Monday, November 25, 2013

A childhood Christmas memory. The Enchanted Village.

Before the all the malls, at least around here, the place to do your major Christmas shopping was downtown Boston at downtown crossing where the two major department stores in New England, Jordan Marsh and Filene's resided. They were located right across the street from each other. Both are now gone. Jordan Marsh in particular was a destination at Christmas time because they had the Enchanted Village of St. Nick. A group of animated figures set in a fictional village at Christmas. I remember my mother taking my sister and I into Boston. I always liked riding the buses and trains into town. The hustle and bustle of downtown Boston was exciting and we knew we were going to the Enchanted Village at Jordan Marsh including a visit to see and get a picture with Santa. Macy's swallowed up both department stores sometime in the 80's.


For whatever reason Jordan Marsh stopped the Enchanted Village in 1972. It reappeared a couple of times over the following years at a couple of other Boston locations. In 2009 the Enchanted Village animated figures and sets were put up for auction and were purchased by Jordan's Furniture, no relation to Jordan Marsh, a large furniture chain in the area. They refurbished everything and a few years ago the Enchanted Village was brought back to life. Arlene and  I went a few years ago and I probably blogged about it on Spaces. Well we went back this passed Sunday. It was a cold windy day, though sunny. We travelled about 18 miles south of Boston to the town of Avon. Location of a very large Jordan's Furniture. It was crowded with families with little children and nostalgic baby boomers like ourselves reliving old happy childhood memories. We both enjoyed it. It even included the blueberry muffin's they sold at Jordan Marsh, not the original ones, a bit stale by now, but supposedly the original recipe and you could tell they used fresh blueberries. 

One word about Jordan's Furniture. It is an unusual company. There's an Imax theater, a skating rink, a motion ride called M.O.M and a few more things I can't recall. They have a New Orleans theme during the Mardi Gras when they recreate a New Orleans street scene in the very store we were at. It's the largest in they chain. They combined furniture shopping with entertainment. Truly unique. Warren Buffet was so impressed with the business he bought the company. The former owner Elliot Tatleman is still the face of the company and is still all over television. Jordan's has a big sign on the right center field wall in conjunction with a "Monster Hit" promotion. If a Red Sox player hit's a home run off the sign somehow, somebody get's some kind of special deal.
After the Enchanted Village we went out to dinner at our favorite local restaurant, Raso's.
We started out with our usual "antipasto".

Antipasto $12 (great to share)

Roasted red peppers, marinated mushrooms, grilled asparagus, caponata, fresh mozzarella,

prosciutto di parma and soppressata

This is what Arlene had.

Marsala chicken $17 veal $19

Pan seared medallions with sautéed mushrooms and choice of penne or linguine

I had,
Linguine Julia $14

Pancetta, fresh tomatoes, sweet peas, basil, toasted garlic, parmesan cheese and a touch of cream,
tossed with linguine with grilled chicken $16.5 with grilled shrimp $18.5
So all in all, though it was cold and windy it was a nice day. A diversion for both us after working for a company who is desperately trying to re-establish itself after years of mismanagement by our previous owner, "SuperValu" which was neither super nor of any value. They ruined my original company which was a wonderful company to work for. They were the first supermarket in the country to offer a 401k retirement program for their workers. They were offering cooked foods before anybody around here. They were the ones who contacted Dow Chemical to develop the plastic mesh bags that you buy oranges and onions in bulk that spread across the whole industry. We had  bundle pick-ups. The customer would pay for their groceries which were then put into a tug, placed on a conveyer belt which would disappear into the bowels of the store. You went to your car, drive to the side of the building or a spot in the parking lot and someone would load your groceries in your trunk or back seat. We were the Cadillac of supermarkets around here. Then SuperValu happened, they started to change the badging on the stores and slowly killed the business. We are no longer owned by SuperValu. Efforts are now being made to trying to revive the name. I hope it's not too late. I am also considering retirement in the near future. My company's original name, Star Market. It's on Wikipedia.

So after all that blather here's a video of pictures and clips taken at the Enchanted Village yesterday. I wasn't using my camera. so some of the video clips go out of focus a couple of times. I don't like shooting pictures and video's buy looking at a little screen on the back of the camera. You can't steady the camera against your face like you can with a viewer. It' easier to frame a picture or video when you can hold the camera firmly against your face. It was also very crowded and difficult to get a clear shot. At the end of the Enchanted Village was an animated Ray Charles figure sitting at a piano singing Christmas songs. This wasn't part of the original village but pretty neat none the less. Here's the video.

OK I guess I've taken up enough of your time.
I'm outta here.



  1. Hubby watched Patriots/Denver and went to bed when Patriots score was 0 Denver 24. The laugh is on him! I also remember being taken to Macy's in Newark NJ with my mother and aunt to see the Christmas window displays of animated Santa, Mrs. Santa, elves, Sugar Plum Fairies, starry snowing skies and winter wonderlands. This was in the 40's and very memorable. The music was lovely as well, with speakers. emitting Christmas music to the streets.

  2. The video is awesome! I can see how you would have fond memories of The Enchanted village!

    I think that you and Arlene had a really good meal. I love that kind of food. I have a visit to Boston on my Bucket List.

    I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving Paul. It's almost time for you to be a year older!!

  3. I forgot to tell you that your header picture is beautiful!

  4. blessings....
    signs of the times. traditions are only upheld if people (powers that be) support and invest in its up keep, if not like everything else it fades.

    I see you are in the spirit of Xmas. I haven't done a thing, you wouldn't know Xmas was less than a month a way by way of my house.

    have a good one.

  5. Memories and traditions. Wonderful things. The video was great. I can understand those memories. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. Wonderful Memories I can understand how this was a lovely adventure for you as a child. Happy to hear you both had a lovely day and tasty meal sounds awesome.
    Loved the Video and thank you for sharing.