Our accommodation the first night of our weekend was with a lovely lady called Barbara at her B&B in Port Angeles, Ocean Crest. We arrived just before dinner and she showed us to our room. It was very comfortable, had its own bathroom, and just next door was a little sitting room for us. Barbara was thrilled to hear an Australian accent, as her beau is keen to take her to Australia next year and she was full of questions.
She took us through our dining options for the evening, and made reference to ‘Twilight’ several times. I then noticed the Twilight paraphernalia featured on a bookcase. Apparently, there is a book out there called Twilight, and quite a few people have read it, and many of those people come to the Olympic Peninsula to see where Bella (the heroine) and her vampire lover, Edward ‘live’.
The story is set in Forks, Washington, and we were 60 miles away, but that didn’t mean that the Twilight business is not thriving in Port Angeles too. It was our first taste of how far reaching this phenomena is.
We opted not to go to ‘Bella Italian’ – a favorite amongst Twilight devotees, but instead chose a seafood restaurant on the water. It was a good pick and I had Dungeness crabcakes (Dungeness is just up the road from Port Angeles) and Ben tried razor clams. Both were delicious, especially the unusual razor clam, which is large and meaty and quite a bit sweeter than crab. After dinner we discovered a cozy wine bar, and sat down to taste some California reds. We would have stayed longer, but one of us would have had to play ‘skipper’ and it is just no fun watching your love drink lovely wine while you sip water.
Barbara, a pro in the B&B business for eleven years, not surprisingly made a fabulous breakfast the next morning. While we enjoyed pancakes, eggs and bacon, we heard more of her story – recently divorced, but seemingly happy – and about her son who runs a resort out near Forks – yes, the Forks of the novel, Twilight.
We kept a close eye on the weather through breakfast. That morning we were supposed to be going kayaking on Freshwater Bay. However, I awoke to a very stiff and sore shoulder, so Ben was going it alone. Even though check out time was 11am, Barbara had generously offered for me to stay on and ‘chill out’ until Ben got back around 1pm.
As I ate, I looked out at dark clouds and incessant rain, and a niggling thought popped into my head: ‘It’s still officially summer’. I pushed aside the disheartening thought about the demise of my favorite season. I needn’t be selfish, as I wasn’t the one who would get very wet. Luckily when I called the kayaking place to cancel, they said they only had the two of us booked, and it was probably best to call it off all together. Ben seemed very happy about that.
Instead, we decided to go wine tasting. (Hooray!) We said a fond farewell to Barbara, and as we drove out of the driveway saw this little lady:
We then went to Camaraderie Cellars and Harbinger Winery. Both had some lovely wines, which were presented by lovely people. We killed a couple of hours, and made some dents in the plastic, but you have to when you taste good wine that you can only get at the cellar door. Wine tasting at cellar doors is a ‘regret-less endeavor’ only if you buy what you like when you’re there.
We were a chatty pair as we drove again past Lake Crescent, and on towards Forks. We would stay that night at Manitou Lodge, which sits nestled in the coastal rain forest, just west of Forks. A couple of hours before check in, we pulled up outside Three Rivers Resort and Cafe, also just west of Forks. We knew that the cafe (owned by Barbara’s son) had its own ‘vampire menu’, but it was at this time that the whole ‘Twilight’ obsession started to hit home.
Inside the cafe is this sign:
which I am sure people thought I was photographing because I am a fan. I’m not; all I know is that the books – and now a film – exist.
We later learned that next weekend is a huge celebration in Forks to mark Bella’s fictional birthday. Her birthday part is being held in a church, because, as you all know, vampires can’t go into churches.
It is an intriguing pursuit, this whole Twilight obsession. It has me more than a little curious, so I have asked Ben to put the film on our Netflix cue. I am not too keen to read the book, but I will check out the film. At least we can say ‘We’ve been there”. We ate our burgers – which were terrific – and played two games of Yahtzee, both of which Ben won – but only just.
After lunch and a short drive we were at the coast at LaPush, Washington. It was spectacularly beautiful, but the most inhospitable I have ever seen the Pacific.
A storm was raging, waves crashed and the whole scene was of gray debris.
The town itself was not beautiful, rather a lonely, decrepit town I can imagine is only visited because of the views from it shores.
It was time to go to our accommodation, so we headed away from the coast and deeper into the forest. Manitou Lodge is the sort of place that actually looks like its name. It is big and rustic, with stone and timber walls. On entry we were faced with a giant staircase and a grand room with a long dining table, four leather couches and bookshelves lined with old books and games.
It is a place that could be either the scene of a horror movie, or the backdrop for a mini adventure. I was hoping for the latter. We were shown to our room, the Lady of Guadalupe:
Both of us were keen for some indoor R&R, because the rain outside was unrelenting. After I nested for a few minutes, much to Ben’s amusement, I chose to have a hot bath, and he chose to read about Seattle a hundred years ago. Both of us enjoyed these solitary pursuits, and then we came back together, and headed downstairs to see what we could see.
We scoured the bookshelves for games or interesting books, all while maintaining our library voices. There were 4 other people in the grand room, and all were reading, so we whispered. We then hit the jackpot with a 600 piece Star Trek puzzle.
I looked at Ben as though asking, ‘Are you game?’ and he looked at me as though replying, “Okay.” We cleared some space on the table top, and began our task. Five hours, one and a half bottles of wine, two cheese croissants, and a bag of popcorn later we called it a night.
There were many pieces missing – we guessed about 50 – and it was too dark in the grand room to discern between dark blue and black, so we left a few patches unfinished, but overall it was a hugely successful and fun endeavor. Whenever either of us found the place for a tricky black piece with a sliver of color on the side, we earned a ‘well done’ and a kiss from the other.
We grew new-found respect and appreciation for just how clever the other is (keep in mind that we already had heaps of both, so this is saying a lot). The hours flew by. I can highly recommend puzzling as a good bonding experience for couples who are rained in on an adventure holiday.
This is how we left the puzzle for anyone keen to finish it:
The rain was still with us the next morning as we bid farewell to Vampire Country. We had survived!
We were driving the long way home, south, then east, then north up into Seattle. It would take about 4 hours if we didn’t stop, but of course, we wanted to stop. We chose Ruby Beach. It was a fluke, because there are a dozen places to stop and see the ocean on the drive, but we’re both glad we got to see this:
And these examples of natural graffiti art:
We ‘souvenired’ some of these pebbles, and they now sit proudly in our home. My favorite is the perfectly round stone Ben found. It is 6 inches across and now sits next to the television. I should also mention that we got very wet on this excursion. We both had waterproof jackets, but the rain and wind were in full force – it was wild and woolly – and we spent the next hour of driving, drying off. (Well worth it though!)
The rest of our drive went by quickly, although we did realize about 2 hours down the road that I had left my perfect pillow in the Lady of Guadalupe (they’re sending it to me). Lunch was breakfast at Denny’s. It is kind of a cheesy place to stop, but is always clean, and the breakfast is great. Good ol’ Denny’s didn’t disappoint, and gave us the energy we needed to get home.
We packed a lot in, but as I said before, the success of the weekend was as much about what we skipped as what we saw. Wine tasting is a much better way to spend a rainy day than kayaking.
As always, thank you to my darling Ben. He is the best travel companion (and life’s companion) this girl could ever hope for.
And the boys want to know where we’re all going next…