Needle at Large: In the Man Cave
By Ann Needle
This Super Bowl Sunday, nothing may bring comfort to the bereft Patriots fan faster than an invitation to watch the game in a state-of-the-art “man cave.” These rumored rooms of comfort supposedly are fitted with flat screen TVs on steroids, plus all the plush couches needed to squeeze in a bunch of burping fraternity brothers.
Enter the man cave to end them all, right here in Stow — and even ManCaveSite.org said so. Hearing that the town’s Jared Snapp won the site’s coveted Man Cave of the Year 2012, The Independent charged into Sharp’s basement kingdom for an exclusive peek.
The grand prize for taking the top cave spot included bragging rights, a coveted trophy, and some prime space in ManCaveSite.org’s 2013 calendar. Snapp was chosen for the honor out of more than 100 entries, with site visitors voting the winner from among 11 finalists.
First, forget the simplicity of the Neanderthal life: Snapp has converted his
entire basement into “Snapp’s Red Lion Pub”, a monument to all that is of interest to man. “When we moved here, I said, this is perfect for turning into a hang-out,” Snapp said of his three-room basement.
At the basement entrance, the Marlboro police officer has placed some special cave-dwellers to greet the guests (and perhaps remind folks to behave). Five dummies are decked in uniforms of various law enforcement agencies. Snapp explained that one sports a Canadian Mountie uniform — because he and wife, Adrienne, got engaged in Canada — while another uniform is from Adrienne’s home state of New Hampshire. Naturally, there is a Massachusetts state officer, one from Rhode Island (“because I like it”), plus a fifth from New Jersey, where Snapp grew up. Prom dates, anyone?
“Most everything here has a meaning behind it,” Snapp said of the rich collection of man memorials of the inner rooms. The main lounging area has the requisite, man-size screen and cushioned couches, surrounded by sports memorabilia that Snapp admitted prompted the family to rig the house with an alarm system that does everything but handcuff potential thieves.
There are over 20 baseballs, each signed by a Major League player, and — Snapp proudly noted — personally obtained from greats that include Mike Lowell, Nolan Ryan, Carl Yastrzemski, even Pete Rose. Snapp reported he got the collecting bug at age 6, after meeting Mickey Mantle at age 6 and taking away a signed baseball.
Move around the room, and there are signed bats, football helmets, jerseys. Much of this centers on the Philadelphia Phillies, to whom Snapp professed ever-lasting loyalty (while Adrienne is a Red Sox fan). One standout was an empty Champagne bottle. After Phillies player Jimmy Rollins sprayed Champagne on teammates and bystanders after the Phillies took the World Series in 2008, Snapp successfully requested the empty bottle.
Of course, distractions are key — especially when your team is tanking on the screen. Visitors can enjoy the foosball table and classic, glass-door popcorn machine between scores.
Not for Men Only
Testosterone aside, there is something for everyone in this man-man wonderland. A second room looks to be a mini-man cave, snappily decked out in toys and a movie screen to entertain Snapp’s 3-year-old son, Carson. “This is great — some of my bachelor friends aren’t used to kids,” Snapp whispered.
The jaw-dropper was the final room, a very functioning British pub. Though Snapp noted it was modeled on the old Wayside Inn bar, the room could pass muster in London any day. Posters, photos, and British bric-a-brac from the great isle itself adorn the dark-wooded room, some of it courtesy of a brother in the US Air Force who Snapp gleefully declared is based in Great Britain. Sentimental details abound here, too, with Snapp pointing to the wood of the bar as having come from Adrienne’s grandparents’ farm. Presiding over it all is “Marcus,” a suit of armor whom Snapp said is named after his brother, Mark. “Every British pub needs its own knight,” he remarked. And yes, the bar is fully stocked.
Though Snapp noted that Adrienne was “horrified” at first by the pub idea, she eventually came around — to the point where she had Snapp add some female friendly details, such as the purse hooks in front of the bar stools. “She even threw a bachelorette party here when I was out of town,” Snapp shrugged. (Adrienne was at work, unavailable for comment.)
Give a police officer the run of cave design, and you better believe it is safety first for everyone, from guests to children to furniture. The pub is secured from unwanted wanderers by wrought-iron gates and a padlock (“for when Carson’s older,” Snapp grinned), while the white—yes, WHITE — slip-covers on the couches are easily rid of spilled drink stains by tossing them in the wash with bleach. “Hey, they’re IKEA,” Snapp reasoned.
Snapp attributed all of this incredible detail to his law enforcement background, noting, “Most police officers are very detail-oriented.” While Marlboro Police sometimes holds staff meetings in the man complex, Snapp stressed, “All police — any law enforcement — have an open invitation to stop by, including Stow,” Snapp stressed. But to avoid making the Police Report in the back of The Independent, we suggest you call ahead before attempting to venture in.