More like the Twilight Zone, I think, after a stroll down Forks's main drag.
Cardboard cutouts of Bella, Edward and other movie characters haunt storefront windows, a motel sign teases: “Edward didn't sleep here” – Meyer's vampires don't sleep, remember? – and seemingly every single boutique from the Thriftway grocery store to Jerry's Lock and Key (that's right, the locksmith) proudly hawk Twilight paraphernalia.
It's over the top, but business is booming. By last count, Sully's Drive-In sold 10,650 Bella Burgers this year – each with a set of vampire fangs, naturally. Meanwhile, florist Charleen Cross, the owner of Twilight Central, estimates 600 people came through her flower shop and gift store in a single day this summer. Even in the dead of winter, Cross says, the fans keep her business afloat: “I barely sold any flowers for Valentine's Day,” she says, “but Valentine's Day was a holiday, so the Twilighters made up for it.”
Of course, not everyone is happy about this surge of insatiable teenagers and giddy middle-aged women. Judging by the smug, unimpressed look of the suspendered hunters whose path I blocked snapping pictures at the Forks Coffee Shop, I gather the rapture surrounding their stomping grounds is still a bit of a head-scratcher.
Even Michelle Rouse, the part-time innkeeper at the Cullen House where we stayed, has her gripes. “I used to always get this raspberry flavoured latté, and then they changed the name to something Twilight-related and jacked up the price. I don't blame them for jumping on the bandwagon,” she says after serving me croissant French toast for breakfast – the house Twilight Special – “but I'm not paying.”
If some locals are grumpy, Catherine Dilly and Valérie Daven certainly haven't noticed. The two women in their late 30s from a small town near Fontainbleau, France, say everyone they've encountered has been overwhelmingly helpful. “Since we got here yesterday, we've continued to meet people who volunteer to drive us here and there and show us all the sites. It's been really touching,” Daven says.
Back at the Cullen House, Twilighter Michelle Hutchings from Chicago looks out the window of her imaginary lover's dining room with a faint, satisfied smile, as her husband sips his coffee, unfazed. “I'm just the driver,” he says – implying with his tone that she's the Twilight fan. Wisps of grey and white swath the sky like a blanket of stretched wet wool, but as far as Michelle is concerned, the weather is perfect. “I'm so glad it's raining,” she says.
Special to The Globe and Mail
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Pack your bags
By air From Sea-Tac airport, drive north to Edmonds, where you'll take a 30-minute Washington State Ferry to Kingston ( www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/visitors_center, 1-206-464-6400). From Kingston, drive north through Port Angeles to Forks. By land and sea From Victoria, MV Coho carries passengers and vehicles to Port Angeles daily year-round (www.cohoferry.com, 1-250-386-2202). From Port Angeles, drive west along Highway 101 for about 90 kilometres or take the No. 14 bus ( www.clallamtransit.com/route-14-timetable.html, 1-360-452-4511).
WHERE TO STAY
Here are your best bets for Twilight-themed accommodations: Miller Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast 654 East Division St., Forks; 1-800-943-6563; www.millertreeinn.com. From $95. Team Edward fans will love the Miller Tree – a.k.a. the Cullen House. The Pacific Inn Motel 352 South Forks Ave., Forks; 1-800-235-7344; www.pacificinnmotel.com. Six Twilight-themed rooms from $104. The Dew Drop Inn Motel 100 Fern Hill Rd., Forks; 1-360-374-4055; www.dewdropinnmotel.com. One Twilight-themed room for $156, breakfast included. Quileute Oceanside Resort 320 Ocean Dr., La Push; 1-800-487-1267; www.quileutenation.org/accommodations. Motel rooms from $121 and oceanview luxury suites from $236.
WHAT TO DO
Look for Bella's red 1953 Ford Chevy parked in front of the Forks Chamber of Commerce Visitors Information Center (1411 South Forks Ave., Forks; 1-800-443-6757; www.forkswa.com ). Grab a detailed map of all the Twilight sites and a sheet of Twilight trivia to jog your memory. Dazzled by Twilight tour (11 North Forks Ave., Forks; 1-360-374-5101; www.dazzledbytwilight.com.) Be one of the first to walk into Jacob Black's room. Whether you're a Twilight newbie or a dedicated fan, Travis Belles will keep you on your toes throughout the 21/2-hour tour in Forks and La Push with his knowledge of the latest Twilight rumours. $42. Real-life Quileute culture (www.quileutenation.org/news-and-events.) Hike along the wild Pacific coastline in La Push and learn more about Quileute culture at the Wednesday-night Healing Circle/Drum Group, where Quileute tribal members play drums and dance for those in spiritual need. Bella and Edward's first date Re-enact it at Bella Italia (118 East 1st St., Port Angeles, 1-360-457-5442, www.bellaitaliapa.com ). The mushroom ravioli – their first-date dinner – is made with Olympic Forest mushrooms and costs $18.