Massachusetts Candlepin bowling: Danvers, Dorchester, Kingston, more


One of New England’s trademark quirks, the region’s love of candlepin bowling has perhaps faded somewhat in recent decades, but the sport is by no means gone. Candlepin Bowling was first played in Worcester in the 1880s and became a unique sport for New England and the Canadian Maritime Provinces.

Rewarding timing and dexterity over physical strength, candlepin is an activity fit for all ages, which may have contributed to its popularity. Generations of New Englanders remember the cold disappointment we felt as kids on Saturday mornings when the hours of cartoons ended and the hours of candlepin bowling began, and remember birthday parties, first dates and nights with friends at the candlepin alley. I grew up in Scituate, where accompanying my dad to the hardware store meant getting excited over the thunderous noises that came from the bowling alley above, on the second floor.

We put together a list of some bowling alleys in Eastern Massachusetts where you can still enjoy this retro fun:

7 Tarkiln Road, Kingston

Open since 1983, Alley Kat in Kingston has 26 lanes of bowling, dozens of arcade games and food offerings along with beer and wine. Open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 10 pm, Saturday from 1 to 10 pm and Sunday from 1 to 9 pm

Boston Bowl has locations in Dorchester and Hanover.

820 Morrissey Blvd., Dorchester

58 Rockland St., Hanover

Who doesn’t remember the iconic white socks with American flags you get with your shoe rental at the Boston Bowl? Both facilities also have arcades, food and drink, and the location in the city has billiards, batting cages, and a 21+ bowling area. The Dorchester location is open Sunday through Thursday from 9 am to 11 pm and on Friday and Saturday from 9 am to midnight and the Hanover location is open Sunday through Wednesday from 9 am to midnight and Thursday through Saturday from 9 am to 2 am

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