Axe throwing in Manchester: Not just for lumberjacks, anymore

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Carolyn Cote found axe throwing to be fun AND relaxing. Courtesy Photo

MANCHESTER, NH – I’d never heard of recreational axe-throwing establishments until a friend posted a message on our Facebook group page created originally as a virtual gathering spot for our now-defunct floor hockey team.

“Andrew and I have a babysitter Saturday night, which happens to be the same day this place is opening. Anyone interested in going?”

The post contained a link to RelAxe Throwing, newly opened at 157 Gay St. in Manchester (over near the Airport Diner off Brown Ave.)

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Diedre demonstrates the two-handed throwing technique. Courtesy photo

Naturally, I was intrigued. As a group, we came to learn that floor hockey was not exactly our strength, but over sevenish years we had some fun, got some exercise, but most importantly, learned that we have a pretty good time together, whether it’s playing hockey, cornhole or trivia.

It turns out, recreational axe-throwing is sweeping cities across the country, the perfect place to gather for happy hour, birthday parties, bachelorette/bachelor parties and more. Though only a few of us were actually free to explore this new activity in Manchester, we took advantage of some grand opening pricing to give it a whirl (or, a hurl?)

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Andrew scored the best, although no one’s sure if they scored the competition correctly. Still, congrats, Andrew. Courtesy photo

RelAxe Throwing just opened about three weeks ago. It is, according to their website, the first indoor axe-throwing club in New Hampshire, and is already growing a following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not sure what to expect, myself and two friends, Deidre and Andrew, set out for an hour of axe-throwing at this new sure-to-be Manchester hotspot.

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Carolyn Cote says she did better two-handed than one-handed, but it’s all good. Courtesy Photo

After signing a waiver about five pages long, we were assigned an axe-throwing coach who taught us a couple of different throwing techniques, went over safety guidelines and brought us a bevy of different axes to try. My favorite ended up being the 1½-pound axe with a wooden handle.

Josh was friendly and knowledgeable. He checked in with us while we were there, observed our techniques and gave us tips throughout our visit. It definitely took a bit of practice, but I think we each got the hang of it, at least a little bit. I definitely preferred the overhead throwing technique to using one arm, and we all managed to score ourselves some points and even hit a couple bullseyes! Don’t ask me how we were SUPPOSED to score it, we just added up our points as we went and Andrew won all three games we played.

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Carolyn Cote Hitting the mark at RelAXE Throwing in Manchester, NH on Vimeo.

While it sounds like it could be intense or tiring, I found it to be fun and even, yes, relAxing. A couple of coworkers have suggested it might be a great way to go wind down after a stressful day; I couldn’t agree more. Especially on a night like Saturday with a warm breeze wafting through the open garage bay of the industrial building that RelAxe calls home.

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Carolyn Cote and friends give RelAXE Throwing six lumberjack-sized thumbs up. Courtesy Photo

Owner Tracey McCormick told us they plan to start an axe-throwing league – they are part of the World Axe Throwing League – so if that’s of interest, stay tuned. For now, I would definitely recommend calling ahead and reserving a lane or two if you plan to go and gather some friends for an hour or two. RelAxe is BYOB (proper ID required if you plan to bring alcohol). Hours are Monday and Thursday 4-10 p.m., Friday 4-11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday are currently by appointment only.

Go give it a try, and let me know in the comments what you think!

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