Twilight Changed Forks

I was a substitute teacher at Forks High School for the 96/97 school year. Scott and I chaperoned the prom. We shopped weekly for our groceries at The Thriftway, and we got to know the normal way life is in Forks, WA. At the end of the school year, we moved back to California. We called our nine months in Forks "the best vacation we ever had," but we just could not take the constant rain. We laughed heartily whenever fellow Californians complained about a little sprinkle, and we explained our persistent coughs as "coughing up Forks," but mostly, we put Forks behind us. We did until May 2013, when curiosity got the best of us and we went back to see how much Twilight changed Forks.

Video: Twilight Changed Forks May 2013 by Cherise Kelley

In 2008 when the first Twilight movie came out, I was teaching middle school English in Bloomington, CA. A bunch of my students were avid Twilight fans. I listened with amusement while they discussed how dreamy Edward is and how lucky Bella is. I giggled at their speculations on if vampires should sparkle or not. And then I was stunned when I heard them mention Forks, WA. "Where did you say this story takes place?" "In this little town called Forks, WA where it rains all the time so it's always cloudy and the sun never comes out, so it's the perfect place for vampires." That did it. I had to see this movie that had been made about Forks!

I rented the movie and watched it twice, and I was done until the movie of New Moon came out. Taylor Lautner hooked me on the saga. I had to find out what happened! I borrowed the books from a friend and read them all―ten times each! I saw all the movies in the theater and then bought the DVDs and watched them over and over.

I got enough of Twilight once the final movie was out and I had listened to the director's commentary. That finally gave me closure. And then I heard a rumor that Lion's Gate plans to remake the Twilight Saga movies with a new cast. "They should make them in Forks and Port Angeles instead of in Portland and Vancouver" was my immediate thought. My next thought was, "I wonder how much Twilight has changed Forks and Port Angeles?"
Now, I can tell you how much Twilight changed Forks: not much at all. The most notable change is the new Forks High School building―which the residents will be paying off over the next 30 years in property taxes, according to Bob at Forks True Value Hardware. Funny we should mention Bob. His huge store is new, too. The public restroom in his new store is amusingly labeled "Twiolet." Bob used to run a Coast Hardware in the building where the Native to Twilight store now is. He says locals helped him decorate this wall with stuff they brought in from their attics and barns.

There really are few other changes to the town of Forks since we lived there in 1997. The one nice restaurant in town is gone, The Vagabond. Most of the stores have Twilight souvenirs on display. There are a few tour companies that'll show you around town where various locals have volunteered to simulate The Swan Residence, The Cullen Residence, and other Twilight attractions. Leppell's Flowers & Gifts, across the street from the high school, runs one of these tour companies.

Forks is still a rainy small town full of friendly lumberjacks after all the Twilight hoopla.

More posts about Cherise Kelley's Forks Road Trip:

First Beach, La Push, Washington

Inside Bella Italia in Port Angeles

Forks Forest Pictures and Video

First Beach, La Push Washington

First Beach was one of the most enjoyable parts of our recent Forks vacation. It was May, and anyway it is too cold to swim here most of the year, but we had a blast! We took the dogs walking on the beach, and they had more fun sniffing everything than we had looking around, I think.

The people are really friendly in La Push, too. We stopped at the new Quilayute Oceanside Resort for directions and they cheerfully told us where we could park for free and walk down onto First Beach. You can see the resort in my videos. Another motorist hesitated too long at a 4 way stop, and when I rolled down my window to ask if he was OK, he laughed and said he had just spaced out. Other tourists were on the beach with their dogs, too, and we all gave each other lots of space and polite distance so that we could all enjoy walking our dogs on the beach.

Scott took this first video while I was trying to pose our dogs, Raffle and Oreo, for a still picture. I didn't know he was taking a video! I think it's pretty funny. Video of Cherise Kelley with Raffle and Oreo:

This next video is funny, too! Oreo keeps trying to walk me into the ocean! This is also the video of Quilayute Oceanside Resort. It is right on First Beach, but off to the side so you can still enjoy the beach, a really nice arrangement. Another Video of Cherise Kelley with Raffle and Oreo

This last video is for those people asking themselves, "How beautiful is First Beach, La Push really, in real life?" (It is incredibly beautiful. I grew up near the beach and have missed it since moving to Washington, but I got my fix here. This also is a nice video with ocean wave sounds.)

I finished out the week weighing in at 157.0 this morning. Not great, but moving in the right direction to be back under 150 by the end of July.

We took this Forks road trip to find out how Twilight has changed Forks, and my Forks video, pictures, and post are coming next week!

Forks Forest Pictures and Video

I have heard rumors that Lions Gate Entertainment Inc plans to remake the Twilight movies. I hope they remake them in Forks. I don't think Twilight 2008 director Catherine Hardwicke realized the Forks forest is a creepy and cool mossy rainforest, not just a regular pine forest. The town of Forks has been accommodating to Twilight fans and deserves the recognition and increased business that filming on location there would bring.

Exercise comes easiest when it's fun. Scott, Raffle, Oreo, and I had so much fun traipsing through the creepy and cool rainforest! Moss does not only grow on the north side of trees, just so you know.

We saw several deer here at the Storm King Ranger Station on the drive from Port Angeles to Forks. The deer are all so tame, they didn't even run when our dogs barked at them! This is unheard of in most of Washington, where deer hunting is a popular sport. I know because we have lived in Spokane two and a half years now.

But just in general, we were really captivated by how eery and silent the Forks forest is. It is so green and alive because of all the rain it gets. I remember when we lived in Forks back in 96, one day it rained 6 inches. It rained at least half an inch every day, most heavily at about 4 pm. We had to mow our grass twice a week.

We called this one that Scott, Raffle, and Oreo are under "the tepee tree."

I finally cracked under 158 today! I weighed in this morning at 157.4, which means yesterday I lost .8 pounds. I didn't expect that because I gave in and had a slice of pizza for lunch yesterday.

I've been bringing unsweetened berries to the foodie events at church. I brought blueberries to the ladies cookie tea last Wednesday. I brought unsweetened strawberries to the joint worship service we had last Sunday evening with two other churches. People thanked me for bringing berries! The ladies asked me if I picked the blueberries, but I explained, "No, I'm a city girl. I have never picked a berry in my life."

I don't think I am a city girl anymore, though. I wouldn't want to deal with the rain in the Forks forest, but I love living close enough to nature that I can walk in the Spokane forest every day, or at least in the woodsy park, if not up in the forested hills.

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me

Today I was a guest blogger at Long and Short Reviews. I posted ten things you might not know about me. Go check it out!

I weighed in at 159.2 this morning. I was down to 158.4 yesterday, but then I did something stupid. I didn't plan my meals around the errands I had to run. I wound up binging on the cheese and crackers packages we keep in the truck for emergencies.

It would have been fine if I had eaten just one portion, but no. I kept wanting another portion. I ate six individual packages. That probably contained enough calories for two days, let alone all the sodium that's in those.

My shorts are tight again. Thank God I can still get into them, but I have four more pair in my closet that don't fit right now. That is unacceptable. I have been good so far today. Today is all I have control over.

Yep, up top with the gold leather jacket is a picture of me! It was taken in 1994. It suits the mood of my book, How I Got Him To Marry Me: 50 True Stories, so I am using it in promotions for the book. The paperback is on sale at Amazon right now for $13.13!

This book is non-fiction. One by one, fifty married women each tell you how they turned their boyfriends into husbands in this day and age when men think living together is just as good as being married. I wrote it to help all the single ladies out there who wish he would just propose, already. Chances are, you know a lady in this predicament.

Inside Bella Italia in Port Angeles

No Twilight Forks road trip would be complete without seeing inside Bella Italia in Port Angeles, where Edward Cullen and Bella Swan go on their first date, so of course we ate there. It wasn't crowded because we went on a Tuesday in May, rather than on the weekend during the summer. We got great service because we dressed for a date rather than as tourists, and the food was delicious! The decor is homey and comfy. I really like the cute lace curtain dividers on top of the booths and the flowery Italian tablecloths. You can understand why they put them under glass; the place gets lots of tourists!

We signed the guest book, which was really fun to look through, with people from all over the world taking
Twilight Forks road trips. We were seated right away because it was early on a Tuesday. The place opens at 4 p.m. seven days a week. You can peruse the menu on the restaurant's Facebook page. The hostess explained the daily specials, including lots of fresh seafood because Port Angeles is a seaport.

Scott ordered Cioppino, a collection of fresh fish, crab, scallops, crab, and shrimp in an Italian tomato soup. He said it was excellent, and he loves seafood, so he would know. It came with a little dish of pasta on the side. We asked how people usually eat the pasta. "Do people dump the pasta in their soup?" Our waitress was good humored about our question and explained that the normal way is to roll the pasta onto your fork and dip it in the sauce.

When I ordered, I said, "I have to have Bella's Mushroom Ravioli and a Coke."
"I understand," the waitress said.
Bella Italia was clever to re-name this dish after the character who made it so popular. I have read in reviews that this dish is served with canned sauce and is not authentially Italian and blah blah blah. Gosh, I thought it tasted divine! The fresh mushrooms from the Olympic Peninsula contrasted nicely against the creamy sauce. Scott tasted it and thought it was good, too. His only comment was I didn't get much food. That was OK with me. It left me room for dessert!

Dessert was a wonderful, fresh chocolate mousse that I washed down with freshly brewed coffee. I could
only finish half my dessert, and the waitress cheerfully packed it in a to-go box for me. It tasted great later that night in our room at the Super 8 Port Angeles, thanks to our in-room refrigerator.

None of the Twilight movies were shot in the actual location. Bella Italia is not the restaurant that you see in the movie, nor is Port Angeles the town you see in the movie, but they are the actual locations that Stephenie Meyer Googled when she wrote the books. She was looking for the location with the most rain in the US, and that's how she found Forks, WA. I have heard that Lion's Gate is going to re-cast Twilight and make four new movies. I think they should shoot the new Twilight movies in the real Forks and the real Port Angeles, instead of in Portland, Vancouver, and New Orleans. 

Because the rain forest is the draw to this area, well, and also because I know you all love to see pictures of Raffle, here is another picture of Scott, Raffle, and Oreo on the Moments in Time Trail in the Forks rainforest. I substituted at Forks High School during the 96/97 school year, right after Scott got out of the Navy. We went on this trip to see how much Twilight has changed Forks, and I will post more on that in the next few weeks.

I am up to 160.8 after our church potluck yesterday! Size 10! Ack! Homemade cherry cheesecake! Yes, I am really watching it today. The church ladies are having a tea on Wednesday with homemade cookies, though. Who knew church would be such a temptation? I unpacked some of my size 10 clothes from the "sell" boxes in the garage the other day, just so I would have something besides jeans to wear to church. Yes, my Levi's 505s still fit me, but I haven't washed them since we got back from Forks!