Time machines can be unreliable, especially the beaters you spot on eBay. Try one that features dancing hot dogs, “Forbidden Planet”, kids in their pajamas on the playground and, maybe, a stolen kiss – all fond memories of this perfect confluence of love of nature. for movies and their cars: the drive-in cinema. Steve Wiggin and his wife, Julia, own the Northfield Drive-In Drive-In, probably the oldest in the state. Established in 1948, it continues to serve up barrels of popcorn and nostalgia, transporting you back in time, away from your sofa and flat screen, to an unparalleled cinematic experience on a hot summer night. .
- Of course, there can certainly be a resurgence of drive-ins. Coming out of Covid, people want to go out to do activities in a safe environment; drive-in theaters across the country have been deemed a safe outdoor gathering place.
- More importantly, what we are seeing is multi-generational attendance. We often have grandparents, their children and the children of the children who end up at the drive-in or who all come in the same vehicle.
- Grandparents and parents love telling stories of their summers at the movies, kissing in the back row, eating their first fried dough and watching movies in their pajamas.
- The drive-in is literally in our backyard; it adjoins our home and commercial property.
- My first thought was that this would be our retreat — something fun to do in the summer months — and then we can focus on our other interests and volunteering off season.
- The acquisition of the drive-in was a somewhat private sale. A real estate agent got him listed on the local radio station’s “Swap Shop.” Can you imagine that? Swap Shop!
- Some things were, and still are, obsolete. We make improvements fairly regularly, with the highest priority on safety and Covid protection for our staff and customers.
- Northfield Drive-in is divided into two states, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. [It’s in Winchester on our side.] For Julia and me, this is not unusual. The property of our home is in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as is the property we own directly across from our residence.
- And, yes, we pay taxes in both states.
- People tell us all the time that our concession prices are very reasonable.
- Julia loves the beetroot and kale veggie burgers, the chipotle-seasoned sweet potato fries, and the marinara-seasoned mozzarella sticks. I love the cheeseburger (a big 6 oz patty – that’s over a quarter pound) and our extra large onion rings. An all time favorite is fried dough.
- If you sneak food in, we expect you to take out your trash and not leave it with us.
- Nothing excites our dander more than seeing a pile of pizza boxes or McDonald’s wrappers in our trash cans.
Save the drive-ins! Write a jingle!
The survival of the Northfield Drive-in is an inspiring exception to the rule. There are fewer than 20 drive-in cinemas still in operation in New England (three of them are in New Hampshire) and many are still closed to all but local wildlife – like the Brentwood Drive-in, pictured right, which was running in the early 1960s. But the Wiggins intend to keep their own piece of movie history open. Their current idea of promoting the joys of outdoor movie watching feels suitably retro. “Knowing that we can’t always be in the past, even with one of the oldest drive-ins, Julia and I talked about having a jingle contest,” says Steve Wiggin. “Our wish is to be able to bring in local talent to write and produce new material for commercials and the concession’s pre-show intermission. If any of your readers would like to submit a song and/or video, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]
And if you submit an idea for a song, jingle, video or flash mob to Steve, please copy us at [email protected] so we can share it with our readers as well.