Happy one year anniversary of Twin Peaks returning to TV!
I guess it’s appropriate—but also completely coincidental—that last week Alex and I rented a car in Seattle, hopped on I-90 east toward Snoqualmie, and went on a day-long expedition to visit a bunch of Twin Peaks filming locations. (Alex had been in town for a work conference; I was just along for the ride.)
I took an abundance of pictures on my phone, so figured I’d put them here and try to match them up with stills from the show, because that’s what normal people do, right? As a side note: the original series takes place in February-March, so everything’s all barren trees and snowy mountains and trench coats…in contrast, we visited on one of the most beautiful days of the year: super blue skies, 75 degree weather, and abundant sunshine. So here for your viewing pleasure is David Lynch’s dark/moody Twin Peaks compared with our bright/sunny Twin Peaks.
First up was the welcome sign (or at least, the site of it—apparently there was a sign, but it got stolen 😢). This view actually faces away from the town, so you’d actually be driving into the mountains if you kept going.
Right down the road was Ronette’s bridge (the railroad tracks were added by Lynch & Co.). This bridge goes right over the Snoqualmie River and is a surprisingly beautiful place to take a walk, if you’re not Ronette Pulaski.
Another short distance away was the Sheriff’s Department building. In real life it’s a rally racing school called DirtFish. Ran into several other Peakies here (it was pretty easy to tell who was there for racing and who wasn’t).
We also went inside!
They must get this a lot, but the staff was totally cool with us taking photos. I know nothing about rally racing, but there was some pretty neat gear—and old cars—inside the building. Someone also decided to cater to the Twin Peaks crowd by parking this decorated Ford Bronco outside:
It’s weird how your mind fills in the landscape around all these fictional places. Case in point: for some reason I always imagined the Packard Sawmill at the edge of a forest bordering some water, when in real life it’s right down the street from the rally racing school parking lot, in the middle of a big field. Its real name is the Weyerhaeuser Mill, and it’s been out of service for 15 years:
By far the most touristy spot (for reasons other than Twin Peaks) was Snoqualmie Falls. It was a pretty impressive sight, but I don’t think I fully appreciated it at the time because I was very concerned with finding a bathroom (#girlproblems). The falls are featured in the opening credits of the show and any time you see an exterior shot of the Great Northern Hotel, which is actually Salish Lodge and Spa:
The interior of the Great Northern wasn’t shot at Salish Lodge though; you have to go across the bay (sound?) to Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo to see all the painted wood walls and giant fireplaces. Sadly we didn’t make it to Kiana Lodge but I really want to go there someday and dance in Ben Horne’s office.
After the falls we made a quick stop at the Roadhouse, located just north in the town of Fall City:
Then we looped back down to go to Twede’s (a.k.a. the Double R Diner) for lunch, obvi:
My favorite part of lunch was watching a group of people who were clearly fans of the show try to contain their excitement as they walked into the diner, because I’d done the exact same thing. It’s so hard not to squee when you feel like you’re stepping into the Double R!
The place definitely caters to Peakies (I feel like an unassuming patron would be confused at why half of the signs inside advertise a diner of a different name). But that aside, it’s just your average small-town diner playing country music from the radio. We were there at 12:30pm and I’m pretty sure the number of employees outnumbered the patrons.
For the record, I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, lemonade, and a slice of cherry pie. Alex ordered a BLT and coffee. I messed up the pie order by getting whipped cream, so it wasn’t very photo-worthy. We’ll just have to go again someday….
I tried to find a scene that takes place at the same table we sat at (the center booth on the left side), but most important conversations seem to take place closer to the back of the diner. Here’s one though!, featuring everyone’s favorite giggling waitress.
Last on our itinerary was the infamous Palmer house. Although all of the above filming locations are within a few minutes from each other, the house is about an hour north, in Everett. That gave us plenty of time to listen to the Twin Peaks soundtrack, which I would highly recommend if you take a similar journey. It sets the mood perfectly, and gets you nice and psyched up for the moment you drive up to this place:
We parked across the street and were surprised to see that the front door was wide open. I’d read that the current owner of the house (who also made a pretty important cameo in the show *SPOILERS*) sometimes lets fans come inside, so after much debate, we finally decided we would peek in and see if anyone was home. Turns out the owner was home, but it was her daughter who came to the door, and told us her mom was on the phone and “it wasn’t really a good time.” She was super apologetic and nice, and told us we were welcome to take pictures outside. That was already way more than I was expecting, so we took our photos and went on our way.
From there we drove back to our Seattle Airbnb (which happened to be a haunted saloon and former brothel; a story for another post, maybe) and celebrated our successful day with fine craft beer from Fremont Brewing, an excellent dinner at Damn the Weather, and a few rounds of the Great Seattle Wheel at dusk. Now that I’m thinking back on it, it was a pretty perfect day, Diane.
In short, I’d highly recommend this excursion to anyone who’s a fan of the show. I wasn’t really expecting anything more than a fun photo op, but as it turns out, Dale Cooper’s fascination with this little corner of the Pacific Northwest was totally warranted. I had just as much fun exploring downtown Snoqualmie and all of its history as I did crossing off the pre-determined destinations on our map, which I’ll also include here for anyone interested (and for future reference, since I 100% expect to go back one day): Twin Peaks Filming Locations Map
To me, the world of Twin Peaks is about 90% of what makes the show so special. In the first two seasons, whenever the characters got unbearable or the story took a turn for the worse (I’m looking at you, Annie Blackburn), I could still revel in the magic of that little town in all its mysterious, scenic glory. And in Season 3, even though much of the action took place in other locations, every return to Twin Peaks felt oddly and wonderfully familiar.
I’ll leave you with this fan-made video of Dale Cooper’s first appearance in the show, intercut with some of Twin Peaks’ most iconic settings. A+ editing, one big thumbs up: