Welcome to Twin Peaks: Visiting The Double R Diner
I often disconnect the world of television shows and movies from reality. It’s easy to think of these fantastical worlds as just that: fantasy. It doesn’t help that more and more often these days, everything is being filmed in front of a series of green screens or on a set somewhere in Los Angeles. Now this is a travel blog, so you may be wondering where am I getting with this? Well, this mindset of disconnecting myself from the film making process had an interesting effect on me the more I started to learn about television shows and movies that were filmed on location. These fantastical worlds that I so often drift away to sink their anchors in reality, and traveling to them can make for a mind-bending experience. A recent road trip up the Pacific-Northwest confronted me with this opportunity, and it lead me on a journey to North Bend, Washington, or as you may better know it, Twin Peaks.
The experience I want to talk about specifically was our visit to the Double R Diner, which may be the most notable place from the show you can still see to this day. Those who are familiar with the show will recognize it as the workplace of many large characters including Norma and Shelly, and a frequent hang out for most characters in the show.
To set the mood, it was a hot summer day; the kind of day where all the air conditioning in the world couldn’t keep the sweat off your brow. We had been roosting at a friends house, deep in the forest, just a short walk from the Puget Sound. Our friend, Josh, Elise and I set out early in the morning for the 3 hour drive ahead. Like starry-eyed actors making the pilgrimage to Los Angeles, our minds were racing with expectation. The idea of stepping into a world other than our own—a Lynchian world at that—was the most exciting thing we could imagine. Badalamenti’s famous theme song was blaring over the speakers, only broken by the occasional reminiscent comment about the show. Still, it didn’t quite feel real, until we finally passed the city line.
This town was gorgeous. A sight to see for Twin Peak fans and regular travelers alike. There was an ocean of evergreens in all directions broken only by ominous rocky mountains so steep that the trees could hardly handle the slope. The town looked picturesque from angle. (Unfortunately, I lost all of the pictures on my camera while here, so iPhone pictures will have to suffice.) While the town certainly had the likeness and population count of a small town, the atmosphere did not match its appearance. A hot rod car show had made parking extremely difficult to find, and the streets were bustling with people from all walks of life. We made our way down block after block of heavily modded cars towards the Double R Diner, or as we soon learned is now called Twede’s Cafe. The name change didn’t break our spirit. Our hearts were pumping with adrenaline. It may be stupid to say, but this show meant a lot to us, and we were beyond excited to see the diner with our own eyes.
Then we walked through the door. . .
We stood at a nearly unrecognizable scene. The Double R Diner had changed. From a new paint job, to the Looney Toon’s themed decor, it seemed the only recognizable icon in this whole restaurant was the bar area, but even that was modified and looked vastly different than it did in the show. We got seated, and the hostess and staff were all so inviting and nice, yet we were still distraught with disappointment. We each ordered a “damn fine cup of coffee”—black of course—and a slice of Twin Peaks cherry pie. A nice nod to the franchise, but it hardly made a dent in the excitement we were expecting.
I excused myself to the restroom, walked past the glaring eyes of the numerous Tweety Bird plushies and Looney Toon collectibles hanging from the ceiling, and found myself in a hallway which stopped me dead in my tracks. Nearly every inch of one wall was covered with old photographs. Everything from behind the scenes pictures of notable faces laughing outside the diner, to a framed collection of signed trading cards featuring members of the cast that I came to love so much over Twin Peaks' two seasons. The thought of Sherilyn Fenn standing right where I stood, with David Lynch just within earshot filled my body with happiness. I quickly ran back and grabbed my friends to show them what I found. Our mood changed almost instantly. We stood there for a while just appreciating the wall and the story it told.
I learned to appreciate where I was, and not take for granted the experience I had travelling to this remote town for a delicious cup of coffee and an amazing cherry pie with one of my best friends and my girlfriend. Sure, it wasn’t what I was expecting from the trip, but in a sense the new mindset I gained will benefit me for the times to come. I have since learned that shortly after leaving, the entire place was restored to it’s former glory for the upcoming third season. It’s easy for me to think “what awful timing, we were just there!”, but having that memory of seeing Twede’s in its natural progression as an establishment is something completely unique to us. It’s a memory I will always hold dear to my heart. The world is always changing around us, and all you can do is embrace the present, while not losing sight of the past. This building has gone through a lot in it’s years; ownership change, remodeling, even burglary and arson has shaped what this diner has come to be today. It’s safe to say, that the rest of the short time I was in Twede’s, I was eating my cherry pie, and sipping my black coffee with the same excitement that I imagine Agent Cooper had the first time he strolled into this town.