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Just over a week ago, Nikki and I had the privilege of FINALLY making it to Mecca: We went to Forks Washington for the 10th Anniversary celebration of Twilight’s publication during Forever Twilight in Forks!
We stayed just one night in Forks, capped off our trip with a few nights in Seattle and spent the others in another section of the peninsula, driving back and forth to Forks a few times. Basically what I’m saying is, we saw a LOT of the peninsula.
I’ve heard about this place for years, and I’ve BEEN to Seattle before, but I really didn’t understand it until I was there. I knew it rained a lot, there were mountains and ocean and big trees, but that was the extent of my knowledge:
So in TN Travels fashion, here are 10 things you need to know about the Olympic Peninsula, now that I’m an expert and have visited one time.
One day I went on a run and ended up on the beach looking across the Puget sound. It was hard to walk on the rocks as they were slippery and there was seaweed everywhere and a large tree had drifted onto shore So I climbed on it and took a few pictures- which barely begin to capture the beauty I experienced:
Then I began to cry.
I can remember one other time crying over nature (I’m looking at you Tortola, British Virgin Islands) and it was unexpected and soul cleansing!
For being a place RIGHT on the water you’d think fresh delicious seafood would be plentiful. But it was not where we dined. We had few meals to write home about. One of the great things about Nikki and my friendship is that we agree on most things food-wise. I can’t remember the last time we dined without sharing (multiple) plates. And we’ve yet to meet a cheese plate that can’t be devoured in one sitting. You might want to call Nikki and I food snobs, but really we are two girls who live in major cities and are used to GREAT food at any price point, cooked how we want it when we want it. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? Okay maybe we’re foodies, but we don’t need food to be expensive, it just needs to be GOOD. Tip for the Peninsula since it seems like you’d probably like that from someone who visited once: USE the fish you catch! And a little bit of green has never hurt anyone! (Iceburg lettuce doesn’t count!)
We read about Granny’s Cafe and passed it a few times before finally stopping in (I had to pee). It looks like your old nan’s dining room. It’s a roadside diner and motel EXCEPT that’s just a facade. Inside Angela (yep, first name basis) cooks up awesome fresh meals. We shared (obvi) the homemade chick-pea burger and a salad! Plus they have the best area-rated soft serve ice cream. AND they raise their own goats and hens!
No really. Why didn’t anyone tell us it could take up to 3 hours to board a ferry to get back to Seattle? You think when we asked “Tell us how to use the ferry, we heard it’s beautiful!” that would have come up….. Nope. We drove an extra 50+ miles and got to Seattle sooner than if we had taken the beautiful route.
Forks is amazing, but Forks isn’t the quaint little forest town you are imagining. We were told on multiple occasions not to get our hopes up. They WEREN’T up, but we were still somehow surprised. Yes, Bella’s truck is there (the movie version AND the book version). Yes, you can see homes that somewhat resemble the homes described in the books. But mostly Forks is a small rural town that depends on tourists to buy cheesy Twilight souvenirs and hopes they come back year after year.
We heard the beaches on the reservation were gorgeous. We drove onto the freeway leading through ‘the res’ and saw “The Treaty Line” (a big cheesy sign that said NO ENTRY FOR VAMPIRES or something equally as horrible) We were going too fast for Nikki to get pictures of Jacob Black’s house (an IDENTICAL match!) and passed the parking lots for Third Beach and Second Beach (but seeing NO beaches in sight… the woods are thick!) And then we rounded a bend and DAMN we wish we had a camera recording. First Beach came into view and we lost our minds. It was so gorgeous! We did what any normal Twilight fan would do: Broke out our last can of Sofia’s champagne and shared it with 2 straws. And ate Red Twizzlers while quoting lines from the movie! Pictures do not do this place justice! We went back to get our Jacob Black picture, of course.
We saw so much of it yet most of it was from a car. There are lavender fields in Sequim (apparently there’s an awesome festival in July!), we passed at least 3-4 vineyards on our travels and I couldn’t stop saying incoherent things as we drove through Lake Crescent (“OMG Look. Beautiful. Water! Tree! Lake!) Port Angeles wasn’t the quaint village of our dreams, either, but it is right on the water and has it’s own charm. We would love to go back and experience life outside of Forks (and a car).
We had a most un-Forks like weekend. During Stephenie Meyer’s book signing, it must have been 90 degrees. People got sun-burned waiting in line. I held back on so many “Vampries would be sparkling today” jokes that day. If it had rained, I can imagine it would be quite… wet/damp/miserable. It’s not like there are rain shelters. People waiting for 6 hours in line to meet Stephenie would have been SOAKED!
Let’s face it- not every day is sun and warmth and visits to gorgeous beaches. The majority of the time it’s rainy and dreary and the peninsula is like a beach town you might vacation to once a year. Living there day after day might be tough if you’re used to certain advantages (like tacos at 1 am and not having to drive an hour to find a Walmart- no Targets to be found!)
It’s dark (when it’s not unusually hot and sunny). The woods are thick. People live a quiet life and could leave you be. For fun, Rosalie, Esme and Alice could hit Blakeslee’s, the bar in Forks, which hosts a Male revue night bringing in strippers from Seattle (THIS IS A REAL THING THAT HAPPENED AND WE GOT THERE TOO LATE TO SEE ANYTHING GOOD)
Bella approved #forevertwilightinforks #egbtt A photo posted by That’s Normal (@thats_normal) on
It’s amazing to think Stephenie Meyer just opened a map (I like to imagine she was twirling a globe) and found a dark cold place to set the story that change her (and my #EGBTT) life.
Imagine any small town near you- I’m imagining a little town down the street from where I grew up- in the middle of nowhere being completely changed because an author sets her best-selling, once-in-a-lifetime story there. I overheard someone in the Welcome Center say that in the hay day 100,000 -150,000 people would visit Forks annually. From ALL over the world. There is nothing there guys! There is no reason to visit. You would maybe stop in town for gas and a water on your way to La Push if it were not for Twilight. These days they are averaging 30-40,000 visitors per year. That town has an industry because the Cullen’s decided to move there.
We loved our time on the Peninsula, cheesy twilight stuff and all. We hope to make it back some day- maybe bring a bunch of you along with us. Who is with us!?
A photo posted by That’s Normal (@thats_normal) on
Have you been to Forks or the Peninsula? Share your experiences in the comments!
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