Call us holiday market connoisseurs. When the Niederösterreich newsletter arrived in my inbox, listing the “most beautiful markets,” of the season  I pored over it like I once did the Toys R Us catalog as a I child. And why not?  So many palaces and castles that rarely open to the public fill their rooms with holiday greenery and handcrafted, locally produced goods for just one weekend, making visit feel like a mini-holiday. Add in a spectacular setting, and we are happy daytrippers. With so many markets to choose from, though, we have only made rare return visits in our soon-to-be four Christmases in Vienna.

During the holiday season our first year in Vienna, 2012, we visited the Advent market at Schloss Grafenegg. In one of the beautiful rooms I spied nativity pieces of handmade felted wool, and brought home the Holy Family.  In the three years since I have not found any felted wool nativities at any of the markets we’ve visited, though I had been looking to add pieces to the collection.  So, back to Grafenegg Anna Grace and I went with the hope of adding to the collection.
The castle is a treat for the eyes, one of just two in the romantic historicism style in Austria. Its lineage is a tangled web, though never passing into Hapsburg hands. Russians used the castle as HQ in the post-war years, promptly looting and destroying parts of the structure, which has since been restored.
Room after decorated room we walked, remarking on the caliber of the craftsmanship, selecting a couple of decorative items for the home, and sampling any and everything that looked delicious.














Beautiful craftsmanship. Beautiful price tag of €2.250 on this Christmas pyramid. We did not observe anyone making a purchase.

The outside market offered many epicurean wares from some of my favorite Niederösterreich vendors.


The Best of the Pig.  Indeed, we’ll sample.



Poppy seed likor? Thank you, but we’ll pass.

Our return visit was a success; the Shepherd, an Angel, and the Three Wise Men came home with us.  The next project will be to find a suitable creche…