February 15th was our wedding anniversary. Three years. Go us!
We eloped to Barbados!
We hadn’t gotten to really celebrate an anniversary due to various things. So my husband decided that I should have a trip this year, and booked one to somewhere I’ve always longed to see…Twin Peaks!
Welcome to Twin Peaks
Hardcore fans know that the show’s pilot was filmed in and around Snoqualmie and North Bend, Washington. Many of the most iconic images from the show were created right there in those two towns – and most of the landmarks are still there.
We stayed at The Salish Lodge & Spa – one of the world’s fifty best spas – which served as the inspiration for The Great Northern Hotel. In fact, the exterior shots of The Great Northern actually show the view of the Salish from the falls.
Recognize the Great Northern?
Snoqualmie Falls, as seen from the overlook.
Our room was absolutely amazing and perfect for what we had in mind: a nice, relaxing trip. We took great pains to make sure we weren’t overbooked with activities so that there was no pressure.
The hotel itself is beautiful inside and out. It even features a library for guest’s use with The Seattle Times, books, games, and fresh coffee/tea service every morning.
The fireplace in the library.
Books and games!
The view from our room.
Our room had a spectacular view of the falls. Standing on the balcony, that’s about all you could hear. But the room was completely soundproof with the balcony doors closed. It was so quiet and so dark without all the light pollution we’re both used to! The bed was a bit softer than we’d both have liked, but I think we both slept fairly well even so!
Gothin’ on the balcony outside our room.
The fireplace in our room.
A roaring fire!
Alex loves a warm wood fire. There’s nothing like the sound, the smell, and the feel really. We had one almost every night.
The jacuzzi tub. It was huge!
Another thing Alex loves – Jacuzzi tubs! He was super excited to find that this was an option at the Salish. Basically, we had everything we’d need to relax.
And the food! The Salish boasts two amazing restaurants: The Dining Room, which is a fine dining restaurant with a fantastic brunch menu; and The Attic, which is a bit more casual and boasts a wood fire oven. Both restaurants feature herbs grown on premises and honey from the hotel’s own hives.
As good as The Dining Room brunch was that first day, we quickly found that we preferred The Attic in terms of menu and atmosphere. It was a little more in line with the purpose of the trip – relaxing – and it was a lot of fun, too!
The Drink Menu from The Attic. I stuck with the house wines, but I couldn’t resist snapping a photo.
The dessert selection at The Attic. We tried everything except the creme brulee.
Cherry pie from The Attic.
Salish is a spa, so as part of the experience Alex booked spa treatments for both of us. A mani/pedi combo for me, an aquatherapy sauna thing for him, and a chocolate couples massage by the fire for us both. The massage was probably one of the best things during the whole trip.
Both the hotel and the spa had separate shops. At the Country Store downstairs, you could buy the hotel’s premium honey and beeswax products, pancake, biscuit, and scone mixes, Washington State wines, along with a selection of Salish Lodge apparel and bath and body items.
Around Twin Peaks – Snoqualmie & North Bend
Twede’s Cafe – aka The Double R Diner.
Practically the first thing we did the day after we arrived was head out to Twede’s Cafe in North Bend. As any Twin Peaks fan knows, Twede’s was the inspiration (and served in the exterior shots) for The Double R Diner. What some fans don’t know is that the pie at Twede’s was so good, the cast and crew insisted on it, even after filming of the series moved up to Canada. Twede’s pie was trucked in to the set!
Damn fine coffee!
Cherry Pie from Twede’s.
And yes, that is some damn fine cherry pie!
I don’t normally even like cherry pie…but it’s that damn good!
One entire wall at Twede’s is devoted to Twin Peaks Memorabilia. Alex took several photos, but I only wanted one.
Homecoming Queen Laura Palmer.
After lunch, we spent some time wandering around Snoqualmie. The downtown area is really neat, full of little shops, restaurants, cafes, and the Railroad Museum.
We had passed an interesting looking neighborhood on the way to the Salish the day before, so we went back to it and looked around a bit, too. It was like a carbon copy of Shirlington – restaurants, a library, even a grocery store. It was called The Ridge, and it was love at first site for both of us. The best part was the walking trail, though. It starts just past the Salish, at the railroad bridge, and goes all the way to The Ridge and beyond!
The Railroad Bridge.
We actually went back to The Ridge another day, on foot, via that walking trail. I got some great photos of the mountains on the walk back. We would go back to The Ridge a third time (driving!) to eat lunch at Aahaar and explore a bit more. The retail area of the neighborhood is completely surrounded by townhouses and apartments.
View from The Ridge
Of course, I had to see the iconic first view of Twin Peaks, for myself. If you didn’t recognize it, it’s the second image in the post. It was taken on Reinig Road in Snoqualmie. It’s not far from the Salish, but we took a wrong turn on the way back and came through North Bend again.
Both Snoqualmie and North Bend are small towns. But there was a lot to love about both. They’re both really close to Seattle if you want a dose of the city. And…there’s an outlet mall really close by. It’s small and doesn’t have all of my favorite stores, according to it’s website (we didn’t actually visit this trip). But it was just one more thing that made this area very attractive to me.
I’m not sure what I liked about Snoqualmie the most – the clean air, the trees, the lack of traffic, how nice the people were – but when when we eventually leave the DC Metro Area, I’d really like to live there!
What I didn’t know until we got there is that Snoqualmie Falls is a state park. The park actually butts right up against the hotel grounds. It’s been a popular destination since Victorian times. There are walkways down to the best vantage points of the falls. We got a lot of great photos.
The falls from the overlook.
The river valley.
The falls, shrouded in early morning mist.
Almost every morning, we got up early (because East Coasters!) and hiked the mountain – it’s about two miles round trip. Once you get to the bottom, you have a choice to go to the river bank or along the boardwalk. We did both at various times, of course!
Alex on the Trail
Approaching the visitor’s center at the bottom of the trail.
The trail itself was quite beautiful. The air is very clean and very moist from the falls. Everything is really, really green. There are mosses and lichens everywhere!
Alex contemplates a large tree.
Look at all that green!
The sunlight filtering through the trees on the way back up the mountain.
The river is also quite breathtaking. I got several nice shots, both from the bank and the boardwalk. And the view of the falls from the bottom is spectacular!
The rocky bank.
White water shoals!
Alex on the bank.
I took more than one photo of this log balanced on a rock. I don’t know why. But it tickled me.
I LOVED the hiking.
Worth the hike!
The Falls from the bottom.
The Falls was actually the site of the first underground hydro electric plant, first built in 1899. At the bottom, the boardwalk winds around the newer plant (built in 1910). These are functioning plants, and are not open to the public.
The weather was absolutely perfect the entire time we were there. While DC had a snowstorm (and my office shut down!) we enjoyed temperatures in the 50s and 60s in Snoqualmie! I got by for the most part with just my zip up fleece. My hiking boots certainly got a workout on this trip, though! One day, between our usual mountain hike and the walk to The Ridge and back, we logged a little over eight miles.
The park had it’s own gift shop with a coffee bar inside. Apparently it was quite popular, judging by the number of people at the coffee counter at any given time! Silly or not, one of the things I got for myself was a geode necklace – you know the kid the sell for kids? – it was the only black geode I’ve ever encountered though, so I really couldn’t resist.*
*Total haul including both gift shops and the spa were: Two “spa bras,” an entire set of the hotel’s body care (travel size), two shirts, a hat, a sack of gemstones, a geode necklace, a magnet, and three tiny baby apples.