Photo courtesy of Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa.
Jim McRae has played the bagpipes every evening at Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa for 10 years to celebrate the area’s Scottish heritage.
Enjoy a summer sunset with a side of bagpipes at the Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa. The resort’s annual “Summer at the Castle” program will offer daily activities with a Scottish twist through Labor Day.
Paul Sharp, the resort director of sales and marketing, said Summer at the Castle is part of Renaissance’s efforts to maintain the Scottish heritage of Ross Bridge. The Ross family immigrated to Alabama from Scotland prior to the Civil War and involved themselves in the local steel industry. They built the actual Ross Bridge to help Confederate troops advance on the Union army.
“With the amount of steel trade that you had here in Birmingham, the Scottish contingent had a real interest in watching the steel industry grow,” Sharp said. “[The Ross family] brought with them a great sense of culture.”
This heritage is carried on in several ways, including the daily bagpipe performance of Jim McRae. Since the resort was built in 2005, McRae has spent every evening playing the pipes as he walks from the golf course’s mill around the resort to the front of the property.
“People really enjoy it,” Sharp said. “It’s a really great thing and rich tradition.”
Kids will be able to follow McRae on his daily journey as part of Summer at the Castle, which is now in its sixth year. There will also be daily Highland games on the Grassy Knoll, which Sharp said will include three to four traditional games with a modern twist, such as Scottish cornhole. Resort staff, neighborhood residents and community partners will be able to participate in games along with the guests.
“It’s going to be very interactive,” Sharp said.
For resort guests who want to stay active, Summer at the Castle will feature organized runs, night putting on the golf green, dive-in movies at the indoor pool and bike trips to the Ross Bridge. There will also be music at the pool and JT’s bar on certain days.
The summer program will also include the chance to taste and create a variety of dishes and drinks. Sharp said a new castle beverage ritual will feature different cocktails in the afternoon and show people how to make them. There will be cooking classes, food tastings and the chance to roast marshmallows and s’mores. High Iced Tea will be a new feature to show off “interesting flavors in terms of iced tea, and with iced tea being so popular here in the South, we’ve taken full advantage of that.”
Children can make cupcakes with pastry chef Meredith Paddock, who has been at the resort for four years and “does phenomenal work,” Sharp said.
“We’re one of the few resorts in the Southeast that still retains a fulltime pastry chef,” Sharp said. “She’s got a huge heart, puts a huge amount of time into everything she creates.”
To learn more about these and other Summer at the Castle activities, visit rossbridgeresort.com or call 916-7677.