Earlier today I was suggesting some posts for social media and came across the news that drive-in movies are starting to re-open! So exciting to have a place you can go with the family, and actually enjoy something we might remember from real life, pre-quarantine. But then I thought to myself, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to a drive-in. As a matter of fact, I distinctly remember the following three trips to a drive-in, all happening towards the end of my drive-in days, and the end of the drive-in in my own hometown.
Orca at the Starlite
In 1977, I was home from college and took my brother and some friends to the local drive-in, The Starlite. It was located across town and was usually pretty busy. But we got there early and got a spot 6 or 7 rows back from the screen. Backstory… I had been a huge fan of Jaws when it came out in 1975 and went to see it like 3 times in one week. My sister and I even went once and sang along. Singing you ask? At Jaws? It was during the scene where they’re all drunk on the boat and singing. Until that fateful music comes up, duuuuh duh, duuuh duh, duh duh duh duh. You know what I mean. Anyway, when Orca came out I heard it was similar to Jaws so I wanted to go.
Unfortunately for us, there was a very important difference between Orca and Jaws. It was very realistically graphic and actually involved sea creatures with heart and vengeance on their mind when a female orca is killed. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say it is devastating, pretty much everyone dies or is maimed, and my brother’s friend just couldn’t handle the gore. So we headed home early. Not a good memory of that drive-in.
How I got stuck then unstuck at the drive-in
But don’t be disappointed. I have another memory from that drive-in. From perhaps 2 years earlier. I don’t remember the movie but I do remember the damage to my father’s car. I was in charge and was taking my sister, Lorraine, and our little sister, Toni, to see a movie. It was just us, and we had the money for candy and popcorn, and Toni was dressed in her PJs so she could just fall asleep if she felt like it. That’s what little kids did back then. Just wear your pajamas and get carried back into the house when you got home.
I believe it was her first time going to a drive-in and we had her convinced it was going to be a night to remember. Once we got there we let her pick the spot to park so she could see the screen. I was driving my family’s big station wagon, and Toni wanted the speaker on her side of the car. Today you can listen to the movie on the car radio. Back then, to hear the movie, you actually pulled up next to a post with a metal speaker hanging off a hook at the top. The easier thing would have been to park with the post on the driver’s side, but Toni wanted the speaker in her window, and it was her first time, so I pulled up next to the post on the passenger side.
But being a fairly new driver, I pulled too close and knocked the speaker to the ground. And of course, I was also too close for the door to open so I put the car in reverse and backed up. Suddenly I heard a popping sound and metal screeching, so I put on the brakes. A guy from the car in the row behind us came over to help. But as he tried to direct me off the hook for the speaker, he realized it had pierced the door and as I drove, it proceeded to tear open the metal on the car door like a can opener. The guy told me there was no other way to do it, so let it go, and then park in a different spot. And that’s what we did. Toni didn’t get the speaker in her window, and my father was none too pleased with me when I told him what had happened.
Foxes vs. Kramer vs. Kramer
OK, so that was another bad story. Let’s see…. The last drive-in movie I remember going to was Foxes with Jodie Foster. I’d just graduated from college, and my roommate from England had moved to the States from Austria. She was staying with relatives the next town over from mine so we went to the drive-in in Revere, MA. Another drive-in that has been replaced since, this one with a shopping mall. But that night we pulled into the drive-in to watch Foxes AND Kramer vs. Kramer which had come out the year before and was on a different screen. The way this drive-in was set up made it possible for them to show 4 movies at the same time, but they all started at different times, and screens were positioned so the movie you saw depended on which way your car was parked. We definitely watched Foxes, but I kept looking behind me to stay caught up with Kramer vs. Kramer, too. I’d been in England for a semester, and living in NH prior to that at school so I hadn’t been to a movie in quite a while. I do remember getting extremely sleepy by the end of the night and falling asleep on the way home. Good thing I wasn’t driving.
Heading to a Drive-In Today!
But if you’re in the New England area and are interested in going to the drive-in, it is still possible. There are three options that charge by the carload and are open now that this area has moved past the worst of the virus (we hope).
Milford Drive-In, Elm St., Milford, NH – They consider themselves the best drive-in theater in New England. They’re even showing live streaming concerts. As of this writing, they’re advertising Garth Brooks on 6/27/20 as “A Drive-In Concert Experience.” Pretty wise on their part. I hear it’s sold out.
- Tickets can be purchased online and that’s recommended because they sell out fast.
- Every night you have a double feature, and the show starts around 8:45 pm
- Check the website for COVID-19 rules. Face coverings are required near the concession stand, box office, and in the bathrooms. They are operating at half capacity so cars are spread out with 10 feet between each one.
- Admission is advertised as $30 per vehicle 1 – 6 people. $5 for each additional person. Extended Vans – $40
Wellfleet Drive-In Theater, Rt. 6 Wellfleet, MA- Classic Drive-In from 1957.
- Tickets are available online. Tickets are per person but must be purchased for your entire carload. If you bring additional people you can pay for the extras at the box office. But to reserve a spot for your car, you must purchase for the carload in advance.
- They recommend arriving 1 hour early for the best spots.
- Check the website for COVID-19 rules. Masks are required, cars must be separated even if you’re in the same family.
- This location is under construction so a temporary snack bar and porta-potties are available. Shows start at 8:35, double feature. Admission is $13 per person, $9 per senior (62+) and children (4 – 11)
Mendon Drive-In Theater, 35 Milford St., Mendon, MA considered America’s Most Beloved Drive-In.
- This theater is also showing the Garth Brooks concert but it looks like it’s sold out.
- Offers double features for $30 per car, 1 – 6 people. $6 per additional person beyond that number.
- They also offer other theme nights and special events.
- They were not showing a movie the night I wrote this post, but check their website for more details.
- They did not have updates on how they are handling COVID-19 precautions.
- They do have a snack bar, an ice cream stand, and a beer garden.
What does Hash have to do with Drive-Ins?
So there’s a show we watch sometimes, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It’s a foodie show hosted by Guy Fieri. Fun to watch, the food is always amazing, and when he talks about drive-ins he’s talking about restaurants. In my mind, I think of drive-in movies. But when I hear diners I think hash… sorry, that’s how my brain works. And one of the best hash recipes I’ve ever made was a lazy man’s hash casserole. From that idea, I’ve created the following dish, which is perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. But probably not going to work if you try to pack it to take to the drive-in!
Lazy Woman’s Hash
- 1 package frozen hash browns (thawed)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ lb corned beef chopped (you can substitute with chopped sliced turkey breast)
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ¼ chopped tomato (drain and remove seeds)
- ¼ cup chopped mushrooms
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk eggs, sour cream, and milk in a bowl
- Add remaining ingredients except ½ cup cheese and mix well.
- Pour into a greased casserole and top with final ½ up of cheese
- Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until egg is set and cheese is bubbling.
Allow the casserole to sit for a few minutes before slicing to give it time to set. You can also add fresh dill, parsley and even fresh basil if you have it handy. But then you’d be a bit less than lazy!
Now I’m making myself hungry!