Mackinac Island in Michigan is well known for its fudge, having no cars and the Grand Hotel. You probably don't think of the island as a getaway to go bowling. Surprisingly, there is a bowling alley on the island and seemingly only a few in-the-know travelers realize it's there.

Tucked away inside the Woods Restaurant is a duckpin bowling alley, it's also rumored to be the oldest of its kind in America. Woods is owned by the Grand Hotel.

What is Duckpin Bowling?

The pins used for duckpin bowling are shorter and squatter than a standard bowling pin while the balls are much smaller as well and lack finger holes. A key rule difference is that you get three rolls on each frame, rather than two.

Duckpin bowling dates back to the early 1900s or late 1800s, There's no agreement as to where the sport began. Conflicting reports say in either Baltimore or Boston.

There are reportedly around 40 regulated duckpin alleys around America, the closest to Michigan is in Indianapolis.

Get our free mobile app

Duckpin Bowling on Mackinac Island

One of the things visitors note about playing the duckpin alley at Woods is that players need to reset the pins themselves, there is no automatic resetter. An interesting tidbit of duckpin history is that the inventor of a resetting machine to Brunswick, the big name in bowling resulting in the sunsetting of the manufacture of duckpin resetters. So no parts are made any longer for a duckpin resetting machine.

Memories of duckpin bowling were shared on the Michigan Past Present and Future Facebook group:

This is so cool. Went there when our son was younger. Became the pin setter for people. They gave him $10. It was like a million to him. Great memories. Go there for dinner every time we stay on the island. A hidden gem.

We were waiting for a table one night and the boys (5 & 9 at the time) asked if they could try their hand at duck pins. They took turns running up and down the alley to set the pins.

The restaurant proclaims itself to have the oldest operating duckpin alley in the nation:

Before or after dinner, enjoy freshly popped popcorn, test your skill on America’s oldest operating duckpin bowling alley, or have a drink at Bobby’s Bar

You can see the bowling alley in action from this promotional video for Woods Restaurant.

It's rare to see inside the private homes on Mackinac Island. Here's a glimpse at one:

SEE MORE: Take a Look Inside This Beautiful Victorian Home on Mackinac Island

UP NEXT: Seven Interesting Facts About The Mackinac Bridge

More Michigan to Explore

Woods Restaurant on the Island is known for its cuisine. Here are many Michigan restaurants that have had their moments to shine on the Food Network:

MORE TO EXPLORE: Michigan Restaurants Featured On The Food Network

40 Michigan Towns With Names Even Life-Long Michiganders Can't Pronounce