Four Brothers ready for summer season

Hospitality, ease of living and just plain fun are rolled into one for those who are intrigued by the leisure-time Caravana experience at the family-owned Four Brothers Drive-in in Amenia. John Stefanopoulos, pictured above, highlights fun possibilities offered by Hotel Caravana.

Leila Hawken

Four Brothers ready for summer season

The month-long process of unwrapping and preparing the various features at the Four Brothers Drive-In is nearing completion, and the imaginative recreational destination will be ready to open for the season on Friday, May 10.

The drive-in theater is already open, as is the Snack Shack, and the rest of the recreational features are activating one by one, soon to be offering maximum fun for the whole family.

John Stefanopoulos, the second generation helping to guide the Stefanopoulos family’s recreational complex, brings a deep understanding of hospitality and business sense in support of the multi-faceted enterprise, begun in the 1970s, that is now a mainstay of the town of Amenia, located on a corner in the heart of the commercial district. He paused for an interview on Friday, April 26.

Two luxury camping trailers, each with an attached wooden deck and fire pit, make up Hotel Caravana, and each offers a different fun vibe, Stefanopoulos explained. The larger of the two, offers a California lifestyle, retro to 1967, although its modern where it should be. It can sleep four.

The smaller Caravana sleeps two and offers a lifestyle of the future dating to about 2041. It’s a brand-new Airstream, Stefanopoulos noted. It also has an attached deck with firepit.

“We get a lot of New York City people,” Stefanopoulos said when asked what sorts of people are apt to be attracted to Hotel Caravana. “They want to experience the upstate life,” he added. The idea of sitting out on the deck while watching an actual drive-in movie appeals to them, as does room service offered by the restaurant.

The lobster rolls prepared by the Snack Shack, are served on brioche hot dog rolls, either Maine-style or Connecticut-style, and the lobster can be topped with caviar. Four Brothers version is praised by customers for the generous portion of lobster in each, and the price is competitive.

Caravana guests may book for a single night, or maybe two, or even longer, taking advantage of the bicycles to pedal along the nearby rail trail, a local amenity, Stefanopoulos noted.

“We make our guests feel like movie stars,” Stefanopoulos said of the hospitality. And, if they like miniature golf, it is just a few steps away from their Caravana deck.

Asked how and why the Caravana idea began, Stefanopoulos recalled that as the drive-in theater grew in popularity, people were traveling from greater distances away. The last film of the night might start at midnight, he said, so the idea grew that Four Brothers might be able to offer an accommodation to stay the night.

In addition to Caravana, Four Brothers offers an alternative of two or three tent camping sites.

Future plans may include a third Caravana, Stefanopoulos said. Also, there is a giant mastodon skeleton, presently in storage, that should be on display, he said.

“It’s pretty big,” Stefanopoulos added.

The playground might be enlarged in the coming seasons, and perhaps an old-fashioned arcade added for retro amusement.

The community that surrounds Four Brothers remains important to the Stefanopoulos family as they offer substantial summer employment opportunity. Stefanopoulos said that a goal is to contract locally for business needs, such as musical entertainment and advertising. The drive-in also schedules occasion fundraisers to benefit local organizations, including the Amenia Fire Company and area schools.

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