What the Heck is a ‘Hatchet House?’ A Pretty Kick-Axe Good Time
You've never seen anything quite like it.
Stumpy's Hatchet House in Eatontown is the first indoor hatchet-throwing venue in the United States, according to one of the four owners, Trish Oliphant.
A friendly backyard competition with her husband Mark and another couple, Stu and Kelly Joshberger, inspired the four to launch the business less than a year later.
"The guys were chopping up wood for the little fire in the chimenea, and they just started throwing the hatchets at a dead tree in the backyard, and they were getting into a little competition, and us girls joined in," Oliphant said. It evolved into more competitions with neighbors.
Now just three months after opening, Stumpy's is a success, according to Oliphant.
"We just really felt there was a need for a alternative form of recreation, something different, something adventurous," Oliphant said.
Oliphant recently retired from Ralph Lauren and her husband is a retired union carpenter. The Joshbergers work in the Toms River school system. The couples live in Ocean County, but purposely sought out a location in Monmouth County to have a more central location, in a shore community, according to Oliphant.
The 5,000-square-foot warehouse on Meridian Road in Eatontown has been transformed to provide a Pacific northwest outdoor feel.
"We think we appeal to all the senses," Oliphant said. "There's tall cedar timbers flanking the throwing pits, and it's a casual, urban feel, but very relaxing."
There are sofas and barn tables. Hatchet-throwers can bring their own food or order take-out, and Stumpy's Hatchet House supplies buckets of ice, so participants can bring their own adult beverages — beer and wine only.
Participants 21 and older are given throwing coaches, according to Oliphant. Then it's onto the throwing pit for your hatchet-throwing adventure.
"It's like darts on steroids," Oliphant said. "The hatchets we use are actually tools, they're not weapons, so they're camping hatchets. They weight one and a quarter-pounds apiece."
In addition to being fun, she said it's great stress-reliever.
"You feel a little a little bit empowered when you throw that hatchet. Not a little bit, actually. A lot empowered when you throw it," Oliphant said.
It's $40 per person for a two-hour throwing session. Stumpy's Hatchet House also has special and private events, including bachelor and bachelorette parties, baby gender reveal parties and even divorce or break-up parties.
"The possibilities are endless on the different types of parties that we can host," Oliphant said.
Stumpy's Hatchet House also supports local charities and does fundraising for non-profit organizations, as well as for schools and special causes.
Stumpy's Hatchet House is open Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturdays 2 to 5 p.m., and Sundays 2 to 6 p.m.