A photo from last Sunday.
Susan Montgomery of Examiner.com recently spent some time with us. Ms. Montgomery was in town to visit Oxnard again. The article she wrote is called Oxnard Revisited, Better Than Ever. Oxnard is profiled so beautifully and the article includes 20 photos from restaurants and places around our town.
We are delighted Ms. Montgomery had a wonderful time with us. She wrote:
Gondola Cruise via Gondola Paradiso
A highlight of my Oxnard visit was cruising through the picturesque Channel Islands Harbor on a real Venetian gondola called Gondola Paradiso. Entrepreneur Mark Schooling has brought this serene form of water travel to Oxnard and it’s the perfect way to see the boats in the harbor and the lovely homes on the shores. For a few moments, we felt transported to Venetian canals, although I believe the water is more sparkling and beautiful in the Oxnard harbor. As we relaxed and savored the scenery, we sipped wine and savored a very nice lunch supplied by a restaurant on the shore called Fresco II. Mark even serenaded us with a lovely rendition of “Blue Moon.” (Moonlight gondola cruises are also available.) To make reservations, call 805-612-4475.
Please go to Examiner.com to read the full article. She really does showcase Oxnard into a beautiful town that it is.
Wednesday the 15th of May Gondola Paradiso was fortunate to have a
wonderful couple out for their anniversary. It was a special night, they
were celebrating their 59th wedding anniversary. All of us here at
Gondola Paradiso want to wish Rob and Rita May a happy 59th and we hope to
see you again next year!
The May’s had the fortune to have their anniversary land on a rare day.
One where you get both the sunset and the moon rise. After a record
breaking 102F degree high for the day the weather cooled off to a lovely
70 degrees. We watched the sun set as we headed around Coral Island. On
the way back we had a perfectly timed moonrise amongst the palm trees
between two of the condo buildings. The photo does not do the scene
Happy Anniversary Rob and Rita!
This coming Saturday Gondola Paradiso will be featured on the Tom and Sandy 805 show. The show airs on KVTA 1590 on Saturday mornings from 7am to 10am. Tom and Sandy will be interviewing the owner, Mark Schooling, about the gondola service. Tune in to be a part of the conversation, then call Gondola Paradiso to make a reservation!
Also…if you see our rolling billboard, honk to say “Hi”
First of, thanks Chris and Amber. You have done a wonderful job restoring Teresa. She was a beautiful boat from the beginning. Although, after over 20 years in storage she needed some love to get back into shape and you gave her the attention she needed. Everyone who sees her glide down the canals around Coral Island has given me compliments on how great she looks.
Bepi, Thank you for asking to come along. At times when I had a moment I looked your way and it made me smile. I could see you were enjoying the experience. In part because it was fun to watch. On the other hand because all you really had to do was watch and not worry about the boat, the trailer or any of the rest of it all. It was great to have you and everyone else along to see Teresa move to her new home.
Konnor, it was good to see you come along. I know things ran smoother with the move because you were there. You and Greg made a great team. I am still looking into your suggest shipping method for the new batela that is being built in Washington State. If it happens I will let everyone know it was your idea.
Last but not least, thank you Greg, I can’t say that enough. I need to move the gondola, I thought of who might be interested in helping out. I figured that you would want to see Teresa and I figured you would come up to see the location sometime. Your self diagnosis of gondola psychosis is well know. With this knowledge I figured I may as well roll it all into one trip… and have you bring Teresa with you. It was very good to hear when you said that you would be willing to move the boat with me. It was a smoother loading and hauling then anyone could hope for. Teresa got on the trailer smoothly and quickly. I found it funny that every time I tried to tie things down with a bungee cord you gave me just enough time to figure out it was not going to work and then walked up and put on a zip tie on 2 seconds. Your experience in moving gondolas showed.
I think it is a testament to everyone evolved how smoothly everything went. Everyone showed up not only to move the gondola, but also to get the chance to row her for a while. By the end of the day I leaned everyone was there for another reason, to help a friend.
So, to Greg, Konnor, Bepi, Chris and Amber, thank you for all of your help. Moving a gondola can be a stressful and frustrating day, but for
me it was not. You all helped to make Teresa’s move a quick, painless and successful experience.
I was recently giving a new gondolier some advice for rowing in heavy wind, “Don’t think of getting to the end of the cruise, think of moving forward one foot. If you can move one foot, you can move another and eventually you will make it back to the dock.” I am now feeling that the same advice works for starting a gondola service. It is a long way to the beginning, you just have to take that first step to get there.
“You are who you are because of where you were when.” – Morris Massey
Sixteen and a half years ago I walked up to the office of Gondola Company of Newport answering a job ad at a local Jr. College. Gondolier? Sounded different, and not in an office, I was hooked. After weeks of practice I eventually passed the test and became a gondolier plying the canals of Newport Beach. I became a member of a select and rare breed, the American Gondolier.
People ask how long it takes to learn to be a gondolier. I tell them, “A few weeks to learn to row, 2 years to know what your doing, 5 to 7 years to get good at it.” After 16 and a half years I can still say that I am learning things. There is always an opportunity to see something new and different, whether it is with the customers, the business side of things or even with rowing the gondola itself. You always have to keep your mind open, looking for new and better ways of doing things.
Gondola’s are an amazing thing. Few people learn the true art of handling these special boats. I have been fortunate to have the time and ability to learn how to row such unique vessels. It is hard to describe the anxious excitement waiting for the first boat I am having built to be finished so I can hop on and feel her under my feet. More about her in a later post.
One of the exciting things about opening a gondola service is that you can do things how you wish, yet that is not completely true. While Gondola Paradiso is my gondola service, every place that I worked for in the past is a part of it. This photo is a great example.
For anyone who as ridden or rowed a gondola cruise at Bepi’s gondola servizio in Sunset Beach they would recognize the lantern configuration on Teresa in the picture above. It is simple, elegant, and looks thoroughly Venetian yet, is a purely Californian design.
Every gondola company I have worked for has influenced who I am today. Every gondola company is a part of Gondola Paradiso. For this I have to say thanks to…
My home away from home. 16 and a half years of rowing for Gondola Company of Newport as allowed me to hone my skills not only from a rowing perspective but, they gave me the foundations of how a gondola service is operated. The core of my knowledge and experience comes from here. The friendly atmosphere and treating everyone as a member of the family is a major part of what I will take away from Gondola Company of Newport.
Bepi gave me my first opportunity to row an authentic, squero built (venetian boat yard), gondola. It took me 12 years to set foot on a true Venetian gondola. His “Gondola Get-Togethers” are an event not to be missed. It is the one place where as a gondolier that you can feel that same wonderful feeling your passengers feel every cruise. I would be remiss if I did not mention a big thank you for his hosting of the 2nd Annual U.S. Gondola Nationals. It was an incredible event enjoyed by all.
Gondola Getaway provided an intriguing opportunity. No where in America is there a more divergent group of gondolas in one place. Most company’s have 1 type of gondola, with subtle variations. At Gondola Getaway they have a large range of boats. From the little sondolo to the racing pupparin all the way up to the huge 14 passenger Carolina. Every boat requires a different technique, in stance and how you handle the oar. Gondola Getaway showed me that there is no “one way” to row in the Venetian style.
I should also tip my hat to Mac, the manager of Gondola Getaway. He has done amazing work since taking over managing the business a year and a half ago.
While I never rowed for Gondola Adventures, located across the bay from the Gondola Company of Newport in Newport Beach, I saw Gondola Greg and his gondoliers nearly every day for 16 years. It was only in half jest when I would tell my customers that I would knock the Gondola Adventures gondoliers off their boats with my oar like a jousting knight, if only they were not so fast that they could run away. It was all in good humor. I always liked to row past those gondoliers and have some funny little thing to say to see them laugh. “Look out for the hippo around the bend, she is grumpy today!”
I have more thanks to say to Greg, the owner of Gondola Adventures, but that is for a later post.
That is all for now, I can’t express the gratitude I feel for everyone who has helped me with my new endeavor. Best wishes and good luck. I migliori e buona fortuna!
Mark Schooling Owner and Gondolier
Moving Teresa was a big job but it went smoothly and Teresa is at home in the Channel Island Harbor. Take a look at part 3 of GondolaGreg’s blog about getting Teresa in the harbor….
Monday, January 13, 2014
Teresa Moves to Oxnard – the Splashing
After all the loading, strapping, and driving, we arrived in Oxnard. The various removable pieces were set in place and the Teresa was ready to grace the waters of Channel Islands Harbor.
An eye-catching detail, added moments after the gondola splashed into the water, was this dramatic brass bowpiece – suitable for Alex Hai’s gondola in Venice, known as “Pegasus”.
Tim rowed Teresa masterfully,
Finally Mark stepped on the back and took over, here’s an over-the-shoulder shot.
If I do say so myself, he looks great on the back of that boat.
This continues our series in Teresa’s journey up to Oxnard. Gondola Greg document the entire move on his blog www.GondolaGreg.com. Please read part 2 of Teresa’s moving day.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
About six weeks ago Mark Schooling asked me if I could provide him with a trailer some time in January. Later we talked about some of his plans for the boat that would travel on that trailer. The gondola, known as “Teresa”, holds a very special place in US gondola history – another story for another time.
Since our first conversation about the trailer we’ve talked a few times about the challenges and blessings of running your own gondola business. Then, on Saturday, January 11th it was time: time to load the boat on the trailer and bring her to her new home.
This was a nice little gathering of gondola friends. Tim Reinard of Sunset Gondola was there, a gondolier from Tim’s operation, Chris and his girlfriend, along with gondolier Konnor Boivin from my operation, and of course, Mark – who was experiencing all of the wonderful and stressful emotions associated with boat moving, boat launching, and business launching too.
We met at the boat in the late morning, assessed the situation, and got busy loading her onto the trailer. We had many options at our disposal, but the Rugby Team approach made the most sense in this situation.
The gondola was lined up with the trailer, and heavy duty lifting straps
gave us the ability to lift her with minimal rail-grabbing.
To aid in the forward movement, inflatable fenders served as rollers.
The saying “many hands make light work” certainly applies to gondola moving.
Gondola on trailer, no damage done, no fingers broken, and everybody smiling.
Once she was strapped down, we headed down the road, making our way to Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, California.