The Making of a Piste in Deer Isle, Maine

A year ago if you had said that we would be building a Petanque piste at Pilgrim’s Inn, and were planning on attending a Petanque international tournament in Florida this winter I would have said “Pey-what?”

Last year our chef and neighbor Max Mattes introduced Pilgrim’s Inn co-owner Tony Lawless to this French outdoor bowling game, (pronounced “pay-tonk”).  Soon after Tony and Max were found playing this addictive game every chance they got in the Pilgrim’s Inn parking lot or in Max’s driveway. Tony later joined Max as a member of the Maine Boules Club, one of the most active clubs in the state.

Petanque is the fastest growing outdoor bowling game in the world.  The game originated in the south of France in the early 1900’s and has some similarities to both horseshoes and the Italian lawn bowling game of Bocce.  It is based on a simple concept – toss or roll a set of hollow steel balls (called “boules”) at a small target ball (called a “cochonnet” which is French for “piglet”).  The team or player with the boule(s) closest to the chochonnet wins. The beauty of the game is that anyone can play, regardless of age or physical condition.  The game can be played almost anywhere, and the equipment is inexpensive.  It’s a great way to meet new people, and is traditionally enjoyed with a cool drink and tasty snacks!

So what better place to build a Petanque “piste” (playing area) than at beautiful Pilgrim’s Inn in Deer Isle, Maine?  We have a large area with views of our pond and garden, a great restaurant to enjoy at the end of your game, and delicious “small plates” including local cheeses and house-made pates, specialty drinks and cocktails, to enjoy while playing.

It took several days of hard work but within a week we built one of the nicest Petanque courts on the coast of Maine.  We are looking forward to sharing this highly social, game of strategy and precision with our inn and restaurant customers this year.  If you would like to learn — come join us every Monday afternoon at 4pm and Tony will teach you how to play.