By Patty Booth O’Neill, Photos by Dave Booth – It was a windy, bitter cold snowstorm on Sunday, followed by more snow on Monday and Tuesday, but at last it left behind mounds of snow and drifts on our “local slopes” that lasted into the days that followed.
Kids of all ages got to experience the thrill of riding down Cemetery Hill (Glenwood Cemetery) in West Long Branch, some their first experience. It’s a tradition as old as time.
Around 2012, when Aldi built their supermarket on Hwy. 36 at the foot of Cemetery Hill, it had been the chosen parking spot for parents bringing gleeful children to the famous hill and for teenagers and adults alike. Aldi’s manager was shocked and dismayed when the first snow storm hit and cars flocked to what was now their lot for their customers.
Then they erected a fence around the area to keep people from gaining access to the hill. Can’t really blame them. They have a business to run. But it didn’t work and soon the fence disappeared.
Over the years there hasn’t been a lot of snow and not too many serious sleigh riding days. During past winters there have been some people enjoying the hill, trying to get up enough speed to make it over grassy spots. Nothing like the old days.
But this last storm was perfect for a long ride down the hill. “The Endless Winter” so to speak. The center of Cemetery Hill is long and steep for speeding sledders looking for a thrill, while off to the sides are long, slower slopes perfect for the younger set, a lot of them toddlers with proud parents, who had done the same thing in their day.
But alas, the management at Aldi was not happy again and West Long Branch Police arrived to help out with the crowd, not sure to what end, hopefully coming to an agreement for future sledding both sides can live with. If only for a few days a year.