I haven’t been to Lanes & Games since I was in high school, which was, well, a really long time ago. Earlier this week, however, I broke my (inadvertent) non-attendance streak with a group of friends and was reminded of how fun candlepin bowling is. The kids all went berserk over it, and Laurel was a machine out there, mowing down frames well beyond when others had lost interest.
Admittedly, the facade of Lanes & Games is a bit tired and that stretch of Route 2 is rather grungy; however, inside, the space is basically clean and functional. You also must be prepared to wear the bowling shoes (probably not the best environment for germaphobes), and endure possible confusion at the counter over how much bowling to engage in. (I recommend buying just one game -- 10 frames -- per person; you can always add more.)
Okay, so you might be wondering, what with tired facade, shoes, and potential confusion why I’m recommending bowling. Aesthetics aside, candlepin bowling was really fun and served as a great way to get the kids moving on a crummy winter day. The gutter bumpers also made it fun for kids and grownups alike. I’m not sure whether it was the thrill of the balls popping out of the ball return, the act of rolling the ball, or the knocking down of pins, but Laurel bowled for an hour and a half straight (I kid you not; maybe her Little Capers superhero cape gave her extra energy...). Her hands literally were black at the end. (So, yes, another lesson: bring cleaning wipes or hit the bathroom to wash up before you go. Which you would want to do anyway.)
The facility also has tables and chairs in an area right next to the lanes, handy for bowling birthday parties. A party was leaving just as we arrived and they all looked in good spirits.
If you’re not in the vicinity of Lanes & Games, there’s plenty of bowling to be had in Massachusetts. BowlingFan.com lists 60 bowling alleys across Massachusetts! I'm interested to check out some of the other alleys to see how they stack up.