The Fairlee Motel & Drive-in is one of three motel/drive-in combinations operating in the United States. The drive-in was built in 1950 by Reginald and Terri Drowns and originally called the Holiday Park Drive-in. Back then, I-91 didn’t exist and Route 5 was the main road. So in 1960, six motel rooms were built on the snack bar’s south side and, in 1966, six more motel rooms were added to the north side. At about this time the name was changed to the Hi-Way 5 Drive-in.
With the second owners in 1987, the name was changed to the Fairlee Motel and Drive-in Theater. We are the third and current owners and purchased the combo back in 2003. We added an FM transmitter for better sound (stereo sound 88.7FM), outside sound speakers by the snack truck, and replaced the old carbon arc projectors with a 35 mm simplex projector with a Zenon bulb and platter for a sharper and brighter picture. We also extended our movie schedule to include weekdays as well.
This served us well until the movie studios pushed for an industry-wide conversion to digital. With help of the local community and Fairlee Drive-in lovers far and wide, we were able to raise enough (2/3) of the money needed to purchase a new digital projector. Without their help we could not have done it on our own. So, in 2014 a new digital projector was installed! It is a BARCO DPK-32B with a 6.5 kw Digital Xenon Lamp (that is a 6500 watt bulb!). And a JSD-60 Drive-in Audio Processor, etc. etc. The color, clarity and sound are truly awesome!