In 2017 I wrote about our earlier visit to a European Christmas Market in Paris. Three years ago, Boston brought the Christmas Market concept to the city. First, we had Boston Holiday Market on City Hall Plaza until that location was torn up for renovation. Now we have the Holiday Market at Snowport (outdoors) and the SOWA Winter Festival (indoors).
Visiting the Snowport
My husband and I went to the Holiday Market at Snowport this past Sunday with memories of that Paris market in our heads. We visited on a Sunday, which was not a good idea because the market was very crowded. Still, the organizers, WS Development, managed the crowds well and the lines moved quickly. (Also, we took advantage of cheaper parking on weekends.)
Inside we found the same kinds of chalets you see in Europe, over 120 of them, with a wide variety of goods, many handcrafted, in all sorts of materials. Products included gourmet treats, clothing, artwork, home décor, and jewelry. If you want gifts more personal and unusual than what you’ll find online or even at the mall, check out the Snowport’s chalets.
The weather being colder than I expected, we both bought hats and then a jigsaw puzzle to bring home. Business seemed brisk and many of the chalets were filled with people.
Outdoor Dining at the Snowport
WS Development dedicated the whole west end of the market to 14 “dining concepts” and most of it looked pretty darned good. In Europe, they roast ham and beef and salmon over open fires. Here in Boston, vendors took a less fiery approach but there was plenty of hot chocolate, mulled wine, cider doughnuts and other goodies. A tent provides tables and chairs, so you don’t have to eat standing up and jostled by shoppers.
The one menu item that caught my eye involved a huge cheese wheel that had been hollowed out. The vendors cooked fettucine, then twirled it in the wheel’s cavity where it picked up a thick coating of cheese. If you like mac and cheese, you will love the cheese wheel.
Attracting Shoppers to the Chalets
The Snowport offered multiple events, like tree-lighting ceremonies, throughout December as a way of attracting shoppers. They also sell Christmas trees, although I must have missed them.
Although smaller than European Christmas markets, the Snowport has grown and, in its third year, has started a tradition here in Boston. Where it will pop up next year is an open question, however. According to The Fort Pointer, WS Development also owns the space the Snowport currently occupies. Parcels D and G, has full permits for an office tower.
Presumably, any structure that rises here will fit right in as among the bland, characterless, glass-walled office/lab buildings so prevalent now in the Seaport. Given the current lull in commercial real-estate development, though, that construction might not happen right away.
How to Visit the Snowport
The Snowport is open until February 26, except for Christmas Day and December 26. If you go, park before you get there: Traffic backs up the closer you get.
Should you decide to eat inside a warm restaurant, you will find plenty nearby. None of them have figured out the Snowport is a marketing opportunity, though. They could have people walking the line of visitors, distributing coupons for a free drink or dessert, 10 percent off the check, or some other offer that would attract cold shoppers in for lunch or dinner. I’m just sayin’. You can take the woman out of marketing but the ideas keep on coming.
I recommend getting out this holiday season. Bundle up and make your way to the Snowport.