I didn’t realize it until a friend came up with the idea, but the desire to travel to places I read about in beloved books has long been on my mind.
As a lifelong fan of Anne Rice, one thing I can say is that her love for New Orleans comes through her work in spades. Entire paragraphs are dedicated to setting the scene of a location. With writing like that, it’s hard not to fall just as much in love with the locations as it is the story-line and characters. In fact, one could make a strong argument that in many books (and movies or TV series), the location can be, and often is, one of the main characters.
So, ever since I picked up my first Anne Rice novel in junior high, I’ve longed to visit the New Orleans described so beautifully and thoroughly in Rice’s work. But, it’s a hot place – a humid place – and proved harder than expected to find friends willing to travel there with me.
As a compromise, a friend suggested a Twilight-Twin Peaks road trip, as both were set in the Pacific Northwest. And hence, my first bookcation was born!
Road Trip Part I: Twilight
I liked the Twilight books! Sometimes the books (and fans of the books) get flak from critics, but I think we should not judge what people enjoy reading. I mean…they’re reading and that’s great! As someone who loves most things vampire-related (the most sophisticated of all fictional monsters, if you ask me), I found the books fun and inventive, and thought there were interesting characters and family dynamics.
For the Twilight portion of our road trip, we headed to:
On their own, La Push and Hoh are already famous tourist destinations simply for their stunning beauty. Post-Twilight, Forks has become somewhat of a tourist trap, which I like to hope has helped its economy, if nothing else. It was a charming town, full of a surprising number of boutique coffee places (thank goodness). I would definitely stay there again if visiting Olympic National Park in the future.
Here are a few of the locations which inspired quotes in the books…
“The mile-long crescent of First Beach was familiar to me. It was still breathtaking.
The water was dark gray, even in the sunlight, white-capped and heaving to the gray, rocky shore.
Islands rose out of the steel harbor waters with sheer cliff sides, reaching to uneven summits, and crowned with austere soaring firs…”
“The shoreline was strewn with huge driftwood trees, bleached bone white in the salt waves, some piled together against the edge of the forest fringe, some lying solitary, just out of reach of the waves.
Along its pebbled banks, shallow pools that never completely drained were teeming with life. The bouquets of brilliant anemones undulated ceaselessly in the invisible current, twisted shells scurried about the edges, obscuring the crabs within them, starfish stuck motionless to the rocks and each other, while one small black eel with white racing stripes woven through the bright green weeds, waiting for the sea to return.”
“It was beautiful, of course; I couldn’t deny that. Everything was green: the trees, their trunks covered with moss, their branches hanging with a canopy of it, the ground covered with ferns. Even the air filtered down greenly through the leaves. It was too green – an alien planet.”
“I realized I would miss this – the green, the timelessness, the mystery of the woods. All of it. The forest was full of life today, all the little creatures enjoying the momentary dryness. Somehow though, even with the birds chirping and cawing, the insects buzzing noisily around my head, and the occasional scurry of the field mice in the shrubs, the forest seemed creepier today.”
Road Trip Part II: Twin Peaks
I’ve also gotten flak for enjoying David Lynch’s Twin Peaks – though that flak was of a different kind, for the show being too weird, dark and sinister. Sure, Twin Peaks was weird, dark and sinister, but it was also creative, visually stunning, and really funny at times. I mean, the show doesn’t have an 8.8 out of 10 rating on IMDB for nothing!
Our first stop was the Kiana Lodge, home of the infamous log where they found Laura Palmer’s body. Additionally, the inside of Kiana Lodge served as the interior of the Great Northern Hotel, and happily, it still looks the same today. It’s truly a striking event space with picturesque water-front views. Next, we visited Snoqualmie Falls which can be seen in the opening credits of the show, and the Salish Lodge which served as the exterior of the Great Northern.
Then we moved onto the Reinig Bridge, known to fans as “Ronette’s bridge.” Our last stop was Twede’s Café, which served as the Double R Diner. There we joined several other tables full of Twin Peaks travelers who also were enjoying a “d*&% fine cup of coffee” (as expressed by Agent Dale Cooper) and a piece of its famous cherry pie.
Bookcations for Everyone:
One of the great things about books is they can transport a reader into completely different times, locations or even worlds which don’t exist outside of the story. It’s extra special when you can actually visit in person some of the locations of your favorite books!
Traveling somewhere inspired by or right out of the pages of a book, movie or TV show is a wonderful idea, and a great way to celebrate and honor your favorites. I highly recommend it and hope our trip inspired you to consider one of your own.