Category Archives: Movie/TV Shooting Locations

Faith restored in Roslyn, Washington, united states of america

New Magic, Old Ghosts, Good Times

I’ve been to Roslyn, Washington, more times than I can count. I’ve loved the town ever since the first time I went there in search of Northern Exposure artifacts. It’s much more than just a pop-culture landmark. The town has a certain magic. I feel a downright mystical vibe in that place, if I’m being honest. History breathes there in every building stone and pavement pore.

I’d become acclimated to the usual energy of the place, so I was surprised to find myself having such a potent visit on my most recent, which occurred on July 17, 2021, in the smoking aftermath of 2020 and the glimmering rays fighting the growing dark of an uncertain future. Such is this strange new world we find ourselves, I suppose.

Coiled metal wire
The center of downtown Roslyn holds some old coal-mining artifacts. I thought this looked interested up close.

Out of the Puget Sound Basin and into America

Living in an urban part of the Puget Sound basin, I often forget that the whole world isn’t full of angry people snarling about world peace and spitting on each other in the name of brotherly love. There are still places in this state where people live with a general human comradery and friendliness, places where people shamelessly love this amazing nation we live in. I found them in Roslyn.

What I experienced there can’t really be explained by the events alone. Before the madness of 2020 upturned reality, the things I did in Roslyn would have been trivial.

Yes, I had a great meal at the Roslyn Cafe (great and unique ragù). I once again explored all the historical buildings. I visited, for the first time, the amazing historic cemeteries (if you think cemeteries can’t be great destinations than you haven’t seen these…or been to New Orleans). I also hiked the Carlson Creek Loop, which is technically in Teanaway a few miles east of Roslyn, but still the same basic area.

These are mostly things I’ve done before or are at least the types of things that I’ve done before. On this trip, however, they took on a special magic.

Roslyn Yard in Roslyn, Washington.
Outdoor eats, music, happy people in the Roslyn Yard.

The Human Circle

At the café there was no talk of politics. People flew American flags everywhere, and they did so shamelessly. The ’80s tunes on the café playlist were the same old hits I’ve been hearing since I was a kid, but they sounded life-affirming, this time, simple celebrations of this blessed gift of existence.

Part of this was, of course, the fact that we are coming out of the COVID lockdowns. It was good just to sit in sunshine and hear laughter, to share grins with strangers and banter with our most excellent server was more than that.

It was more than that, though. It was also stepping back into the warm sphere of shared humanity, one that gets filtered out completely by corporate and social media. Spend too much time on the screen and you start to believe that the whole world is full of doom, gloom, and hatred.

Certain places to indeed reflect that darkness, as well. I know this, personally, all too well, having experienced years of hatred spawned by political differences.

In Roslyn, Washington, however, people were just being people. There was a basic shared sense of humanity. A lot of people had come in to visit, and my guess is that the ideological mix was about representative of the nation as a whole. In that place, though, on that day, none of the differences mattered–just people being people, digging life.

It was the first time in a long time that I felt like I wasn’t a lonely ancient relic for loving the nation that I live in, for loving its people and its land, its bones and its spirit.

Clock above door to historic Roslyn building.
I love this old clock and doorway in an old brick building in Roslyn, Washington.

Simple Things Made Profound by Modernity

Kids laughed. People toasted beers. Servers smiled and cracked jokes. It felt like a Steinbeck novel made real. No, wait, more fittingly–it felt like a Northern Exposure episode made real.

I sincerely thank that little town for being what it is and reminding me that America isn’t dead. There are still good people in the world that just want to enjoy life with other good people, politics be damned (seriously, politics be DAMNED).

You want it? You can have it. It’s in a little town named Roslyn, Washington. United States of America, baby.

Happy nomadding, friends.

I’m going to close this out with Bobby McFerrin’s amazing “Common Threads.” Northern Exposures might remember which episode this was featured in. Drop it in the comments section and I’ll buy ya a drink of your choice. The song gives me goosebumps every single time.

Old Machinery in the Yard at Blue Heron French Cheese Company

Close-up image of rusted tractor-side reading "Built by Buffalo Company, Buffalo, NY."I love rust. I can’t really explain why; I just do. My appreciation for the aesthetics of metallic aging is particularly strong in regards to old machinery.

Something about the pattern and gradation of rust on tractors, cars, and trains is beautiful and fascinating to me.

So, whenever I visit the Blue Heron French Cheese Company in Tillamook, Oregon, my interest in the aesthetics of rust is what drives me to leave behind the delicious wine and cheese and spend most my time photographing the old machinery that fills the grounds like art installatnions in a sculpture garden.

Old Machinery in the Yard

It’s kind of a no-brainer that the Blue Heron has great cheese and wine. What you may hear less about is the old machinery in the yard (there are animals to pet, too).

For the aesthetically minded person, though, those rusted relics are captivating and fascinating. Well, they are for me, anyway. Maybe it takes a weird sort of mind to find so much intrigue in such a thing; if so, then be it—this is a post for the select group of weirdos that enjoys rusted and old machinery.

Vehicular Dinosaurs

The Blue Heron sits on a large piece of land with ample room to fit all kinds of decorative oddities, including the old tractors and buses I’ve alluded to.

If you’re the weird sort of person who also enjoys this kind of thing, then I highly recommend that you visit. Here are some pictures from my latest excursion:

Honestly, I’m not entirely happy with the quality of the shots I got, but that’s okay because it’ll just give me another excuse to go back and get more!



Tour of Washington State Movie and TV Locations Part 3–Twin Peaks at North Bend

Twin Peaks at North Bend: Go for the Novelty, Stay for the Si

North Bend and Twin Peaks will forever be entwined with each other, but even if there’d never been Twin Peaks at North Bend, the town (which is home to Mount Si) would be a fantastic destination.

Si is possibly the most popular mountain hike 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 walk 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, just 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 North Bend is just the dollop of ice cream atop the cherry pie (see what I did there?).

North Bend and Twin Peaks:

Twede’s Cafe is the Double R from the television show…you know, the one with damn good coffee. 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.

Tour of Washington State Movie and TV Locations Part 2–Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight at Forks and La Push

Twilight at Forks and La Push, Washington

One of the funniest bumper stickers I’ve ever seen read, “Vampires SUCK…at Forks, Washington.”

The sticker, of course, references Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series.

Like Northern Exposure‘s Roslyn, this is an area that I’m familiar with because I love the area itself. And yes, that is partially 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).

While I’m not a big Twilight-head, personally, it’s been fun watching Myers’ vampire-and-werewolf love stories transform 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 attractions is that none of the films was actually filmed in either of those places, far as I know. That’s not what their 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.

Save on your hotel -

Beautiful Scenery and Rugged, Fun Hiking

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.

La Push has some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll find in the state of Washington. The place is rugged and wild and sparks with elemental energy. View or rocks in the ocean as seen from La Push beach.Forks, too, is an underrated location.

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 fabulously terrible Mount Storm King) destinations.

All of those things make Forks a terrific yet relatively little-known base camp for exploring the northwestern corner of this amazing state. It also tends to be affordable for those on budget trips.

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, if you’re willing to throw down the quid. 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.

Tour of Washington State Movie and TV Shooting Locations Part 1–Northern Exposure in Roslyn

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 (check out Moose Chick’s excellent fan site here).

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.

Roslyn was also shown in the 1977 film Joyride and the 2014 film Man in the High Castle.