Friday, 17 June 2011

At The Drive In

We're spending our first night in Vermont with llama farmers in South Hero. I'm not making this up. South Hero is situated on an island in the middle of Lake Champlain and it's such a quiet and picturesque setting - the only sounds you hear are the water lapping at the shore, the birds singing and the llamas… erm… a-llarming?

Two snooty llamas
The couple who run the farm also raise pigs, make their own maple syrup and wool from the llamas - just to be clear, it's the wool that comes from the llamas not the maple syrup.  Having said that, if bees make honey and earwigs make chutney, who knows what llamas are capable of!

One snooty llama (bottom left) and a big sky
As we head out for the evening and ask for a key for the front door, we're told that we won't need one. It seems it's so quiet around here that they don't bother to lock the doors - it feels like we've travelled back to "the good old days", which is where we're off to next.

We've never been to a drive-in movie theater (sic) before - I don't know anyone who has (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). The north of England is not famed for it's drive-ins so the opportunity has never arisen. Well, it arose tonight in the shape of the Sunset Drive-In in Colchester (Vermont, not Essex).

We "drive-in" at about 8:15pm and the friendly man in the booth hands us a little leaflet detailing the films that were playing on each of the 4 screens. We choose our movie, pay our $15 and, after thanking us for choosing his drive-in, (I think he actually was the owner) he directs us to screen 4.


Screen 4 is a big flat piece of corrugated iron, painted white. In front of it, people had already parked on a series of grass ridges - we select a spot between a couple of very large 4x4 SUVs.

On an open bit of grass over to the left, a man is throwing a ball to his son, who is catching it in his baseball glove. Then two couples roll up in a station wagon and lay blankets on the bonnet and roof. They proceed to spray themselves liberally with insect repellent before taking up positions on the car, the lads on the roof, the girls on the bonnet.

We tune the radio in to the frequency shown on our leaflet and are greeted with the sound of Sunset Radio. The Everly Brothers fill the car with their close harmony wholesomeness and are followed by a spot of Buddy Holly. It already feels like an American movie, and the American movie hasn't started yet. If only The Black Slug was an open-top Chevy and my hair was long enough to style into a "quiff".

In need of food, we walk across to the snack bar (shed) where we join a queue (should that be a line?) of families who are ordering burgers, hot dogs, popcorn and pretzels. These people are probably very nice and friendly but everyone looks kind of tough, no-nonsense, monster-truck-wrestling types to me and I'm careful not to make any sudden movements that might result in a brawl or a shootout. We order burgers, fries and onion rings and return to the safety of The Black Slug.

Just before sunset, the movie begins (we've chosen to see Super 8). Watching a film on a massive sheet of corrugated iron, thorough your windscreen while the soundtrack plays from your car radio works surprisingly well. The burgers and fries are kind of McDonaldsy but suit the mood. I've bought 12 bottles of beer from the Long Trail Brewing Company - I'm not intending to drink them all, but one or two go down well while Jus enjoys a cream soda. The fireflies dance around between the cars and Steven Spielberg keeps us entertained.

When "Super 8" has finished we have the option of staying for the second film "Thor" but quite honestly, going back to the 50's is quite tiring and it's getting late, so we return to South Hero and climb under our handmade patchwork quilt. We decide we quite like "the good old days".

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