We’ve had amazing summer weather but this past week took a turn and things got cloudy and cooled off. No complaints. You appreciate the sunshine more when there are the occasional bad weather days. Plus, those cooler nights make for great sleeping weather.
We had a friend coming up for a visit and, while originally planning to relax lakeside, had to rethink our agenda when the weather changed. We headed to 33 Elmwood in Westbrook for lunch and bocce. 33 Elmwood is an expansive place with food, drink and games. We walked in and were immediately greeted by the receptionist standing behind the front desk where you can also pick up bocce balls or bowling shoes.
We decided to eat lunch first so she showed us to a booth in the dining area which also overlooks the bocce courts. They have some local beer options on the menu so I went with a Gneiss Weiss. I ordered a grilled cheese for a little comfort food on a dreary day. The grilled cheese was heavy on the bread and light on the cheese. It was good but I tend to like the cheesier varieties. My friend got the nachos which I’d had before on one of my previous visits. They are served in a make your own style with the toppings heated and laid out in a cast iron dish surrounded by tortilla chips. They looked good. My other friend got the fish and chips. She said the fish was delicious.
After our relaxed meal, we headed to the bocce courts. It was $5.00 per person for one hour of bocce.
Here are 8 things I learned about bocce on our visit to 33 Elmwood:
- It’s not bowling. Our first few rounds were a little off the mark and I often hit the back board and put my ball out of play. Once we learned to toss the balls rather than roll them, we started to have better control over where our balls ended up.
- It’s harder to throw the jack than it looks. We were told to try to get the jack about 3/4 of the way down the court. We achieved success about 1/3 of the time. The rest our throws were either too close or too far. In the end, to speed things up, we dropped it in the general vicinity.
- Scoring was more complicated than we thought. We didn’t have an even number of players, so we took turns rolling the balls and gave a point to whichever color was closest to the jack. Apparently, it should have been a point for every one of the same color balls that were closer to the jack than the closest opposing color ball. We never fully learned the scoring process even though our bocce score sheet did have some helpful pointers, including information on this rule, on the back side.
- You have to account for the curve of the court. I’m not sure if it was the courts at 33 Elmwood but all of our balls seemed to curved right. Once we got use to it, we got better at compensating for the curve but it made for some poor shots in the beginning. Although, even without the curve, I suspect we would have made some poor shots.
- It’s hard to avoid the jack. While we tried to avoid hitting the jack during our ball tosses, we seemed to knock it out more often than not. It’s an art to get it close without hitting it.
- The jack has other names including pallino. We called it a Jack but we’d need to get familiar with the lingo before playing with people who actually understood the game.
- You alternate which end of the court you shoot from between rounds. Since we had a convenient table on one end where we could leave our beers, we were lazy and didn’t bother to alternate which side of the court we played from but under normal play you would.
- It’s a fun game. It was a bit of a slow start and I’m fairly certain we would have been disqualified in league play but we had a good time. It was a great way to spent the afternoon and a perfect way to spend an overcast summer day.
There are plenty of other activities to try at 33 Elmwood. As you enter, there are bowling alleys off to the right, and the bocce courts, which are on the left side, can also be used for corn-hole. They have shuffleboard advertised too.
There are definitely lots of choices but be sure to check out 33 Elmwood’s website for their hours. They are closed on Sunday and Monday although available for private events. And, other than Saturday, they only open in the evenings at least during the summer.
This was my third trip to 33 Elmwood. I’ve enjoyed dinner with friends, and stopped into the bar area for drinks on Cinco de Mayo. I like the vibe at 33 Elmwood and it was fun do something active while having drinks. They have live music on Friday and Saturday nights too. I’ll be heading back again soon. I might need to check out their Thursday night corn-hole tournament.
|things to know|
|Address||33 Elmwood Ave, Westbrook, ME 04092|
|Favorite||Our Bocce Game|