According to the Swan’s history page, the drive-in was built in 1955 on land leased from the city of Blue Ridge. The story of the surprising effort it took to grade the land and find a crane to raise the screen tower is more than I can summarize here, so you really ought to go read it.
On the other hand, I can tell you how it was named the Swan. There were two partners in the drive-in. One was stationed in England during World War II and admired the beautiful, peaceful swans swimming on the lakes and ponds there. His partner liked the name because it was short.
Not only was the Swan open for me in mid-March, it was showing a movie I hadn’t seen yet. The latest King Kong reboot makes a great drive-in movie! It went great with my popcorn and deep-fried Oreos.
Miles Today / Total: 96 / 9371 (rounded to the nearest mile)
Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Kong: Skull Island / 42
Nearby Restaurant: The Blue Ridge Brewery had me at “brewery.” I didn’t know it had live music on Saturdays too. I expected burgers and bar food, but it also had steaks, including my perfectly prepared rib eye. And plenty of varieties of fresh beer, which is why it had me at “brewery.”
Where I Virtually Stayed: The Douglas Inn looks like one of those 1950s style motels with a couple dozen rooms facing an outdoor pool. But they tell me it was built in 2000 and renovated a couple of years ago, and its modernity shows when you look closely. Everything was clean, the staff was great, I had a nice little continental breakfast, and the price was better than the chain hotels.
Only in Blue Ridge: Free Time Hobbies, a “hobby super store” in Blue Ridge, has a particularly interesting muffler man out front holding a model airplane. According to Roadside America, “Mr. Hobby” began his life as “Mr. Bendo” atop Ced’s Muffler Shop in Chicago, which he guarded for about 50 years. After a harsh storm in 2010, Mr. Bendo’s top half broke off. Free Time purchased the pieces in 2014 and restored him. Sounds like it was a great hobby project!
Next Stop: Tiger Drive In Theatre, Tiger GA.