Roslyn, Washington, aka Cicely, Alaska: Home of Northern Exposure
We’re starting with Roslyn, Washington, for two reasons.
First, it’s the town where Northern Exposure — my favorite television series ever — was filmed.
Second, it’s a chill little mountain town smack dab in the middle of the Snoqualmie Pass, which is one of the prettiest drives in the state of Washington. In my opinion, only the White Pass drive can compete with it.
The town shown in Northern Exposure as Cicely, Alaska, is actually Roslyn, Washington. The town hasn’t changed much at all, which is good for visiting because you can see every show-related site in just a couple hours.
It’s been about two months since I was there (August 2017), but as of that time, Dr. Fleishman’s name was still stenciled on the window of his “office,” and a sign still identified Chris in the Morning’s K-BEAR radio room.
The Brick is actually called the Brick, and would be a great bar/restaurant even if it wasn’t associated with the show. The place, built of brick and wood with an enormous bar and full-sized spittoon, is enormous inside and feels like something from the Old West. The whole town feels that way, really. The people of Roslyn are almost universally friendly and easy to talk to, and I’ve had a great experience every time I’ve visited there.
The famous camel mural on the side of Roslyn’s Cafe is also still present. The iconic image in the show was called “Roslyn’s Cafe” because the real cafe was named for the town: ROSLYN (singular) Cafe. Show producers had to cover up for the fact that the town’s name wasn’t actually Cicely, so they added the apostrophe to turn the “Rosyln” into “Rosyln’s.”
Roslyn is a relaxed, quirky town with more than its share of quirky characters…not too unlike our beloved fantasy town of Cicely, Alaska.
You can hit Roslyn and North Bend (discussed below) on the same day without any rush. They are less than an hour of gorgeous driving from each other.
Twilight, Forks, and La Push, Washington
One of the funniest bumper stickers I’ve ever seen reads, “Vampires SUCK…at Forks, Washington.”
The sticker, of course, reference Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight series.
Like Roslyn, this is an area that I’m very familiar with because I love this part of the state. Yes, that is my way of saying, I’m not really a Twilight fan, though I did watch the first movie and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.
It’s been fun watching how Myers’ vampire-and-werewolf love stories transformed the formerly sleepy, way-off-the-beaten-track and not-passionately-sought-out destination of Forks, Washington, into a treasured haven for females of all ages.
The thing that’s sort of odd about Forks and La Push as movie-shooting attractions is that very little of the films was actually filmed in either of those places. That’s not what the town’s claim to fame is.
Rather, the attraction is that the Twilight series was set in a fictional version of Forks, and various Jacob-oriented scenes took place at La Push.
The fact that the area isn’t really featured much in the movies stopped the area from becoming a major attraction for Twilight fans. It also hasn’t stopped the people of these towns from catering to those visitors.
The Pacific Inn Motel, for instance, has special Twilight-themed rooms.
Like most of the other locations I’ll be featuring in this series, Forks and La Push made the list because they are great destinations on their own — even without the movie fanfare. So, when you visit them, you get two wins for the price of one.
The town itself is rather small with few attractions, but while you’re there, you’re within easy travel distance of rain forests, beaches, and Lake Crescent (with its fabulous, terrible Mount Storm King) destinations.
Forks is a terrific and relatively little-known base camp for exploring the northwestern corner of this amazing state. It also tends to be very affordable.
La Push accommodations are nice and host spectacular views, but in the peak season can get a bit pricey. Both places are well worth the cost, however. It really just boils down to what your budget is at the time you want to visit.
If you drive in to the area from the east, stop by Granny’s Cafe for some of the best food you’ll find on the 101 loop.
North Bend and Mount Si: Twin Peaks Country
Even if there had never been a Twin Peaks, North Bend and Mount Si would be fantastic destinations.
Si is one of the popular hikes in the state of Washington. It affords incredible views and has a well-maintained, easy-to-follow trail. Don’t let that fool you, though. The trail is pretty challenging physically, and I’ve seen a lot of people start it without understanding what they’re getting into.
By all means, do the Si hike before you die, but make sure you’re mentally prepared for it. Also, plan to hike early in the morning before the heat rises.
The fact that Twin Peaks was filmed in this town is just the dollop of ice cream atop the cherry pie (see what I did there?), but what a delicious dollop it is.
Twede’s Cafe is the Double R from the show. The interior is decorated exactly as it is in the series. The cafe also happens to have some of the best burgers I’ve ever had, and a wide variety of them at that.
Perhaps the weird energy of the show rubbed off on the area, too, because I’ve seen some odd things there, including a man carrying a full-sized tuba up to the top of Mount Si and playing it there.
As noted in the Roslyn entry, you can hit up North Bend and Roslyn in one day. They’re only an hour apart from each other, and doing them both makes for a fun little road trip for television and entertainment buffs.