Didn’t your momma ever tell you not to throw things?
Mine sure did. But I was always a terrible listener, so my boyhood was spent finding sticks that could serve as an arsenal on the battleground of parks and nature trails, away from the watchful eyes of my mother. Nasty scrapes, fractures and just general ‘ow’s ensued all the way through my teens, and I can confidently say it took until my twenties to learn my lesson. And yet, the compulsion remains. With as much media as I consume that revolves around people swinging or throwing things with the intent to stick them into something as hard as possible, it’s honestly a miracle I’ve survived this long, considering my ready access to axes, knives, and other hardware. (ANYONE can buy an axe. Isn’t that crazy, when you think about it!?) And yet, I manage to behave. After all, my momma told me not to throw things, and after a few decades, I’ve finally learned to listen.
Until I went to The Angry Axe & Rage Room. For within those hallowed walls, you are not only encouraged to throw things, they provide the things! I admit, I was a little giddy to finally be going to an axe throwing place. We (myself, friend Mike, and co-writer of this column, Laura) were the exact demographic that axe throwing was made for. Which is to say, physically active nerds in their thirties. And walking in, anticipation was high. Angry Axe is very strictly no-frills to their set up. Past a register, a safety waiver, and an entryway, there are multiple throwing lanes divided by chain link fence. On one end, wooden boards adorned with a target. On the other, a stump of wood, positively festooned with throwing axes and saw blades. Behind those, a few simple tables against the wall and a jukebox. No food or drinks, no music unless you wanted it. As stated, no frills; get sharp things from one end of the lane to the other, preferably on target.
And after thorough and charismatic safety instruction by an employee (they’re serious about proper throwing technique), that is what we set out to do. We weren’t great at it: Mike and I especially missed or bounced off the target more than we got the axes to stick at first. My esteemed colleague Ms. Laura Walter showed us both up, predictably, and was the only one to master the most exotic throwing option, a metal playing card. As we got the hang of axe throwing, we landed more hits and began enjoying ourselves more. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed the first twenty minutes, but that feeling faded as we began to improve.
The real fun began, however, when Mike manned the jukebox, and the tunes began booming. I cannot commit to words the amount of fun it was to throw axes and sawblades across the room into a bullseye as guitar riffs and banging drumlines filled the air. We cheered for one another, got into friendly competitions, and cried out with loud ‘OH!’s whenever a great hit was landed. The rest of our time in Angry Axe was fantastic fun, and a memory I’ll be holding onto for a while.
We weren’t the only ones in on the fun either: A couple of other parties were hurling metal as well. They ranged from teenagers to much older (ages 10+ are welcome). Two other people made their way to The Angry Axe’s rage room. Picture yourself in full safety gear, baseball bat in hand, surrounded by appliances and glassware. It looked like fun, but I didn’t try it myself. It was hard to walk away from the throwing lanes.
All in all, if you ever find yourself in Salisbury, check out The Angry Axe. Frills or not, the staff were friendly and safety focused, and the experience ended up being amazing, after a warm up. Find them at 2207 Northwood Drive, Unit 10A, Salisbury, Md., (and also in Ocean City, Md.) ando online at angryaxeandrageroom.com. Though we have a bevy of axe throwing businesses around our area these days, if Salisbury is too far for you, it won’t be hard to find another.
Who knows, maybe next time I’ll bring my Mom along.
Bay to the Beach: Byways is a regular column in which we explore interesting places and projects on the Delmarva Peninsula.