You can easily strain your MasterCard-extender muscle along this town's historic Main Street, about thirty miles northwest of San Antonio. At The Eclectic Collection, a gallery of works by more than one hundred artists and craftspeople, all but two of whom are from Texas, temptations include whimsical ceramics by Reed Keller and delicate pine-needle baskets by Mildred Cuffaro (210 S. Main, 830-248-1152; closed Sunday). Stylish home and garden furnishings, from European antiques to convincing reproductions, rule at Good & Co. (248 S. Main, 830-249-6101). Folks with a fetish for Seuss-esque furnishings by MacKenzie-Childs can indulge themselves at newcomer Viva Rouge (115 Staffel, 830-249-9787), while those with more-modest cravings—we're talking homemade pickles and vintage kitchen implements like an egg scale—will be satiated at Carousel Antiques and Pickles (118 S. Main, 877-249-9306), a Boerne fixture for more than seventeen years. Fashion plates can load up at Celeste , which carries the relaxed creations of San Antonio's Kathleen Sommers and distinctive jewelry by New York's David Aubrey (130 S. Main, 830-249-9660). At well-stocked Mockingbird Books, the focus is entirely on Texas and Texans, from literary fiction to guides detailing the state's birds, bugs, and botany (248 N. Main, 830-249-9634; closed Sunday and Monday).
The shopping challenge in this bustling Hill Country town west of Austin is sifting through the chaff to find the golden kernels. Two standout shops are the White Elephan (242 E. Main, 830-997-3175), whose textiles include rugs made in Texas of Texas wool, supersoft cotton bodywear from Switzerland, and baby blankets from Kentucky, and Villa Texas (234 W. Main, 830-997-1068; closed Monday), a sun-struck "Mediterranean lifestyle" shop (translation: old olive oil jars from Turkey, lavender products from Provence and Tuscany, rustic tableware from Italy). Homestead, which once boasted multiple stores across town, is now condensed into a single three-story building, with nooks devoted to past shops including Room No. 5, an ode to variations on white, and Idle Hours, an epicenter for eccentric garden accents (230 E. Main, 830-997-5551). Unique women's boutiques abound, from the romantic Haberdashery (151 E. Main, 830-990-2462)—think good fairies and seventies-era Stevie Nicks—to the more practical Jolie Pêche (206 S. Adams, 830-997-9528; closed Sunday)—think Flax and Eileen Fisher. At the fourteen-acre Fredericksburg Herb Farm, the four-inch pots of sage, creeping rosemary, and other plants will set you back a few bucks each, but the gardening inspiration is free (405 Whitney, 830-997-8615).
With its nineteenth-century buildings, ancient oaks, and rolling hills, this tiny Central Texas community plays the best hamlet in the state, with showstopping shops as well. Vintage and antique textiles from thirty countries—rustic sugar sacks from Marseille, samplers from Romania, heavenly Irish linens—take center stage at Antique European Linens and Decadence Down (106 N. Washington, 979-249-2070; closed Monday and Tuesday). The town's former brewery, built in 1873, showcases Old Stone Brewery Antiques, a rambling multivendor emporium stuffed with knickknacks and fine furniture (204 E. Mill, 979-249-5839; closed MondayWednesday); Butter Beans, a flirty clothing boutique full of rhinestones and ruffles (204 E. Mill, 979-249-3390; closed Monday and Tuesday); and the Wine Shop at Round Top, which stocks hundreds of vintages, from a modest Merlot to a $1,200 bottle of 1995 Pétrus (202 E. Mill, 979-249-5067; closed MondayWednesday). At The Apothecary, the gateway to the picturesque Henkel Square Museum Village, you'll find locally made Round Top Natural Soap toiletries, like lemon-mint lotion and lavender-patchouli soap (110 Live Oak, 979-249-3308; closed MondayWednesday). Note: Each fall and spring, this town morphs from hamlet to the battle scene from Macbeth when hundreds of vendors and tens of thousands of shoppers descend on the area for a week of antiques fairs.