A trip to the Peaceful Side of the Smokies is a gratifying step back into a simpler time and place. Even as you drive into town, you can feel the warm embrace of the mountains and feel the nostalgia of childhood memories flood your senses; a time before responsibility, before the constant distraction of technology, when we were content to enjoy the moment while it happened. Time slows down a little, and you find the effortless beauty in nature as you hike through the Smoky Mountains or as you stroll through the footprints left by settlers centuries before.
Another way to relive a little of the moments of yesteryear is a good, old fashioned drive-in movie. And you are in luck because the Parkway Drive-In Theater is just a short drive away in Maryville, TN. The Parkway Drive-In was established in 1950 by the Brook’s family, who ran it as a family business until the mid-’80s. As the entertainment industry began to change, the drive-in business started to decline nationwide, so the theater shut down for many years. In 1999 Joseph Humbard and his wife purchased the lease and reopened the theater, selling a controlling interest to Doug Freeman in 2003, who still manages the business today.
The drive-in holds 400 cars comfortably and offers green space for kids (or adults who refuse to grow up) to run around and play. Double features play every weekend from early spring through fall, showing a new release followed by a slightly older blockbuster that partners well. This is a truly interactive family experience! Feel free to bring your cornhole boards, soccer balls, or footballs to toss around while the film plays. Make sure to save your appetite too, because they offer top quality concessions from homemade cheeseburgers and fries to popcorn or nachos. Stop in early and check out the local flea market, which sets up from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Come and relive your childhood at the drive-in and share this unique experience with your own children. Load up the bed of your truck with some snuggly blankets or bring the lawn chairs and enjoy entertainment under the stars. Or maybe this is the perfect opportunity for you and your sweetheart to cozy up in the front seat and steal a couple of kisses between shows. What vacation wouldn’t benefit from a good movie, a little nature, and the people you love?
To find out which movies are playing and showtimes while you’re in town, check out Parkway Drive-in Theater’s website at www.parkwaydrivein.com. Keep in mind, Doug is a big fan of motorcycles, old cars, and cinema, so brush up on your trivia knowledge, and maybe you can win some free popcorn to go with the show.