Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Gondola in Nebraska

There are over thirty gondola operations in the US today.
Each one has something that makes it uniquely different from all others. It may be the boat, or the location, or the way they operate the boat.

In the case of Heartland Gondolas, it's all of the above.

The operation in Omaha, Nebraska was started by Steve Anderson. He did some research and in 2002 built his own gondola, based on the unique waterway he had in mind - a lake in the center of Omaha's Heartland of America Park.
It's not the first time a gondola has been built outside Venezia especially for a specific waterway, but like all other instances - the boat is unique and one-of-a-kind.
Here are a few particulars:
Like her venetian counterparts, the boat is 36 feet long.
At her widest point she's five feet in the beam.
She's built from plywood with fiberglass on the exterior.
In these photos she's painted white, but I've also seen her in black.
I like the varnished railing.
You may have noticed the absence of a forcola. The boat is rowed in a manner similar to the stand-up-paddle method, and when the wind kicks up, the gondolier can rely on a 45 pound thrust trolling motor for assistance.
The gondola in Omaha is indeed unique, the folks at the state tourism board certainly thought so - they decided to feature her in some of their advertising.
To learn more about Hearland Gondolas, check out their website:
They also have a big caorlina, but that's a subject for another post.

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