Behind the scenes Twin Peaks 2017: Tiny North Bend gears up for Twin Peaks mania as series returns

Salish Lodge overlooking Snoqualmie Falls.
Salish Lodge

Salish Lodge overlooking Snoqualmie Falls.

There's a buzz around the tiny, sleepy Washington State town of North Bend.

Filming for the much anticipated third series of cult television show Twin Peaks is rumoured to have begun.

But just like the saying goes - who knows where, and when.

Something suspicious going down at the RR Diner in North Bend.
Kylie McLaughlin

Something suspicious going down at the RR Diner in North Bend.

This week, Twede's Cafe has not-so-quietly transformed into the RR Diner, which famously sold cherry pie and a 'damn fine cup of coffee' in the series. But when we arrive, it is boarded up, a lone crew member painting signs outside.

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The windows are covered so we take our chances with the front door when a sullen security guard of large stature arises from his meal to tick us off.

The Fall City Roadhouse.
Kylie McLaughlin

The Fall City Roadhouse.

"You people aren't supposed to be standing there," he growls. "I've already had to tell several people to leave today including one fat guy with a camera and another who took photos from across the road whenever they opened the door," he whined.

So is there any chance we can take a look inside?

"Absolutely not," he spits. Right then.

Ronette's Bridge: now concrete thanks to the work of a local arsonist.
Kylie McLaughlin

Ronette's Bridge: now concrete thanks to the work of a local arsonist.

"If you look at the sign above on the other side that should be clues enough ," he says, motioning to the newly erected sign for the fictional RR diner, before pouting, "I'm not trying to be a jerk!"

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The lone crew member proves to be more sympathetic on hearing an Australian accent. "I really wish I could help you. I know you've come along way but there's nothing I can do."

With no Kyle MacLachlan​, David Lynch or Sherilyn Fenn, we saunter back to the car - broke, but not beaten.

Inside Twin Peaks High School.
Kylie McLaughlin

Inside Twin Peaks High School.

It's hard to be gloomy in the face of disappointment with so many surrounding attractions.

Five minutes from North Bend, Salish Lodge looms majestically over Snoqualmie Falls, Washington's most popular spot for tourists.

Even at the end of a long dry summer, water is thundering into the lush mossy canyon below. A rainbow forms, stretching from one end of the falls to the other. It's a spectacular sight, etched onto the minds of Twin Peaks fans as the iconic slow-moving falls from the opening sequence.

Suspicious owl-cave graffiti found on Ronette's bridge.
Kylie McLaughlin

Suspicious owl-cave graffiti found on Ronette's bridge.

The lodge, fondly remembered as the Great Northern Hotel, is the logical place to base oneself during a Twin Peaks trip, and it's one of the most comfortable and luxurious of North America's timber lodges you'll find - some of its rooms containing a spa bath and a balcony which opens directly over the falls - the rush of water echoing magically around the suite.

Ten minutes down the road in the town of Fall City, we dine at the Fall City Roadhouse - where the exterior shots of the Twin Peak's Roadhouse and the 'Bookhouse Boys' house were filmed.

Apart from the food here being surprisingly good Pacific Northwestern fare (try the dungeness crab cakes with pesto and the steelhead salmon), the staff were also helpful when it came to revealing tips about filming locations. We take our leave, hope adding a spring to our steps.

The famous sign should be to the right side of the road.
Kylie McLaughlin

The famous sign should be to the right side of the road.

Across the road, you may not recognise the significantly made-over Fall City Grill which housed the fag-smoking Hap and her diner from the movie, Fire Walk With Me.

The next stop is Ronette's Bridge (Reinig Bridge) - the rusty old train tracks Ronette walked over after the fateful night of Laura Palmer's murder. It's not so dark and mysterious under the bright fall sunlight, the train tracks have gone and a suspicious fire forced them to reinforce the old wooden bridge with cement, however the Twin Peaks related graffiti scrawled across helps it retain an authentic feel.

An arsonist also destroyed Twede's Cafe back in 2000. Would you like to play with fire, little boy? Would you like to play with Bob?

Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne outside the 'Great Northern Hotel'.
Kylie McLaughlin

Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne outside the 'Great Northern Hotel'.

A few minutes more down the road brings you to the spot where the Twin Peaks sign should be standing, Mt Si looming in the background.

Mt Si's nearby township includes several familiar filming locations such as the Twin Peaks High School (go inside and check out the familiar red stripe running along its walls) and the Fat Trout Trailer Park - sadly now razed to the ground.

In perfect nick, the Packard Saw Mill and Sheriff's Station are now on the same site as a rally school and a private event prevented us from entering. So they claim. I secretly hoped Lynch and his crew were filming.

Lights, camera, action!
Kylie McLaughlin

Lights, camera, action!

We press on to the old site of Big Ed's Gas Station, and then the new one where according to Twitter we'd just missed the film crew. Instead I get chased out by a tenacious French bulldog, much to my host's amusement.

It's getting late into the afternoon when the Twittersphere comes alive with talk of filming commenced back at the RR diner, and we race down to take a look. Jackpot: we've found them.

Sauntering up to the rear of the diner, a familiar figure in a checked-shirt and high-waisted jeans turns out to be Big Ed (Everett McGill), who's joined by none other than Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton), who's retained every inch of her Hollywood glamour, catwalking through the diner carpark armed with a load of scripts.

David Lynch (in the cap on the right) on set at the RR Diner in North Bend.
Kylie McLaughlin

David Lynch (in the cap on the right) on set at the RR Diner in North Bend.

I'm whooping at the appearance of Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), whose hair has turned as white as Leyland Palmer's did in series two, still chewing gum and walking with that funny gait.

He gives a two finger salute to the watching fans, in character, who have now grown into a decent throng for this small town of North Bend.

Tourists who've come for a piece of the famous cherry pie were disappointed to find the diner closed - including a couple from Tokyo, and another couple from the Netherlands, who are excitedly taking photos outside. They're elated when the crew bring out an entire pie on learning its one of their birthdays.

Roslyn's Cafe mural from Northern Exposure.
Kylie McLaughlin

Roslyn's Cafe mural from Northern Exposure.

An excited onlooker asks our driver, dressed in a suit, if he is David Lynch. Another woman, a retired local and devout fan, has been watching the crew's every move and knew more about the whereabouts of the sets than anyone else . "My friend told me they went into a trailer park down the street a few days ago and asked if they could film on the 19th and 20th, she says excitedly. "So I guess that is where I'll be on those days!"

A local mother and son boast to have met David Lynch four times when he comes out for cigarettes, and assures us he's really friendly.

Finally the diner's windows open and everyone gets to look inside. A sign is propped up on the window reading "YES - we are OPEN."

The more friendly but guarded security crew point out David Lynch, who's sitting in a corner in the RR, chain smoking cigarettes - indoors now, I observe.

The writer travelled as a guest of Visit Seattle

TRIP NOTES

Just one week later, the RR reverted back to ​Twede's, the town of North Bend as it was. For now. You can stop by anytime for a cup of its damn fine coffee and cherry pie. twedescafe.com

A few hours north will take you to the town of Roslyn, also known as Cicely, Alaska - setting of another cult TV show Northern Exposure. Not only is Roslyn fun town worth a visit, most of the show's set has been retained on its main street.

Getting there

North Bend is an hour out of Seattle, and you can pick up a hire car from Seattle Tacoma Airport. Alamo.com

Staying there

Don't miss the Salish Lodge, overlooking the Snoqualmie Falls. The Salish provides maps to visitors looking to find Twin Peaks sites; salishlodge.com.

Eating there

Fall City Roadhouse has a great restaurant and you can stay here too; fcroadhouse.com

Traveller.com.au

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