At The Old Sledding Hill

Today is a perfect day for sledding in New Albany.

IMG_5530The temperature is in the low 20s, the sky is cloudy, and snowflakes are drifting down on the existing snow cover.  That means there will be a base of packed down snow sufficient to bear the weight of even a Flexible Flyer sled, with a dusting of new snow that will minimize friction and enhance speed.  The weather conditions mean there won’t be high temperatures or sunshine to turn the snow mushy.

People have recognized the prime conditions, and the sledding hill next to number 1 North at the New Albany Country Club already has a good crowd.  It’s a fine hill for sledding.  There’s a gentle slope, so it’s not a terrible chore to trudge back up to the top after a sled run, and there’s a nice long run out to let you really enjoy a good sled ride.

It’s nice to see that saucer sleds remain a perennial favorite for kids.  Some classics just can’t be improved upon, and the saucer sled is one of them.

A Visit To The NACC Fire Pit

The New Albany Country Club fire pit

New Albany Country Club has it all.  27-hold golf course?  Check.  Fine dining and party room facilities?  Check.  Countless tennis courts?  Absolutely.  Workout facility, family pool, and adult pool?  Of course!  Its own beer and pale ale?  Sure, why not?  Fire pit?  Yes, indeed.

Wait a second — fire pit?

The lanterns light the way

It’s the newest addition to the country club offering of recreational activities, and Penny and I decided to make a visit on our walk today.

The fire pit is in the middle of a copse of trees between the ninth hole on the north course and the main clubhouse grounds.  You follow a winding path covered with wood chips to the center of the stand of trees.  The path is strung with electric lanterns.  At the end of the path is the fire pit, which is ringed with stones and then with picnic tables, benches and two very rustic (and frankly, uncomfortable looking) seats beveled out of tree trunks.  The area features a grill, an iron spit where you could roast a wild boar carcass or some other animal caught by a guy exploring his savage side, and some strategically placed fire extinguishers.

One of the all-natural seats at the fire pit

I don’t know whether the fire pit has been heavily used so far.  It’s probably not a top choice for a wedding reception or book club get-together, but it would be perfect for a Boy Scout troop meeting, a drum circle, a Lord of the Flies meeting, or one of those “get in touch with your inner alpha male” retreats.  Toss a few logs in the pit, slowly roast a haunch of beef, knock back a New Albany Pale Ale or two, and then walk a few hundred feet back to the New Albany Country Club grounds, where your wife is waiting to pick you up in the Cadillac Escalade.

The New Albany Walking Classic

Today was the sixth annual New Albany Walking Classic.  It looked like the event had a big crowd.  I would know, because the course runs right past our neighborhood and winds around the golf course, where I spend my Sundays in futile desperation, hoping to get a favorable nod from the Golf Gods — and this year the Golf Gods have been filled with outright fury and harsh retribution about my pathetic excuse for a golf game.

The New Albany Walking Classic is a nice event that helps make New Albany a fine place to live.  I’m a walker, and I’m all for encouraging people to walk more.  Still, I think there are kinks to be worked out.  Our neighborhood, North of Woods, always is penned in by these events.  If you try to engage in some normal weekend suburban act — like driving your car — while the event is underway you are either blocked entirely or subjected to angry glances from participants as you try to navigate on what are supposed to be public roads.

Today the Classic started at 9 a.m., so I left home to drive to the New Albany Country Club at 8:50, even though my tee time wasn’t until 10:10.  I wanted to leave plenty of time to spare. Although I made it out of my neighborhood okay, I was blocked at one point by an earnest Boy Scout troop leader who tried to prevent me from driving to the golf club even though there was no walker within miles.  After I made it to the golf course they sent us off on the east nine, which required us to move through the teeth of the walkers and then play past some acid rock guitar group that was playing heavy metal at ear-splitting volume.  I’m sure the music helped motivate the walkers, but how about some consideration for the golfers — or for that matter, for the neighbors who would like to spend a quiet Sunday morning in their backyards?