December 21st – 22nd, 2011
OK, so I am the first to admit I know very little about the book and movie phenomena Twilight. Vampire (Edward) falls in love with a human girl (Bella), clashes with other vampires over this and clashes with werewolves one of which also loves the girl (Jacob), that’s pretty much all I know, apart from the fact that my sister loves it and it is entertaining to make fun of her movie choices!
I saw the first movie and knew it wasn’t for me. I like my vampires to be old school bloodthirsty creatures of the night who burst into flames at the mere hint of sunlight….not sparkle!
Anyway, on a recent trip to the Pacific Ocean side of the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park in Washington state I stayed in Forks (home of the vampires in Twilight) and visited the beach side town of La Push (home of the Werewolves in the stories, but in real life it is part of the Quileute Tribe reservation). Both towns are making their best effort to cash in on the success of Twilight. It is working too, as Twilight fans from all over the world are making the trek to this part of the world to take it all in.
There are dedicated tours to sites mentioned in the books (the movies were not actually filmed in Forks, but in Oregon for some reason?) and of course shops are selling all sorts of Twilight related merchandise. Luckily they do this without going too far over the top and making the town too kooky!
Forks has even nominated certain homes to be those mentioned in the books belonging to the Swan and Cullen families. One is a private residence the other a bed and breakfast.
What I found interesting was that the author of the books Stephenie Meyer had never actually been to Forks when she wrote the first book! She grew up and lives in Arizona! She apparently had a dream about the Twilight characters which lead to the first book and chose Forks as the place as it is reputed to be very rainy with a relatively low-level of sunlight throughout the year (perfect for Vampires). Actually while I was there it was cold (at or just above freezing), but sunny and dry each day.
Apparently Stephenie Meyer does now also have a house in Washington state on an Island on the Olympic Peninsula (but not near Forks or La Push, it’s on the other side). I gather she bought it after she made her fortune from over 100 million books sold worldwide plus the movies (which translates into $40-$50 million a year in 2009 and 2010)? Not bad for someone who had never even had a short story published before these books!
I was surprised when I arrived in Forks as I was expecting it to be heavily forested and dark. It wasn’t like this at all. It is very open and in a valley (nearby though are very dark forests, especially in the Hoh Rain Forest). The beaches of La Push were spectacular.
It is a very nice area to visit and even though I am not a fan, the Twilight stuff does provides an interesting diversion, but in the end all I can say is please bring on Underworld Awakening in 2012 for some real Vampire vs. Werewolf action! Kate Beckinsale rocks!