Oakland is not going digital, we encourage actual visitors, not virtual. There is plenty one can learn about our history online but we appreciate real visitors.
Although there is a lot of uncertainty about how best to operate, what is certain is that all the businesses in Oakland are trying hard to accommodate the new reality. It is easier for some businesses than others, through no fault of their own.
I hope that people make an effort to support all local businesses, especially those who are most impacted like hair salons, personal care businesses, cafés, restaurants and bars or tasting rooms.
Touring Oakland is perfect during these times of required distancing; it is easy to walk the streets unimpeded, enjoy the uncrowded disc golf course, walk around and admire the historic homes and commercial buildings, and see some beautiful gardens.
Back downtown, there is a lot happening even when it looks quiet. Behind the historic facades are people working to make their shops enjoyable and attractive and there are new restaurants coming. The antique stores have new gems and hidden treasures.
Olde Town Antiques, Worldly Goods, the Flour Mill and Riley’s 1904 Emporium each have unique offerings, some are open seven days a week and others Thursday or Friday through Sunday.
Then there is the Flea Market across from Turkey Hall on Second Street. One can never see everything in there but ask David, the owner, he knows his stock. He is usually open weekends — if you see old bicycles and tools on the sidewalk he is open.
While there turn around and look at Turkey Hall. It used to be an ugly tin building on the outside, now it is a semi-attractive tin building with a dramatic doorway leading to an equally dramatic interior.
Soon, it will be a café with a wine bar and tapas as well as a private poker club called the Foundation Room 1878. Watch for its opening later this summer.
But better yet, Vince and Katrina Gaeta, who are remodeling Turkey Hall, have purchased Tolly’s. It should open on Aug. 1 as Skogs which will highlight breakfast, cakes, burgers and shakes. It will be open mornings until 2 p.m. They saved the antique soda and ice cream bar and the beautiful interior that Tolly’s was famous for.
Skogs will have Belgian waffles in the morning and luscious cheese cakes the rest of the day. It will close at 2 p.m., when Turkey Hall will open for dinners.
Soon the back of Turkey Hall will connect to the back patio of Skogs so you can go from one to the other.
Speaking of food and beverage there are now several options in Oakland. Triple Oak Wine Vault and the Secret Wine Society feature local and international wines for the afficionado or casual tasting. The Oakland Tavern is famous for its sandwiches and the Lamplighter Café has a full bar, meals including great tacos, and both bars have games.
Planning an event? Consider the Speakeasy in a restored warehouse adjacent to the railroad. The owner, Shelley Funk, has remade the warehouse into a beautiful sparkling venue that highlights the character of the warehouse.
On the tamer side, there are many other businesses hidden on the side streets near downtown. The Lotus, on Locust next to the Museum initiated a Saturday farmers market with fresh local meats and produce.
Also, Oakland Lockers has amazing jerky and meats for retail sale as well as custom cut and wrap.
So please come explore Oakland in person, bring friends to wander through town and bring masks to wander through the businesses.
The masked proprietors will be happy to serve you.