “It’s kind of the same way with the different stores. They all have different genres of things, so you might not find it in one place, but maybe another one.”
Along with the abundance of antique, vintage, and collectible stores in the Highland Lakes, shoppers can also hit local estate sales, auctions, garage sales, and second-hand shops. The Picayune newspaper's classifieds section advertises several such events in the area. (Pick up a free copy of the weekly community paper on newsstands across the Highland Lakes.)
The joy of antiquing doesn't always come from the purchase.
“It’s like so many other things in life, it’s the thrill of the hunt,” Hilton said with a laugh.
And the Highland Lakes offers some choice hunting grounds.
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