Saco Drive-in makes America’s best list

drive in

A year ago it was written for dead, now the Saco Drive-in is a top tourist attraction in the country. How did this happen? Perseverance and the power of social media.

Owner Ry Russell gets credit for turning the nostalgic spot around. Who can forget his impassioned campaign last year that caught Honda’s eye. The new digital projector has helped keep the flicker alive.

TripAdvisor is producing a litany of lists this summer. Two weeks ago it was ice cream, now it’s al fresco flicks. Their Popularity Index (which sounds like a cruel high school game) got it right once again by naming Saco no. 6 — before the Wellfleet Drive-in on old Cape Cod if you are keeping score. The second oldest drive-in in the country embodies the vintage Vacationland feel of “Costal” Route 1.

I visited the Saco Drive-in earlier this summer and despite multi mosquito bites and retro food warmed under orange lights, I loved every minute. To be able to sit outside and enter a scene from “Grease” for a few bucks is the stuff of summertime reveries.

What, you haven’t been? There is still time for an anti-Netflix experience. On Wed. the double feature Night at the Museum and Phantom of the Opera will cool you right down. Open seven days a week until Labor Day, then Saco shifts to a Thursday through Sunday sched through October.

Of course Maine also boasts other great drive-ins. Hit Route 302 (if you dare) and a few miles apart is Pride’s Corner in Westbrook and Bridgton Twin Drive-in in Bridgton. Check out this slidehshow from my colleague and BDN blogger Troy Bennett for an extra dose of nostalgia. See you in the parking lot!

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.