I was just in New York City for Thanksgiving with family and stopped off at the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair for a quick peek before catching a train upstate. This is the fourth year out of the past 10 that I've made it to one or another of New York's holiday markets.
Score! A velvety black scarf with a colorful, artistic pattern and a gold necklace, choker length. What do you mean, who am I buying them for? Me, of course.
We're talking hundreds of artisans and vendors. New York's markets are fashioned after the Northern European holiday markets that set up in public squares and piazzas. (Bring your scarf and mittens, even if you plan to buy more. It's usually cold out there.)
I've sought them out in Saquisili and Otavalo, Ecuador, where I didn't recognize half the exotic fruits. (More on Ecuador here and here.) There was El Rastro, the flea market in Madrid. Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. The leather stalls in Florence, Italy. And so many more. I'm itching to go shopping as we speak!
And right here in Washington, D.C., we have Eastern Market, the last of Washington's 19th century markets to remain in continuous operation. It has a flea market, a food market and arts and crafts and jewelry galore.
Then, there are the farmers markets at various locations in D.C. on Saturdays and Sundays. Gorgeous fruits and vegetables, fresh breads, jams, yarns, two-foot-long brussel sprout stalks with sprouts you twist off to cook. You name it.
Who out there lives in places with great markets that we all should be thinking about visiting? Please tell us about them.
Top Photo: Otavalo, Ecuador
Photos, Ellen Perlman: Radishes, apples, at the Dupont Circle farmer's market.