One of the few "bright spots" that resurfaced during last year's COVID-19 pandemic was a return to packing up the ol' station wagon (or these days an S-U-V) as families enjoyed an evening outdoors watching a film in the comfort of your car on the giant silver screen as the vintage speaker was hung at the front seat of your vehicle (not the best sound fidelity, but in my opinion, you were STILL able to enjoy the show).

Ah YES, The Drive-In Theater which has been a traditional form of entertainment since the first cinema opened in Camden, New Jersey over 85 years ago, has seen a rebirth and for a nostalgic guy like me, it does my heart proud this slice of Americana has returned to the fold as you have an option to check out some of your favorite first run or revival films the old fashioned and traditional way. Sadly, the influx of multiplex cinemas led to the drive-in's brief hiatus but it took a world wide pandemic to bring this true fixture of entertainment back into our lives.

Here in Western Masschusetts, these types of movie houses are nowhere to be found as the closest outdoor cinemas are located in the Boston area. Fear not: A pair of iconic drive-ins are up and running in our tri-state region and are in business welcoming you to see the really big show.

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The Pleasant Valley Drive-In is located 45 minutes south of Great Barrington at 47 River Road, just east of Winsted in neighboring Barkhamsted, Connecticut.

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West of south county, in the beautiful hamlet of Amenia, New York, you can enjoy an evening of dining and movie watching at The Four Brothers Drive-In located on route 22 in the breathtaking Harlem Valley of Northern Dutchess county.

There are other options to look into in The neighboring "Empire State" :

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The Hyde Park Drive-In which is located 11 miles west of the Taconic State Parkway on route 9, parallel the estate of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (another recommended day trip from yours truly).

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The Hi-Way Drive-In theater is located on route 9-W in Coxsackie, just south of Albany, New York.

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If you are inclined, head up north to route 32 in Greenville, New York in the northern Catskill mountains and check out some classic films at The Greenville Drive-In. The trek takes about 90 minutes, but it's well worth a journey to an area I call "God's Country"

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Just south of Albany, The Jericho Drive-In Theater is also open for business. They are also located on route 9-W and don't forget to make a stop for some soft ice cream at their world famous stand. I highly recommend it! MMM MMM GOOD!!!

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In neighboring Rensselear county, you can trek over the border to Averill Park on route 66 and check out the latest features at a cinema appropriately known as The Hollywood Drive-In Theater which is located over an hour west of south county.

So what are you waiting for: Gather the family or caravan with some friends and enjoy a film with some fresh air to boot and don't forget to adjust the speaker, but these days you can get top quality audio from car radio, but in my case, I'll take the inaudible speaker because I am a TRUE traditionalist!

(Photos of drive-in marquees courtesy of the theater's respective Facebook pages)

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