I’m pretty sure I remember the exact moment I first saw a drive-in movie screen and knew what it was. My mom was taking me to a rollerskating lesson at Skateland in Fredericksburg when we passed one. “What’s that?” I asked. She told me it was the site of the former Pitt’s Drive-In theater and told me all about how she and her friends would go there when she was a kid. From that moment, I loved the idea of drive-ins! I figured I probably be visiting one any time in the near future as it seemed they were strictly a symbol of a bygone era. So as a teenager, I flipped out during a trip out west when I saw THREE up-and-running drive-ins in one day! (There was no time to stop and watch a movie though.) And imagine my great joy in college when I discovered there was a drive-in movie theater – a very successful one – in the same county. The Starlite Drive-In soon became a favorite haunt of mine for the 8 years I studied, worked, and became a townie in my beloved Blacksburg.
Although drive-ins are hardly as ubiquitous as they once were, they are not unheard of, either. Today the Commonwealth of Virginia has at least 10 open and operating drive-ins, some of them new. I had always planned to make a summer out of visiting all of them, including a return trip to my favorite Starlite, and it looks like this may be the summer! Eric’s generous boss has given him a full three days off for the holiday weekend, so we’ll be taking a very brief getaway to nearby Stephens City to visit the Family Drive-In, open since 1956, as our first drive-in stop! There are some other attractions in that town as well and we’re really just looking forward to having a mini-vacation.
For more information on drive-in theaters in Virginia and surrounding states, both open and closed, please visit this site (my go-to reference): Drive-In Theatres of the Mid-Atlantic, Past and Present
You can also visit the Family Drive-In’s website right here.