Who Knew?: Gondola Rides in Boston
Hey Gang! Don’t forget to get us your #tlacgreen photos by tonight. We’ll be sharing this week’s favorites tomorrow!
Yes, I let a grown man wearing a straw hat with a long ribbon paddle me up and down the Charles River last Saturday. Yes, Conor was along for the ride. Yes, we had a surprisingly good time.
Apparently, there has been a company operating gondola rides in Boston for the past twelve years. I had no idea until we were gifted with a 45-minute tour and dinner afterwards by some very generous friends. I was a little skeptical at first but again, this is the summer of unexpected fun in unlikely places.
Our only instructions were to meet the boat near The Hatch Shell and to bring a bottle of wine if we were so inclined. Upon arrival, we found a little ticket booth manned by three grown men in black pants, wide-striped shirts, straw boater hats, and the aforementioned long ribbons. They put our wine on ice and escorted us to The Firenze. Now, I’m not quite sure what I expected, but this was a legitimate gondola. Black lacquer, brass accents, a cushy bench seat, and fringed footrests. Apparently, the owners source the boats from Italy and had one custom-made.
After a brief discussion of safety and the importance of not tipping over, our wine was brought down in an ice bucket along with a picnic basket of cheese, crackers, and chocolates. It was a cute touch.
I have to admit, I felt completely ridiculous at first. This screams of Bachelorette-style notions of what dates should be while in reality, we were about 25 feet away from shore moving at a snail’s pace while people walking along The Esplanade pointed and took pictures and people in sailboats tacked around us snickering and muttering “buona sera” in condescending tones. I was sweaty and started to get self-conscious. Luckily, we had that bottle of wine.
After a glass (or three) and catching a few opportune breezes, we both loosened up a little. I know this makes me sound like such a square but, the landscaping along The Esplanade is really beautiful. Everything looked so lush and I was surprised about all the quiet little benches and grassy spots there were to relax on. The pictures really don’t capture it.
Of course, by the time we turned into the canals and headed back to the dock, we fully embraced the cheese-factor and stole a few good luck kisses under the bridges. I am officially one of those people.
It certainly wasn’t something I would have sought out on my own but it was a lovely gift and I’m glad we did it. If you’re interested in getting in on the madness, check out Boston Gondolas here. You’re a quick stroll away from Beacon Hill so there are lots of restaurant options if you decide to make a night of it.