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Petanque and champagne on Shelter Island

Alexander Lehnen, executive chef of Katana restaurant at

Alexander Lehnen, executive chef of Katana restaurant at the La Maison Blanche plays petanque. During the summer, the hotel is hosting bocce-like game play every Sunday from noon until sunset. Credit: Kat Doran

Care for a game of petanque?

No worries if you're unfamiliar with the sport, as it’s generally played outside the USA – but if you'd like to try it out, or on the chance you're already a seasoned pro (or would be happy just watching), there’s a recurring weekend petanque tournament taking place only a quick ferry ride away -- and it also happens to feature unlimited champagne.

Petanque (pronounced "pay-TONK”) is a bocce-like contest that originated in France back in the early 1900s and today is most commonly played both there and in Spain. But it’s not completely foreign to the United States, as according to the Petanque America website (, there are nearly 30,000 regular native competitors and 45 member clubs affiliated with the Federation of Petanque USA (FPUSA; The basic idea of the undertaking is for a “petanqueur” (the proper term for a petanque participant) to roll hollow metal orbs as close as possible to a wooden ball (the “cochonnet”) while hurling from inside a drawn circle.

If this sounds like a challenge worthy of either consideration or investigation, the La Maison Blanche hotel on Shelter Island is hosting a petanque-powered party every Sunday from noon until sunset throughout the summer.

Those seeking to play should call 631-749-5659 to register – and there is a $99 fee – but for that price, gamers will also score bottomless glasses of Veuve Clicquot champagne and Grey Goose vodka, as well as bites from a pig roast prepared by the inn’s Katana restaurant. (Spectators are also welcome, but for a higher admission charge of $149.) For more information, check out La Maison Blanche online at and

La Maison Blanche: 11 Stearns Point Rd., Shelter Island Heights, 631-749-1633

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