It’s Day 301 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It was time to get back on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for part of the 2½-hour drive from the Mahoning Drive-In Theater a few miles west of Lehighton PA to the Warwick Drive-In Theatre, just across the border and a couple of miles west of Warwick NY.
The Warwick has a great history, kept up to date, on the About Us page of its web site. The drive-in was built in 1950 by Charles and Mary Finger in partnership with George and Adeline Miller on land owned by Paul and Emma Miller. George and Adeline sold out to Russ and Gloria Eurich. It had one 70-by-40-foot screen and parking for 350 cars. Soon, the Fingers bought out the business from the Eurichs. It was run successfully by the Finger family for 25 years.
The Fingers retired and sold the drive-in to Frank Seeber in 1977. Seeber also bought the property from Miller’s widow, then bought more acreage from her in 1982. Seeber and his wife Ann expanded the drive-in to two screens with two projection rooms. Before 1995, they added a third screen and more ticket selling stations to comply “with the town’s insistence on controlling the traffic and parking situations.”
In 1995, the Seebers retired from the drive-in business and sold the theater and land to Beth and Ernest Wilson as Casey Family Theaters, Inc. “We named the company after our nickname for Cassandra, the youngest of our four children,” Beth told the Warwick Valley Chamber. “She was born on the day we purchased the business.”
Beth’s sister, Laurey Keller, assists with daily operations, and Beth and Laurey’s children have worked at the Warwick throughout the years. Concession manager Joan Damon has been with the theater since the 1970s, before the Seebers bought it. The drive-in converted to digital projection in 2014.
The Warwick is the closest drive-in to Manhattan, about 90 minutes away, and for years was the closest drive-in to New Jersey. I was fortunate enough to catch it on the very last night of its 2017 season. Although it was the Saturday before Halloween, there were plenty of “regular” choices available to watch.
The YouTube video of the day comes from the time of digital conversion. It’s a nice little slice of life at the drive-in.
Miles Today / Total: 105 / 34131 (rounded to the nearest mile)
Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: American Made / 184
Nearby Restaurant: Some of the best ice cream anywhere can be found at the Bellvale Farms Creamery in Warwick. For the season, I tried their pumpkin flavor, then I added some Black Dirt Blast on a homemade waffle cone. Did you know that with enough ice cream, you don’t need anything else for dinner?
Where I Virtually Stayed: The nicest place to stay in Warwick is probably the Inn at Stony Creek, a restored colonial farmhouse bed and breakfast built in 1840. My room had its own bathroom and good wifi. Breakfast was an amazing homemade experience, so different from the cookie-cutter hotel breakfast buffets. Good stuff!
Only in Warwick: Zen spirituality author and artist Frederick Franck created the Pacem in Terris sculpture garden around a rebuilt old windmill along the Wawayanda River in Warwick. It holds occasional poetry readings and concerts, but it’s nice and peaceful as it is.
Next stop: Circle Drive In Theatre, Dickson City PA.