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Candlepin Bowling – Maine’s Quirky Pastime

There is a very specific region in North America where the term “candlepin bowling” means anything – and Maine is at the heart of it. It’s a favorite pastime that began in the 1880s in Massachusetts and spread north to New Hampshire, Vermont, and parts of Canada. Here in Maine candlepin bowling is a beloved throw-back and there’s a good chance if you find a bowling alley here, it won’t be the common 10-Pin variety, but the tall, slender pins that – yup – look a bit like candles. You knock down ten pins with (slightly larger than a softball-sized) balls (three per turn) and you’ll soon find that candlepin bowling is well-deserved of its place in our hearts.

A favorite spot for over 72 years is Big 20 Bowling in Scarborough – where there’s Rock ‘n Glow bowling on Fridays and Saturdays. In Sanford, Bowl-A-Rama has many lanes with Glo Bowl Specials and an arcade as well for lots of family fun. Looking for an out-of-this-world good time? Head to Sammi’s in Waldoboro for one of their Galactic Bowling Nights.

Reservations are required at Pineland Farm’s 4-lane bowling alley, as well as at D’Amanda’s in Ellsworth (they do post walk-in times when available on their Facebook page) – which may have the oldest working lanes in the state, dating back to the 1950s.

And if you’re not sure if you want to commit to candlepin bowling, check out Just-In Time Recreation in Lewiston with both candlepin and 10-Pin lanes available.

Other candlepin bowling alleys in Maine to enjoy include:

1-7-10 Bowling and Entertainment Center – Augusta West-Port Bowling Lanes – Westbrook Stars and Strikes – Paris ALLPLaY Family Entertainment – Belfast Archie’s Strike & Spare – Kezar Falls Bangor Brewer Lanes – Brewer Old Town Bowling Center – Old Town
Newport Entertainment Center – Newport
Saco Valley Sports Center – Fryeburg

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