The Top of the Hill Gang just won’t sit still


By K.B. Sherman

Men and women over 50 who are looking for increased social connections in an athletic and sporting setting have come together in The Top of the Hill Gang of New England ( They gather and enjoy one another’s company year round, “sharing common interests that nourish our love of being active and having fun.” They ski, hike, bike, travel and socialize together. They play golf, tennis, kayak and do hosteling, enjoy social events including dinner dances, clambakes, riverboat rides and game nights. They go to cultural venues such as museums and musical concerts.

The Top of the Hill Gang, based in Bedford, is “an all-volunteer organization that thrives on the vitality of our membership and their many interests.”

“TOHG was founded in 1987, after splitting from the then national organization, The Over the Hill Gang, and became an all New England independent organization,”said Elaine Madden, past president of the club and current webmaster. “We started with former members of the Over the Hill Gang who wanted to be an independent organization with our own mission. The original intent was, and still is, to be an all New England ski and sports club for adults over 50 years of age.”

The group had less than 100 members in 1987 but has grown to approximately 430. Although their original intent was and still is to primarily be a ski and sports club for active adults, they now offer members much more. They have two dinner dances a year in the fall and spring, plus river cruises and a clambake/swim outing in the summer.

After sporting activities, such as biking, hiking, walking and kayaking, they often stop for ice cream or have cookouts at members’ homes. Also, they participate in social activities through such programs as the Mystery Groups. They divide New England into smaller geographical areas for these Mystery Groups so that people can do activities closer to home with other club members in their area such as attending concerts, visiting museums, going on walks, touring local historic places, taking an art or dance class or going to local baseball games.

Mystery Groups have a minimum of five committed members. Groups get together once a month on a dedicated day and time to participate in a “mystery” activity/event planned by a member of the group. Each group member takes a turn developing an idea and sends out information to the group about the general plan, appropriate dress, level of physical ability required, cost, etc. As the group gets to know each other better, more interest and more ideas serve as a further catalyst for activities in the future. In addition, groups can “borrow” another group’s ideas and learn from their experience. Event re-caps are published in the Hill Topics newsletter.

“We include members from all of New England, plus several members from outside New England,” Madden noted. “We actually cover New England, Canada, the U.S. West, Canada, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Austria and are involved in canoeing, kayaking; biking, golf, hiking, walking, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, tennis, hosteling, and other social events.”

Individual membership costs $25 per year; couple membership is $40. Membership is open to all adults 50 years of age and over. Sports activities are scheduled seasonally. Social activities are scheduled monthly.

Coming events include:

Sept. 7: Bike Cookout, Marblehead
Sept. 14-18: Bike, Le Petit Train du Nord, Canada
Sept. 19: Biking, Mansfield & Norton
Oct. 10: The Bog Ride, Middleboro, Carver
Oct. 14: Bike/lunch, Cranston, R.I.
Nov. 8: Fall Fling, Hillview Country Club, North Reading

The full calendar is available at To join, visit To get more information via regular mail, write to TOHG, P.O. Box 497, Bedford, MA 01730-0497.

Photo/courtesy Top of Hill Gang