I recently enjoyed a gondola ride on Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. Torin, our gondolier, sang to us and regaled us with Oakland history. For example, did you know that Walt Disney gathered ideas for his iconic theme park by visiting Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland? Lake Merritt is the country’s first officially designated wildlife refuge, granted that status in 1870.
We also enjoyed some cheery pinot grigio, sipped from the Gondola Servizio’s own glasses. Gondola Servizio owns and operates two authentic Venetian gondolas, and during the winter months they even offer rides under a felze, the wooden cover used on gondolas of yore. If you need a little Venice fix and can’t afford the plane ticket, this is a pretty good alternative much closer to home!