It's a tradition dating back to the 1930s, and for many moviegoers, it still eclipses the modern multiplex experience. But it's also threatened by extinction. With only an estimated 357 drive-ins still functioning throughout the US, Saco is one of the last places where an audience of automobiles can bask in movie magic under the twinkling starlight. With speakers propped by the car windows and affordable concessions at hand, viewers laugh, cry, and cheer at double features of first-run films while knowing exactly who's kicking the seat behind them. Those who want to keep this American tradition going can donate to Project Drive-In, which aids outdoor theaters as they strive to make the pricey conversions to digital projection.
Open until 1 a.m., Sneaky Pete Billiards riles up the spirit of friendly competition with a variety of different games, including video games, darts, foosball, and billiards atop eight tables. Tournaments are posted on their Facebook page, and leagues take place three nights a week. Patrons of all ages can fuel the competition by diving into hearty dishes such as chili mac or shepherd's pie—a homemade heap of savory ground beef and fresh mashed potatoes that leaves bellies more full than a drill sergeant's swear jar. Guests can also stroll up to the full-service bar and imbibe a selection of 36 bottled beers or variety of cocktails.
Film buffs across six states stare wide-eyed at large cinema screens, losing themselves in first-run Hollywood movies and the smell of fresh, buttery kernels within Your Neighborhood Theatre's 17 locations. Though all theaters prioritize comfortable seating, old-fashioned friendly service, and high-stakes preshow trivia slideshows, each location encompasses its own distinct charm, be it through arthouse décor, 3-D screens, or Rhode Island's vintage 1950's drive-in setting.
As a local non-profit, the State Theatre has vivified the cultural landscape for nearly a century through applause-worthy performances and engaging community programs. Come February, Stomp will explode onto the stage with percussive rhythm and movement, and Glen Burtnik & Friends will honor John Lennon's 70th birthday by serenading a Fab Four-loving crowd with beloved hits such as “Strawberry Fields Forever” and lesser-known tunes such as "Tangerine Terrain Temporarily." Surrender your eardrums to the marching band musicality and show-stopping steppers of DrumLine Live, or treat a theater-craving youngster to the food-fueled metamorphosis of The Very Hungry Caterpillar for a black-lit puppet presentation of a childhood classic.
Some meat-centric restaurants may try to evoke an old-time Western ranch, but chef Harding Lee Smith dubs The Grill Room & Bar an “urban steakhouse.” Although the open, high-ceilinged dining room exudes plenty of rustic charm, Smith is most inspired by his restaurant's own bustling neighborhood and the local farms beyond it. Starring in a cast of fresh, locally grown produce are grass-fed, all-natural meats from New Gloucester's Pineland Farms. These meats—think spice-rubbed skirt steaks, butterflied pork chops, and organic Cornish game hen—are seared on the open kitchen’s wood-fired grill and then plated with modern flourishes such as truffled mash and grilled onion jam. Seafood dishes benefit equally from the wood grills, while a wood pizza oven creates crackly, chewy pies such as a duck and brie pizza with shaved apples and balsamic syrup.
Wines range through France, Italy, and New Zealand, and bartenders kick out cocktails such as hot buttered rum and the Creole Bull, a Twenty-2 vodka concoction with peppers and smoked peppercorns. Desserts tend toward the rich and creamy, with house-made bean crème brulee and New York–style cheesecakes whose flavors vary with the seasons and the Statue of Liberty's moods.
The Portland & Rochester Railroad once connected Portland to Quebec, the Maritimes, and the rest of New England. While tracks still line some of the city's cobblestone streets, the train stop is now home to Portland & Rochester Public House. Using local ingredients, the pub's cooks draw on the culinary traditions of those provinces once connected by the rail. Lobster cakes with spicy harissa, for instance, pay homage to New England's seafood, and a poutine of house-cut fries, bacon, and ducky gravy honors Quebec. To complement those dishes, bartenders decant local beer from eight taps, serve wine from a 20-bottle collection, and handcraft cocktails, including several house-infused bourbon options.