Monday, March 7, 2011

The Best Sledding on the South Shore

The Best Sledding on the South Shore
By Melissa Nardo
Are you sick of everyone complaining about the winter?  Do you wish you could go back to those childhood snow days of careening down a hill on your brand new sled?  Well, you can!  Here are four unique sledding experiences pointing the reader in the right direction of the hill of their dreams.  Are you a teenager or an adult with a need for speed?  Are you a parent looking for a safe place to take your children sledding?  All of this is covered and more.
The first stop is the South Shore Country Club in Hingham which has two parking areas.  The main parking lot is off of South Street, but parking here means a long walk to the popular hill.  The most popular hill is along a section of Old New Bridge Street.  However, there is no designated parking here; everyone lines their cars up along one side of the road.  Be careful because the Hingham police officers will ticket anyone parked on the opposite side of the road.  The plus side to parking on Old New Bridge Street is that the main sledding hill is right there.  South Shore Country Club is the place for people with a need for speed.  The main hill is wide with a fairly straight drop and most of the time there are several jumps built randomly on the hill.  There is a small section of trees off to the right that sledders need to be aware of, but other than that it is wide open. 
View from the main entrance of the South Shore Country Club

Anyone planning on venturing to the South Shore Country Club should know it is a sled at your own risk type of place.  This popular hill at South Shore Country Club is dangerous for anyone under the age of ten years old.  The hill is tremendously fast and often icy.  The sledder needs to be aware and capable of bailing themselves out of danger at the last second if needed.  This is the type of hill frequented by teenagers and adults who are serious sledders.  On an average Saturday all the hills are packed, especially the popular hill.  Sledders need to be aware of their surroundings at all times or risk getting run down.  The South Shore Country Club is also used by snowboarders and cross-country skiers.  Bottom line: be prepared to fight for a spot on the popular hill, but it is worth it.
Sign at the entrance to the popular hill at South Shore Country Club

Our next stop on the sledding tour of the South Shore is Stodder’s Neck located on route 3A on the Weymouth/Hingham line.  Stodder’s Neck has a decent sized parking lot and the walk to the hill is fairly short.  A sledder can get going rather fast on these varying hills.  The back side of Stodder’s Neck has a couple of levels, reminiscent of a wavy slide, while the front side is a mostly straight shot down.  The one and only obstacle of this destination are dogs.  Stodder’s Neck is a dog park and those four legged friends are constant moving obstacles.  However, if you cannot stand to be parted from your snow loving pooch then this is the perfect solution.  Here all ages are appropriate, but you must love dogs.  Frequented by families with dogs, this sledding site is available for all to enjoy.  During the week Stodder’s Neck is low-key, but on the weekends it is busy with dogs running loose and families sledding.
Oliver poses for a picture at the dog park
At the end of Burtons Lane in Hingham you will find Baker’s Hill; however, this destination requires four wheel drive.  Burtons Lane is a narrow dead end street and with all this snow it is even narrower.  I ended up parking my Jeep on a snow bank to avoid blocking anyone’s driveway.  At the very least visitors will have to park in the woods during winters with normal snowfall amounts.  Sledders will have to park at the dead end then endure an upwards walk through the woods.  No matter what kind of sled preferred, the sledder will find themselves soaring down Baker’s Hill.    All ages are welcome to attempt this hill, but young children will not enjoy the ride unless they are daredevils.  Baker’s Hill is best enjoyed by teenagers and adults.  Since this hill is hidden behind a neighborhood, most of the time the sledder will have Baker’s Hill all to themselves.
The last set of sledding hills are behind Tufts Library at 46 Broad Street in Weymouth.  The library has a big two level parking lot and there is also another parking lot off the side street.  The hills and playground are easily accessible from either of the parking lots.  The sledders have a couple of hills to choose from at this location.  One hill is small and perfect for children on their first sledding outing or those children who prefer a nice gentle sledding experience.  The second hill is wide open and fast enough to entertain the older children.  An added bonus is a nice new playground next to the hills if the children get bored with sledding.  The hills behind the Tufts Library are definitely for children.  One to three year olds frequent the little hill while elementary school aged children spend their time on the slightly bigger and faster hill.  Another added bonus, besides the playground, is that the hills of the Tufts Library are never too crowded.
Four year old Declan tests the hills of the Tufts Library
(Right) The Tufts Library Playground
Each of these unique sledding destinations has its own reasons for being popular.  The South Shore Country Club fulfills the need for speed, but keep in mind it is a sled at your own risk situation and not for the faint of heart.  Stodder’s Neck is the perfect spot for those who wish to include the beloved family dog on their outing.  Baker’s Hill is somewhat of a hassle to get to, but worth it if you want the privacy.  Last but not least, Tufts Library is a safe and fun environment for children and their parents.  All of these hills attract a certain crowd so have fun finding the right sledding spot for you and your family.

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