My Trip to the REAL Twin Peaks!


I had a wonderful experience just before my 27th birthday, in early December 1997: I went on a business trip to Seattle, and had enough time to find my way through the real Twin Peaks! It's amazing how close together most of the sites are, tucked away in the woods about 45 minutes from Seattle. If you enjoyed the show, and you ever have a chance to visit, I highly recommend it! I was particularly fortunate in that it didn't rain a drop the entire time I was in the Pacific Northwest, which is rare, particularly in the beginning of December. It was gloriously sunny and crisp for the entire visit. If Seattle were actually like that most of the time, I'd move there in a heartbeat. I have always been a Peaks Freak, although I haven't participated in the news group discussions. While in college, my entire dorm became devoted to the show, and we were bitterly disappointed when it was cancelled. I was able to relive those times and enjoy the incredible beauty of the area during my visit.

Most of Twin Peaks was filmed in the town of Aurora, Washington. The Double-R Diner is actually the Mar-T Café, and the exterior of the Great Northern Hotel is actually the Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls. I am told that the interior was filmed at a Lodge over on the other side of the Puget Sound from Seattle, but I didn't make it out that way. There were plenty of other sites in Aurora, however: The high school Laura went to, the Sheriff's Station which is actually the business office of the Mill, the railroad trestle Ronette wanders over, a great big log featured in the opening credits of the pilot, the train cars where Laura and Ronette were taken, and the stoplight used symbolically throughout the series. I'm told that Big Ed's Gas Farm can be seen in those parts too, but I didn't find it. And most of all, the Twin Peaks themselves, and the long view of them where the Twin Peaks welcome sign stood in the intro.

Below are some pictures from our trip. My mother had tagged along to do some sight-seeing in the area, and in fact I owe most of the trip to Twin Peaks to her, since her birthday present to me was footing the bill for the venture. To view the full size of the individual pictures, click on the thumbnail.


A few of these pictures were taken from inside the car, and aren't the greatest of quality. I missed a shot of the big log from the pilot intro, but right after that on the roadside are the train cars where Laura and Ronette were taken. This was the first sign that Twin Peaks country was straight ahead!

This is me out in front of the Mar-T Café. Apparently, one of the locals noticed me out there getting my picture taken, as will be seen below. (ooo-weee-ooo-ooooo!)

Soon after that, there was a turnoff up to the Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls There was a lovely overlook of the falls where I took a few good pictures (for a little disposable Kodak camera), a couple of which I hope to have blown up into poster-size prints eventually. This one got a bit too much sunlight.

This is me in a booth at the Double….er, Mar-T. I had a cup of joe and a slice of cherry pie (which I definitely did not need after that brunch, but I just couldn't resist!) The cherry pie was… well, not exactly heavenly, but gave me a thrill nonetheless

This one turned out well, it's my candidate for a poster.

I took a photo of the jukebox, because I guess it's the same one from the movie. The Mar-T is really a hole-in-the-wall, and it's much tinier than it appears on screen, but it sure does have atmosphere! I can imagine David Lynch stopping here, seeing the town, and getting all kinds of ideas from the place, and the inhabitants.

These falls are really surprisingly tall! There was all kinds of spray in the air from the churning water.

No Norma or Shelly behind the counter, but otherwise it's nearly identical! The waitress talked to us for a while when I ordered the cherry pie, and figured I was a Peaks Freak.

Next we went up to the Salish Lodge itself, and had a delightful brunch overlooking the falls. I definitely recommend getting brunch there if you pass through. Damn good coffee.

And here was the freakiest part of our whole day. This old guy, whose name I have forgotten, was a member of the Chamber of Commerce for Aurora. When he saw us out in front of the diner taking pictures, he figured we were Peakers, so he came over to the booth and made conversation. Then he told us to wait while he ran home and got me some free stuff - maps of the area showing all the Twin Peaks locations, and pamphlets on the area's sights and businesses. He was a very jovial, friendly old man! I secretly think he was hitting on my mother. I wonder if this guy was the inspiration for Pete Martell.

Me in front of the Salish Lodge, at long range.

Using the map he gave us, we made our way to the Mill. We caught several glimpses of it through the trees, but never found the right road to get down to it and the Sheriff's Station location.

Me in front of the Salish Lodge, close up. (My mother is taking these pictures. Not James Hurley.)

This trestle popped out of nowhere at us, it was quite eerie. It's right near the Mill.

On our way back from the delicious brunch, we were heading through town to find the Double-R Diner, when we happened to drive by a school which I recognized immediately as Laura's high school. I didn't get a very good shot of it, but it's the only high school in town, you can't miss it.

Next we headed down the road which the map said was where the Welcome to Twin Peaks sign was filmed. I made several attempts to get the exact same shot as in the series intro, but I don't think any of them were exactly the same. Still, they were all beautiful.

Next we came to the stoplight in town. There's only one. At the corner is the Mar-T Café, otherwise known as the Double-R Diner. At this intersection is also the best place for TP paraphernalia, like T-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, videos, you name it: the Hallmark.

I'll probably make a poster out of this one, too.

I just had to get a photo of the stoplight changing from green…

The Twin Peaks are really lovely, even without a snowy top.

… to red. With the Peaks right nearby.

After this, we headed out to do some sight-seeing mother wanted to do, none of which impressed me as much as our brief visit to the REAL Twin Peaks.


That's it for my trip! We had such fun!