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Fairway Bowling [Now Closed] - Natick, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 42° 18.057 W 071° 21.250
19T E 305949 N 4685875
Quick Description: Fairway Bowling, once part of a recreation center that included mini-golf, a driving range, and a baseball batting cage, was a 32 lane bowling alley that was a Natick landmark for over 40 years.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 6/11/2011 1:39:05 PM
Waymark Code: WMBPW6
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Crew 153
Views: 2

Long Description:
In Natick, on the westbound side of Route 9, stood the venerable Fairway Bowling center. For over 40 years, this bowling alley was a landmark along Route 9, on top of a hill and sporting a distinctive - even retro - sign that motorists just couldn't miss. But now, it's gone; its sign is shut off forever. The visit was made on the last night it was open - 05-20-2011.

Fairway Bowling was a 32-lane facility. The decor - the benches, the rugs, and the walls - was frozen in an earlier time - the early 60s. But, somehow, it didn't look worn out. Though the place might have been old, it was well kept and clean. The place was dedicated purely to bowling. No bar. No video or pinball machines. Only vending machines. One TV in an enclosed room. They had a modest room with tables and chairs for birthday parties. No, this was a place where you went bowling and nothing else. This was a place that had several bowling leagues, and for several years was the location of a local candlepin bowling show on television.

People showed up to bowl that night on the 20th. We arrived around 7:00 in the evening. It wasn't full then, but it became full by the time we left after 8:00. The alleys were in good shape. They were flat, though there was evidence of a few dimples from balls flung a little too high. And true to past experience, at least one time, the pin setting machine got stuck on our lane and a staff person had to sort out the problem. Also, the ball return did not give some balls enough energy to get up the ramp to the ball pen area, requiring a staff person to sort that out, too. The balls were round, but little gouges were in place - providing a little more grip. A touching remark was made over the PA system by a local furniture store chain owner of how much the bowling alley was a fixture of the community. We didn't stay late, but I hope the send-off would be great.

Fairway Bowling was once part of a larger recreational facility that included mini-golf, a driving range (hence the name 'Fairway'), a batter's cage, and other activities. Those have gone to development. Behind it, where the driving range is, is now a software company and a retirement home. Beside it, where the mini-golf was, is now a pair of restaurants. Now, Fairway will fade as well - I had heard that the rug store down the street will move in.

There was one quirk. In December, they would decorate inside with Christmas displays, including animated figurines like reindeer and elves. Snow, in the form of cotton batting were also part of the displays. The sign outside proudly invited people to come in and see their displays. As hokey as they might of been, it was all part of the charm of the place.

I'm going to miss Fairway. Thanks for over 40 years of memories.
No of Lanes: 32

Type of Bowling: Candlepin (Candlestick)

Bar Facilities: No

Amusement Machines: No

Other Sports:
None at present. See Long Description about the recreation facilities in the past.

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