I’m a huge fan of the Twilight movie and book franchise (no shame!) and have long dreamed of setting out on a Twilight trip to Forks, Washington, the small, rainy town where human Bella Swan meets her vampire love, Edward Cullen. Last week, my dream became reality when my co-worker Marianne and I made the journey first to Seattle, then on to Twilight towns Forks, La Push and Port Angeles.
This once-in-a-lifetime trip was quite involved and took a lot of planning – everything from ferry rides to rental cars to restaurant reservations had to be secured — but, now that we’re back, I can’t believe how far we travelled and how all my planning really made it easy to pull off. Thinking of making a Twilight trip of your own? Just follow my five-day itinerary…
‘Twilight’ in Seattle
Start your Twilight trip on a Monday in Seattle, an artsy city with laid-back residents and a gorgeous waterfront, that acts as the setting for a couple memorable scenes from the Twilight series. In The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, villain Victoria’s newborn vampire army assembles in Seattle before tracking Bella to Forks, where they had planned to kill her, and in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Bella drives from Forks to Seattle to meet with J. Jenks, a mysterious man who holds the key — and forged documents – for her family’s future.
Seattle is also the setting for Fifty Shades of Grey, the saucy S&M romance that originated online as Twilight fan fiction. Visit Pike Place Market (the bustling public market that Ana and and her friend Kate live near), Escala (the luxurious condo building the brooding Christian Grey calls home) and the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, where Ana and Christian escape for a night.
The centrally located Fairmont Olympic Hotel hosted us during the Seattle portion of our trip and was the perfect base for exploring the downtown core by foot. Attractions like the Seattle Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium and the world’s first Starbucks coffee shop are just blocks away. If the Seattle weather turns rainy, as it often does, simply borrow an umbrella from the concierge desk on your way out.
This historic 450-room hotel opened in 1924 on what was originally the campus of the University of Washington. Now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the landmark Fairmont Olympic is a classic example of Italian renaissance architecture and design. Walk through the soaring, opulently decorated lobby to the Georgian restaurant, where I enjoyed a savoury, mouthwatering frittata with heirloom tomatoes and avocado for breakfast, or head to the fabulous Shuckers restaurant, where I washed down fresh Puget Sound oysters with Washington white wine. Tuck yourself into a plush king-size bed in your well-appointed guest room at the end of the day.
Wave goodbye to Seattle on Wednesday from the deck of the ferry to Bainbridge Island, where McDreamy parked his trailer on Grey’s Anatomy.
It was drizzling lightly when we completed the 2.5 hour drive from Seattle to Port Angeles, much like the weather Bella experienced when she first arrived in Washington state from Phoenix. A lovely waterfront town located on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, just across from Victoria, B.C., which we would have been able to see if the day hadn’t been so foggy, Port Angeles is where Bella and her friends go to shop for prom dresses, watch movies at the Lincoln Theater and is where Edward and Bella have their first date.
Bella Italia is famous among “Twi-Hards” as the restaurant where Edward and Bella have their first date and he finally begins to open up to her about his secretive past. Bella orders the mushroom ravioli, made with Olympic forest mushrooms and creamy besciamella sauce. Once a seasonal dish, fans visiting Bella Italia requested the pasta so often that it is now a permanent menu feature. Order a Coca Cola to drink, Bella’s choice in the book!
It was another hour drive along a glacial lake down a winding, single-lane road from Port Angeles to Forks. The rain drops continued to fall and the clouds hung low in the sky, hiding the tops of the mountains across the lake. The trees were tall, incredibly green and covered in moss. We would see a deer along the side of this road when heading back to Seattle at the end of our trip. The closer we got to Forks, the deeper we travelled into the Olympic rainforest, the more I began to see before me what Bella had described seeing the book when her dad, Police Chief Swan, drove with her to Forks.
We passed the welcome to Forks sign on our way into town, identical to the sign in the movie and a prime spot to stop and take some photos before heading to the Pacific Inn Motel, a spotless little motel where the WiFi was free and the beds were soft. We had made it!
Spend Thursday morning in La Push, a Native reservation about 20 minutes from Forks. Bella drives her old Chevy truck down the dark, tree-lined La Push Road to spend afternoons with her werewolf friend, Jacob. You’ll pass the clearly marked treaty line at Three Rivers Resort between vampire territory in Forks and werewolf territory in La Push. Stop and take a photo or duck inside the Three Rivers restaurant for a werewolf burger and vampire shake.
Just follow the road right to First Beach at La Push, where Jacob tells Bella about the Quileute tribe’s “cold ones” vampire legends for the first time and where Bella goes cliff diving in The Twilight Saga: New Moon with dangerous consequences. The view of the Pacific Ocean is stunning from First Beach, as are the rocks, covered in trees and greenery, jutting out of the water. Waves crash against the shore, attracting surfers to this destination.
Head back to Forks to see the various Twilight points of interest around town. Forks is small, very walkable and the Chamber of Commerce provides a walking map on their website. Visitors can also opt to join the Team Forks Twilight bus tour, the top ranked Forks attraction on TripAdvisor, though it is a little pricey at $30 per person.
Snap a photo of yourself infront of the Cullen or Swan houses — they look nothing like the houses do in the movies, but were the inspiration for Stephenie Meyer when writing the Twilight books — stop by Forks High School, home of the Spartans and where Bella attended classes with Edward after moving from Phoenix and see the places where Bella’s dad, Charlie, worked at the police station and where Edward’s dad, Carlisle, worked at the hospital.
My favourite stop was the Forks Chamber of Commerce, where guests can pose with Bella’s Chevy truck — both the 1953 version from the books and the 1963 version from the movies are on display — and duck inside the building to pin a needle representing their hometown on a map. It was hard to find an island or country without a pin on the map, proving the reach the vampire love franchise has had in attracting people to Forks, the former logging capital of the world.
Make the Native to Twilight store your last stop to pick up some Twilight souvenirs before make the 3.5 hour drive back to Seattle to catch your flight home. Whether you’re in the market for magnets, Edward dolls, Twilight tote bags, copies of the books or postcards, this store is full of memorabillia and opportunities to pose with some cutouts of Edward, Bella and Jacob for photos.
I hope you find inspiration in my travels to set out on your own fandom tour, whether you want to see the Washington state locales in Twilight, the New Zealand countryside featured in Lord of the Rings or the New York of Sex and the City. On all your travels, may you, as Edward would say, be safe!