What's the first thing that pops into your mind when thinking about the Pacific Northwest? Perhaps it's expansive valleys, majestic mountain ranges, and the pacific coast, but for many longtime fans like myself it's Stephanie Meyers' Twilight Saga. That's right - vampires and werewolves. Last summer I had the incredible blessing of an unplanned vacation day, so I spontaneously hopped into a Prius and drove from Ocean Shores, WA to Forks, WA. I mean, when in Rome am I right?
Upon entering Forks, population 3,783, I had no idea how to immerse myself in the full Twilight experience; however, right as I crossed the city line I spotted a familiar red truck belonging to non-other than Bella Swan off of the highway, so I decided that it would be a good place to start. The parking lot I ended up in was actually the Forks Washington Chamber of Commerce, and it was here that I first discovered how engulfed this town had become in the Twilight culture. Inside there were cardboard cutouts of the characters, posters, books, postcards, and plenty of other Twilight-themed trinkets. Practically everywhere I looked I was staring into the face of Edward Cullen or Jacob Black. After chatting for a few minutes with some of the locals I was hooked up with a Twilight tour map and set off on my official Twilight journey.
The first stop on the map was Bella Swan's house, or at least the house that inspired it, so that's where I started. From there I went to Forks High School, the police station/courthouse, the Cullen house, and even Carlisle's "parking spot" at the hospital. All in all, the tour wasn't the most exciting thing ever considering the town is so small that it took me less than fifteen minutes to complete, but it was really thrilling to personally visit all of the places that sparked such a widespread and successful book series. However, that wasn't the end of the tour since there were still a few places for me to visit outside of Forks' city limits. La Push beach, the Quileute territory where Bella and her friends like to surf, is approximately a fifteen minute drive from Forks, so as I headed that way I found the last few Twilight landmarks from the tour including the Treaty Line and Jacob Black's house, which I later found out can be rented out as a vacation home. I have to say that Jacob's house was the coolest part of the entire tour since his house looked almost exactly like the one in the movie - his infamous motorcycle was even parked in the frontyard.
In order to visit La Push beach I first had to purchase a day park pass from the reservation information center (which not many people are aware they have to do), but the $10 was totally worth the view. It was a slight hike down massive piles of driftwood to get onto the sand from the parking lot, but again - it was totally worth it. The sand was white and soft, there were beautiful rocks and driftwood sparsely scattered about, the water looked a refreshing deep blue, and because I was feeling adventurous I even climbed up onto the driftwood pile and was rewarded with the best view of James Island. I was even lucky enough to witness some surfers and kite flyers.
After all of the adventuring I had built up a werewolf-sized appetite, so I began looking for the best place around to grab some food. I'd heard that River's Edge Restaurant was the best place around to get a decent meal with a view of the beach, but the reviews on Yelp didn't seem promising so I sacrificed the view to find somewhere with better food/service. As I was driving back towards Forks I stopped to take a picture with the Treaty Line sign, and ended up finding a restaurant right there called Three Rivers Resort (yes, it was also a small hotel). Although it didn't look like much from the outside I definitely made the right decision in sacrificing views for the perfect bite (sorry not sorry for the pun).
After walking past a high-threat vampire sign on the door I entered into a warmly lit, cabin-like room that had been divided into two areas - the vampire side and the werewolf side. Of course after crossing the treaty line onto Quileute territory I opted to sit with the dogs. The menu was endless, so I eventually ordered a fish sandwich with a side of fries and raspberry iced tea. Whether it was my famished body, low expectations, or actually decent food I may never know, but at the time it was the best meal I could've possibly consumed. What made it even better was the special Twilight-themed menu that featured items such as the Werewolf Burger, Swan Sandwich, and Edward Sundae. I eventually settled on the Jacob Black Shake (blackberry ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles) served in a styrofoam cup for dessert. After consuming my several thousands of calories worth of food I ordered a small coconut vanilla latté, yes they had great coffee too, and hit the road again in the Prius to go home and re-watch Twilight for the hundredth time.
I never planned my visit to Forks, WA but I think that may have been what made it even that much more special. As a longtime fan of Stephanie Meyers' Twilight Saga I truly was in Twilight heaven while exploring Forks; however, it wasn't the countless werewolf/vampire innuendos everywhere that made it such an incredible day, rather it was the spontaneous sense of adventure that led me to the stunning views of La Push beach that made the drive worth it. So if you're ever in the area, or are simply in the mood for an adventure then be sure to stop by the Forks Washington Chamber of Commerce to get hooked up with all of the best places to visit - I promise you won't be disappointed with all of the amazing things that the small city of Forks has to offer.