Re-cap of my Twilight trip to Forks, WA in October 2009.
Before the movies, before Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, the world of Twilight existed solely in the little logging town of Forks, Washington. This is the setting that author Stephenie Meyer chose for her saga, and where so much of the richly detailed text takes
place. This elusive town of only about 3.000 residents has always
fascinated me since I started reading The Twilight Saga, so in the spirit of celebrating New Moon, I decided to take a trip down to Forks, Washington in the fall of 2009.
My journey began with the drive from Vancouver to Keystone, Washington where I boarded a ferry to Port Townsend. From there I drove to Port Angeles where I stopped to take a peak at “Bella Italia,” the restaurant that Edward takes Bella to on what’s considering to be
their first date. The restaurant serves Bella’s dinner of choice,
mushroom ravioli, and has had over 5000 orders for the dish. Twilight
author Stephenie Meyer even made a visit to the restaurant that she
unknowingly made popular within her first novel.
From Port Angeles I carried on towards Forks on highway 101. Surrounded on one side by a constant wall of sky-high treetops and the serene Lake Crescent on the other, the winding drive into Forks truly did set up the
atmosphere Meyer describes in her novels. Mountains dense will foliage
lay in the distance beyond the lake, and cloud cover loomed overhead
suggesting imminent rainfall. For a moment, I felt like Bella riding
into Forks for the first time entering the unknown. The unspoiled
landscape seemed so far away from the bustle of Vancouver that I’m used
to. It literally felt like being transplanted into a different world.
The Twilight Tour:
Upon arriving in Forks, I headed through the main part of town to the Forks Visitor’s Center, a log cabin type building with a replica of Bella’s red Chevrolet truck waiting outside. A lady working at the Visitor’s Center gave me a “Forks Twilight Map” highlighted with various Twilight locations, a list of stores selling trinkets and
merchandise, as well as a list of great restaurants in town. The
Visitor’s Center was a wealthy source of information including some
interesting books detailing the real-life settings of Twilight in Forks.
While the town does offer guided Twilight tours through a company
called “Dazzled By Twilight,” I decided to take the map and explore the town myself.
The first stop on the map was the Swan house where Bella and her dad Charlie live. The Forks version of the Swan residence
was a beautiful little grey and white house located at the end of a
side-street. A “Home of the Swans” sign was surrounded
by a small garden at the front of the house. I’m sure everyone has a
different perception of what each setting in the book looks like, and
of course there are the defined settings within the films, but I found
this cozy white house to be the perfect setting for Bella’s new life in
A short distance away was the Forks Community Hospital, where Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Edward’s dad) works within the world of Twilight. The hospital was very similar
to the one in the original Twilight film, and I could immediately
picture accident-prone Bella’s numerous hospital visits. In the parking
lot, one of the doctors had a sign posted above their parking space
that read “Dr. Cullen Vampire Parking Only.” It was
nice to see that the people of Forks have embraced Twilight into their
community and are happy to partake in the spirit of the franchise.
My next stop was Forks High School, a long red brick building with white frames and flag posts surrounded by a lot of
greenery. While the appearance was slightly different in the movie, it
definitely matched Meyer’s descriptions in my mind. The “Home of the Spartans”
sign resided front and center in the middle of the green in front of
the school’s entrance. This was a great location to see in person as
much of Bella’s story begins when she enrolls as a student at Forks
High School where she meets her school friends and the Cullen vampires.
The Forks Police Station was the next stop on the map. This is where Bella’s dad Chief Charlie Swan works. Inside the station was a display cabinet set up with Twilight
memorabilia including a Forks Police uniform. Outside of the station
there were authentic Forks Police cars, the exact vehicle Charlie
drives around in throughout the saga.
Right behind the police station was the Forks designated location of the Cullen house. This location is actually the Miller Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast which claims to be the Cullen house in Forks. The gorgeous little inn
was situated a little bit off the main road which reminded me of
Meyer’s location – just out of town and off a winding road surrounded
by dense foliage. A small path lead up some steps to the front porch
where a message board read: “The Cullens are hiking in the rainforest.
Our overnight guests will be cared for by the resident innkeepers as
usual. Thanks, Esme.” There was also a passage from the novel in the
front window detailing Bella’s perception of the Cullen residence. This
was my favourite stop on the tour as it truly felt like the Cullen
house had been brought to life complete with setting, atmosphere, and
Twilight Shopping In Forks:
On my second day in Forks, I decided to walk around the main streets and see what kind of merchandise and memorabilia was
for sale. To put it lightly, there was no shortage of Twilight souvenirs.
Many storefronts were decorated with intricate displays and boasted
sales on Twilight paraphernalia. One of the main stores, “Dazzled By Twilight”
is also run by the tour company. The couple that run the store and the
tours had moved from Las Vegas to Forks and were embracing the
Twilight lifestyle wholeheartedly. Their store was pretty big, full of
everything from printed tees, hoodies, baseball jerseys and caps, to
Twilight coffee mugs, shot glasses, jewelry boxes and replica jewelry.
It was all a bit baffling to see so much Twilight in one store.
Across the street was “Jerry’s Lock and Key” which seemed to be a little tech shop but had hand-written signs in the window
advertising great Twilight souvenirs. Twilight dream catchers, mouse
pads, light switch frames, and printed photos were set up at the front
of the store. I bought one of the hand-made key chains that featured
pictures of various Twilight characters. The most interesting (and
funny) souvenirs they had for sale were Twilight student i.d. cards for
Forks High School and hospital i.d tags. I was a bit bemused by these
items. I’m a Twilight nerd as much as the next person, but what actual
use does one have for a Bella Swan i.d. card or a Carlisle Cullen
hospital name tag? This may be taking Twilight fandom a bit far in my
opinion, but then again, I traveled all the way to a logging town to see
locations from a fictional story, so who am I to judge.
I visited some other neat shops that were less about the mainstream commercial products, and more about small trinkets or individually
manufactured apparel. “The Chinook Pharmacy,” which claims to be “Bella’s Official First-Aid Station,”
had lots of small souvenirs including pendants and sparkly t-shirts. I
got a few postcards there as well as a replica of Bella’s charm
bracelet given to her by best friend Jacob Black. The bracelet had the
little wolf charm that Jacob carves for her, the diamond-like heart
gemstone from Edward, as well as charms from the novel covers: the
apple for Twilight, the feather for New Moon, and the chess piece for
“Leppell’s Flower’s and Gifts” was a florist shop located near the high school which has become a small Twilight haven.
The front windows were full of decorations as well as the owner’s own
cat that was preening next to a sign that read “I Was Bitten in Forks, Washington.” This
shop had everything from Team Edward and Jacob toques to baby clothes.
I was told the owner also manufactured some of her own t-shirts that
are sold in the store. As long as any official trademarked images used
are altered by 10%, they can be incorporated into individual Twilight
designs. I decided on a red t-shirt with a crystal ball on the front
with the words “Wanna Bet?” printed underneath. This is a joke about
Edward’s sister, Alice Cullen, who can foresee the future and often
uses this to her advantage with comic effect in Meyer’s novels.
My final shopping stop was also an additional tour location – “Forks Outfitters” located near the end of town by the Thriftway. This is the Twilight
location where Bella works for the Newton’s outdoor apparel and
equipment shop. I stocked up on food in the Thriftway and made my one
guilty/embarrassing purchase of some Forks sweatpants with the “Spartans” team-name and logo embossed down the leg. These will most likely be reserved for at-home lounging, I just couldn’t resist.
Twilight In La Push:
My final destination for my Twilight trip was La Push, the reservation just outside of Forks where Bella’s best friend Jacob Black lives. La Push is located about a fifteen minute drive from Forks down
a tree-lined highway. As I made my way there, I was instantly reminded
of all the times Bella makes this exact drive to visit Jacob in New
Moon, and the times Edward often drove her to the treaty line in
Once in La Push, I walked down to First Beach where Bella goes with her high school friends and ends up hanging out with Jacob for the first time properly in Twilight. Jacob tells Bella about the
“cold ones” which is how she first learns about vampires in Forks.
First Beach was full of piles of driftwood, had numerous rocky
outcroppings with distant trees, and crashing waves rolled up onto the
sand. It was a beautiful sunny day, but cold and windy. I would
recommend dressing warmly if you decide to visit the La Push beaches.
My last La Push excursion was a hike to Third Beach through the forest. Third Beach is located off the highway closer to
the Forks border line. The hike took about forty minutes through wet
ferns, sky-high trees, and muddy footpaths, but it was very much worth
it. As the path sloped down towards the beach, sunlight flitted in
through the tree tops and a completely unoccupied expanse of sand,
driftwood, and ocean greeted me. It was like a scene straight out of New
Moon, where Bella often comes down to the beach at La Push in search
of solitude and a vast space to think. I cannot really describe the
atmosphere of being there at that moment in time, but I will say that it
truly brought Twilight to life.
I hope that this gave you a taste of Forks and La Push, and all-things Twilight that they have to offer. This small town only
had one main street but it was a hive of activity and full of friendly
and helpful people. The diner style restaurants and the local shops
were a welcome break from the crowded streets of busy Vancouver. It was
a great place to visit that definitely surprised me with its
small-town charm, friendly atmosphere, and the general embrace that the
people of Forks seem to have for this vampire franchise. Any Twilight
fan, especially of the books and story that Stephenie Meyer created,
would enjoy a trip to this town. It brought the stories to life for me
and made me want to go back to page one of Twilight and start all over
[story and photos belong to me - Twilight Connection]
via DiarioTwilight.com (En español)