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Great American Road Trip: U.S. 1, Maine to Florida

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Peter Genovese

It is not often that a book comes with an expiration date, like a gallon of milk--but Hunter (Day Trips from Cincinnati) felt it would be worthwhile to include one--November 2000--in the eighth annual edition of his book. There is no denying that the … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Peter Genovese
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
1 review about Great American Road Trip: U.S. 1, Maine...

66 is for kicks, Route 1 for everything else

  • Nov 29, 2009
My first exposure to Route 1 was at the University of Maryland in the late 1970s where Route 1 ran just past campus and was the home of all things not quite official University issue--the Route 1 Book Exchange, the Varsity Grill, and lots of little sub shops, pinball arcades, head shops, laundromats, and record shops (yes they still had records and pinball in those days). Route 1 was a moving shopping mall, and carnival midway, much as Genovese documents in this coffee table book full of pictures and stories of the people and places from Maine to Key West.

Now I live in Raleigh, NC, where Route 1 is still part of the landscape, and it remains much the same, although it traverses a still-rural but suburbanizing landscape as it nears Raleigh, where the carnival atmosphere of stores, malls, car dealers, and billboards sets up shop. And I can tell you that the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theater (that's drive-in for those who remember what that means) mentioned and pictured in the book (see p. 117-119 and the gorgeous color picture of the still-the-same screen) is still in business and by all accounts thriving from our visit there this year. The bunker-like projection room and snack bar, half-submerged in the center of the parking area, looks like it might have been unchanged since Genovese's 1999 visit--and two decades before. The playground still teams with youngsters, families still arrive in vans and pickups and pile out into lawn chairs and chat with their neighbors, and onscreen are still three first-run features, the first at dusk aimed at the kids, the second at families, and a third for those still awake and still paying attention (not necessarily the same thing at a drive-in). And added bonus, the local live rock band playing obscure movie themes before the shows started on-screen! It was a piece of Americana not to be missed.

The pictures in the book are priceless. The only thing missing is a map marking the locations mentioned in the book. And of course, a book like this could always have more pictures, more places, but then that wouldn't leave room for you to find your own Route 1. Get your map, put your top down, and head south.

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