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The Fairlee Drive-In Is Open for the Season

Jun 29, 2017 10:58AM ● By Linda Ditch
While it may be tempting to spend a hot summer evening in an air-conditioned movie theater, you’re more likely to remember a trip to the Fairlee Motel and Fairlee Drive In Theater. Located at 1809 US Route 5 North in Fairlee, Vermont, it is one of only two motel/drive-in combos still operating in the United States.

Built in 1950 before I-91 existed, the drive-in was nothing more than a movie screen, projection booth, and snack bar. In the 1960s, rooms were added on both sides of the snack bar to create the motel. Today, both have been updated to create an enjoyable experience for families in the 21st century. (No, you don’t have to stay at the motel to see a movie.

The drive-in shows current films with a digital projector installed in 2014, thanks to the generosity of fans who donated to a national Kickstarter campaign. It will be open every night starting July 4th weekend through Labor Day weekend, then only on Friday and Saturday nights until Columbus Day weekend. The gate and snack bar open at 7pm, and the first movie starts at dusk. Unlike the old days when you paid by the carload, the cost is now per person, at $9 for adults, $6 for children 5 to 11, and free for kids under 5. Cash is the only accepted form of payment for both tickets and food.

To ensure you get a good view of the screen, large trucks and vans should be parked on the back row and small cars in the car-only section—the first six rows on the right side of the field. Once parked, you can enjoy the movie from inside your car or set up lawn chairs outside. (If you bring your dog, keep him in the car.) You can listen to the movie on 88.7 FM, or come early to find a parking spot next to one of the working car speakers.

The snack bar offers a variety of treats as well as full meals. Try a Thunder Burger made from Black Angus steers raised in Piermont, New Hampshire. You can also enjoy hot dogs and corn dogs. They serve Brew City fries and onion rings made with seasoned beer batter. Of course, you can also munch on popcorn topped with Cabot butter, and candy and ice cream too.

If you want to stay overnight, the motel rooms include circa 1960s’ wall speakers near each room’s back window to hear the sound from the movie. The rooms also include a satellite TV, refrigerator, and microwave.

To see what’s playing at the drive-in or to book a motel room, visit the Fairlee Drive-In and Motel website at

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