Mar. 13: Montana Drive-In, Estill Springs TN

photo from the Montana Drive-In Facebook page

It’s Day 72 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. Even though the drive was only an hour, I took a fast-forward ride from possibly the oldest drive-in in Tennessee, the Hi-way 50 Drive in, to the newest, the Montana Drive-In, about halfway between Tullahoma and Estill Springs TN.

The Montana was built by Ray and Beth Rhoton, who named it for their daughter. This modern three-screen drive-in opened in November 2004. The concession stand and second-floor projection loft are at the center of this little complex, and it looks a lot like a house from the outside. Pretty nifty!

It was so nice to have three sets of movies to choose from, on a Monday night in March no less! I hadn’t seen the latest King Kong, but I expect it’ll turn up on a drive-in screen down the road. Instead, I chose Get Out, a horror-comedy with a lot of good buzz.

Miles Today / Total:  41 / 9197 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Get Out / 41

Nearby Restaurant: The restaurant that always has a full parking lot of locals is usually the place to eat, and the Sample Family Restaurant is no exception. Although I’m happy with broasted chicken, I was really glad to be able order breakfast for dinner. I had an omelet with a side of biscuits and gravy, and I was full for the rest of the day.

Where I Virtually Stayed: There aren’t any hotels in Estill Springs, so I went the other way to Tullahoma and the Hampton Inn there. Although it had been nice to try different hotels, it was nice to get back to the comfortable uniformity of Hampton. It was also within walking distance of several restaurant chains and a large grocery store, but I was still full from Sample’s. Good thing I got a room near the front, away from the trains that pass by near the back.

Only in Estill Springs: The town takes its name from the Frank Estill family, which donated a right-of-way for railroad construction. According to Wikipedia, The combination of mineral waters and convenient rail access caused the settlement to develop as a small-scale spa town. Oscar Meyer was appointed the first mayor of Estill. Later during Prohibition, Estill Springs was home to prominent bootlegger Parker Jones, who took advantage of the heavily wooded terrain to distill booze and hide from the law.

Next Stop: Sand Mountain Twin Drive-In Theater, Boaz AL.

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