Manteo is probably the only true town there is on the Outer Banks. Duck has a wonderful village feel to it; Corolla village is a cluster of beautifully restored buildings that are now stores; Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head all have small groups of buildings gathered together. But only Manteo has a true downtown with stores and businesses clustered around the waterfront.
Architecturally not much has changed in the past 60 or 70 years and that includes the Pioneer Theatre, which seems to be the oldest movie theatre continuously owned by the same family in America. Geroge Wahsington Creef, Jr. built the theatre in 1918 and his great grandson, Buddy Creef is the owner now.
Seeing a movie at the Pioneer is like a step back in time. One movie, one screen and one box office–and the box office is a glass cube that really is a box. In the lobby there there is this wonderful aroma of freshly popped popcorn–probably because popcorn is always being freshly popped. The condiment counter is what would have been typical 30 or 40 years ago–10 or 12 varieties of candy, popcorn, soda. No hot dogs, no nachos, no overpriced bottles of water.
Buddy’s movies are recently released movies that just came off their first run and as a consequence ticket prices are low–$5.00. Condiments–nothing over $1.50, and that includes the fresh popcorn, that is always still warm when it’s served.
There is only one show a night, usually at either 7:30 or 8:00. A good screen, a good sound system, old fashioned seats, and a step back in time.