Then Is Now – Summer Drive-In 2013 – Part 1

Re-Published from 2013

THE FAIRLEE MOTEL & DRIVE-IN   Drive-In enthusiasts are a special breed: we seek out Drive-In theaters no matter how far away and never stopped incorporating Drive-In going in our lives. While the average person assumes they are all gone, we know that they are not, and the surviving ones are actually prospering (some adding screens in recent years as well). If the experience of watching movies under the stars wasn’t unique enough, the Fairlee Motel & Drive-In in Fairlee Vermont offers a whole different way of watching movies at the Drive-In: from your motel room.

Yes, that’s right, from your MOTEL room. The Fairlee is a real and true Drive-In theater, complete with old-fashioned Drive-In speakers on posts. It is a one screen theater, and positioned at the back of the lot is a strip motel. Each room has a picture window overlooking the theater, and each is wired for sound. You can literally sit in the room and watch the movies from the comfort of your bed! It really is a great and fun experience, and if you are looking for something to do with the family during the Spring to Fall seasons, seek out the Fairlee!

There were a couple of drawbacks, but they didn’t detract from the experience. When we first walked into the room, the beds were on the left wall and the way they were positioned in relation to the window, there was no way one would be able to see the film from the beds. So, to solve this I moved the bed (thankfully this was a motel where the beds were NOT attached to the wall!) over to a position where you COULD see the film from the bed. Then, because of the humidity outside and the air conditioning inside, the window fogged up which made watching the first film rather difficult. I didn’t get the bright idea of using windex on the outside of the window until it was intermission time, and that worked really well! (A true Drive-In enthusiast always has windex and a roll of paper towels in his car!)

The only other drawback was that they wouldn’t let you walk around to the Drive-In with your beach chairs and boom box (in order to hear the movie). It had something to do with the movie companies and their rules. You are allowed to go to the snack bar, but if you want to go into the Drive-In itself and stay, you have to pay. In years past we were able to walk in, so that was the one disappointing element.

Overall, the entire experience was really fun and worth the effort to see a unique part of Americana! I highly recommend going to the Fairlee as a family trip. Only two and a half hours from the Boston area and well worth the experience!


Most Drive-In enthusiasts are also diner enthusiasts as well, although each has their own hardcore fan group. I love going to diners as well as Drive-Ins, and when I was reminded of the Fairlee Diner, I was looking forward to it! The Fairlee Diner, just down the road on Route 5 from the Drive-In, helps make the nostalgic trip complete.

The Fairlee doesn’t look like a traditional stainless steel diner on the outside; it looks like a small house. But on the inside it is a full diner, complete with chef cooking right at the hood behind the counter. The menu selection is excellent and their hash is not quite corned beef! It seemed to be comprised of shredded pork, but was amazingly delicious!

So, for nostalgia buffs, or good parents who want to share real Americana with their kids, seek out Fairlee, Vermont. The Fairlee Motel & Drive-In, and the Fairlee Diner won’t disappoint!  

Also, check out further photos of the Fairlee at our Flickr page!

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