Our Twin Peaks Tour of Poulsbo and Snoqualmie, Washington

In November 1993 my family and I were in Washington State. Finding ourselves with a free day (and armed in advance with extensive tour guidance from the net) we decided to take a look around at the sites near Seattle where Twin Peaks was filmed. Here's what we saw.

Harry, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it, don't wait for it, just... let it happen. Could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot, black coffee. - Agent Cooper
There are two main towns of interest to TP-trackers: Poulsbo and Snoqualmie. Poulsbo is on the Kitsap peninsula, across the Sound from Seattle. It's a pretty town right on the water, and there's a US Navy base with a submarine museum there that should be pretty interesting when it's finished. Unfortunately, it wasn't even close to finished when we visited. Anyway, Poulsbo is home to the Kiana Lodge, a conference center that looks like this:

If it doesn't look familiar, that's because it was only used for interior shots of the Great Northern Hotel. The day we arrived, it was closed, as it's only used for conferences and such. We pulled in the driveway, and since it was pouring rain, we sat in the car for a minute or two. The owner happened to be leaving just then, and he came over to the car where we talked for a few minutes. At first he was a little brusque, pretty much telling us to get moving. Then we told him we were visiting because of TP, and he opened right up. He would have let us look inside, but he was leaving, so he told us to wander around the grounds if we liked. Looking through the windows, you could see some of the distinctive interiors of the Great Northern, with their warm wood glow. Unfortunately not many photos taken through the windows turned out, but here's a shot of the fireplace that ought to look familiar:

Man! Smell those trees. Smell those Douglas firs. - Agent Cooper

The Lodge is right on the water, and on the beach in front of the Lodge is Laura's Log, the big log next to which Pete found the dead Laura, "wrapped in plastic." I was surprised at how this spot, more than any other we visited, brought back the feeling of the show to me. Here's my wife Linda standing in front of the Log, right where scenes from the first episode were filmed:

Most of the other exterior shots were filmed in and around Snoqualmie, which is on the mainland east of Seattle, up in the Cascades. The quickest route between the two towns is over the ferry from Bainbridge Island right into downtown Seattle, then east on I-90 to Snoqualmie. Lynch and company must have spent a lot of time on that ferry. The first TP location in Snoqualmie we saw was the famous Snoqualmie Falls, with a higher drop than Niagara, and quite a bit more subtlety:

Look! Ducks! On a lake! Ahhh. - Agent Cooper
There's a generator station at the top of the falls that really mars the overall effect, carefully not shown in the opening credits for the show:

Next to the falls at the top is the Salish Lodge, used for exterior shots of the Great Northern Hotel. It's a gorgeous place with a pretty pricey menu:

Twenty-four hour room service must be one of the premier achievements of modern civilization. - Agent Cooper
Our next stop was the Colonial Inn, used for exterior shots of the Roadhouse. This is what it looks like from the street:

Apparently, for the show, it was always filmed from another side. :-) Anyway, some of the other sights outside Snoqualmie proper are: the trestle bridge that Ronette Pulaski stumbles across:

We're not at all sure that this is the right bridge; there are two or three similar trestle bridges in the area and I seem to recall it as a train bridge; anyway, this is the one that seemed most likely to us at the time. Note the clearcut portions of the mountain in the background, a common sight in the area.

Sheriff, it's Pete Martell up at the mill. Um, I'm gonna transfer it to the phone on the table by the red chair, the red chair against the wall. The little table, with the lamp on it - the lamp that we moved from the corner? The BLACK phone, not the brown phone. - Lucy

Next we visited the Weyerhauser sawmill that was the setting for the Martell Mill and the Sheriff's office:

This is the office of the mill, facing the sawmill itself. You can see just inside the doorway Lucy's window and office. I felt a little self-conscious stopping for pictures in the parking lot of this busily functioning office until I saw the person who had pulled in ahead of me setting up a video camera and getting ready to take extended footage.

Wanna know why I'm whittling?
OK, I'll bite. Why are you whittling?
Because that's what you do in a town where a yellow light still means slow down, not speed up.
Finally we went into Snoqualmie proper. The main TP-sight in town is the Double R Diner, which is in reality the Mar-T Cafe:

This must be where pies go when they die. - Agent Cooper
As you can see, the Cafe looks like nothing special from the street. My wife went in to get a cup of coffee and a piece of cherry pie while I tried to explain to the kids why she would want to do such a thing. That day, there were two women behind the counter (!). She asked for a cup of coffee to go, and then almost offhand, asked whether they had any cherry pie. The waitress broke into a big smile and said, "of course we do, dear." Later as we were leaving we noticed the sign over the door:

Note however that the pacific northwest obsession with espresso rates at least as much sign space as does the Cafe's nod to TP.

(Note: after all this time, my illusions have been shattered. In 1999 I was informed that the Mar-T is now called Twede's, and is in fact in the town of North Bend, not Snoqualmie! To all who got lost because of this mistake ... sorry.)

DAMN good coffee, and HOT! - Agent Cooper
As we left town, the kids were asleep in the back and the sun was setting over Seattle, casting a warm glow on the mountain snows. We had had a nice time - we enjoyed the strange feeling you got by standing in the spot where familiar scenes had been filmed, and we got a kick out of seeing how camera angles and minor modifications had turned everyday spots in these towns into mysterious, atmospheric settings.

If you're interested in your own tour of TP sites in Washington state, check out the file tp_snoqualmie. This file was compiled and made available by Steve Cole (steve@sep.Stanford.EDU) and provided a good travel guide for our explorations.

Judge Sternwood:
So, Agent Cooper, how are you finding our little corner of the world?
It's heaven, sir.
Judge S.:
Well, this week heaven includes arson, multiple homicide, and an attempt on the life of a Federal agent.
Heaven is a large and interesting place, sir!

Mark Crovella / / March 1994