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Cape Cod Travel Ideas
Go Back in Time at the Wellfleet Drive In Movie Theater
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By Ann Green
 
Do you need an alternative to the 20 cinema multi-plex in a suburban shopping mall?  If you are vacationing on Cape Cod, pile in the car and head over to the Wellfleet Drive In (Welfleet, Mass.) Go back in time at this blast from the past which first opened up in 1957.  This is the only drive in on Cape Cod (there used to be five) and one of approximately 20 left in New England.
 
In the early days you needed to attach speakers to your car window to receive the sound.   The original speakers still exist, but you also have the option of hearing the sound through your car radio (50s music is played before the movie starts to help get you in the mood) or setting up lawn chairs next to your car and listening from the large outdoor speakers. 
 
Before the double feature begins, a giant American flag appears on the 100 foot screen as the National Anthem plays.   Next you hear a welcome announcement, most likely the original one from 1957.  The announcer let us know the drive in is an informal place: no suits, ties or dresses are required.  When's the last time you wore a suit to the movies? He ends by telling us to have a gay and pleasant time.
 
For me, it was worth the price of admission (Adults - $6.50, Children 5-11 and Seniors 60+ - $4.50, Children 4 and under ¬≠free) just to be there and to see the Bugs Bunny cartoons (one for each feature) and 1950s concession stand ads.  These commercial gems request patrons to  "Visit Our Refreshment Stand" and feature a hot dog flipping into a bun, dancing ice cream bars, and cups of soda doing a soft shoe routine, all in an animation style reminiscent of the Jetson's.
 
The main features are almost secondary.  You go to the drive in for the atmosphere, not the quality of the film.   Keep in mind you won't be seeing a film like Schindler's List.  On the night my husband and I went we saw Mr. Deed's (pretty lame) and Spiderman (good drive in flick).  I only wonder what type of mass exodus would have occurred between films if Mr. Deeds was the second show.
 
A word of warning: be sure to get up and walk around at least once or twice.  It's a long time sitting if you don't.  If you get up during one of the films, you usually aren't missing much.  The yellow cinder block concession stand has the usual over priced pop corn, candy and soda, but still retains much of its 1957 look.  One drawback of the drive in is, if you spill popcorn in you car you have to clean it up yourself.
 
Oversize vehicles such as mini vans and SUVs must park in designated areas.  That means if you are one of the few left driving a regular sized car, you can park closer to the front!
 
With all the retro charm the Wellfleet Drive In has to offer, you won't miss the suburban multi-plex for one minute.
 
The Wellfleet Drive In is located on Route 6 on the Eastham/Wellfleet town line.  It is open from late April to early October. Shows start at dusk (approximately 15 minutes after sunset).  For more information: www.wellfleetcinemas.com/drivein.htm or (508) 349-7176.

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