Forks Week: A Tour of Forks with Twilight Tours

When you think of Forks, WA, assuming you know what a very small and relatively uneventful town it is, the first activity that comes to mind is probably not a paid tour.  What can there possibly be to tour? you might ask.  I decided to give it a go and see what all the fuss was about.  Having seen the Twilight Tours In Forks company on the Twilight In Forks documentary, and after hearing first-hand from some friends what a great experience it was, I signed up my sweetie and me for an afternoon tour and dragged him reluctantly along (with him emphatically announcing to everyone we passed that he was “Team Switzerland”).  Surprisingly, Twilight Tours (originally owned by the Dazzled By Twilight store), is not the only tour company in the tiny town, although it is the original.  Team Forks, affiliated with Lapelles Flowers & Gifts, runs a very similar tour, with a slightly higher admission fee.  You can browse online for other opinions on the two companies, but since I didn’t take the Team Forks tour, I can only tell you about Twilight Tours, so read on to hear about my adventure in Forks and La Push!

***** Note: This post is not an advertisement for Twilight Tours, Team Forks, Dazzled By Twilight, Lapelles, or the Quilute Nation, and reflects only the personal views and opinions of the reviewer.  No monetary gain is made (nor intended to be made) from this posting. ***** 

An introduction worthy of fanfare!

A little backstory (get comfy, this is going to be a long post!)…
My friends Monique and Lexi took a trip to Forks in early May and signed up for the “Breaking Dawn” tour.  Don’t be confused by the different tour names – they all see the same thing, just at different times of the day.  Being from Texas, it was (supposedly) no big deal for Monique and Lexi to be up so early (mmhmm), but it turns out they were the only ones crazy enough to book the tour for the 8am time slot.  When Twilight Tours contacted them to see if they’d like to reschedule to a more populated tour time, explaining that more participants usually makes for a more lively experience, they decided to stick with their ridiculously early break of dawn (har har) departure time.  They wanted to do a little something special for their tour guide, knowing he was probably not too jazzed about doing a 2 person 8am tour, so they found out his name and made “Team Travis” shirts the night before.  If you’ve seen the Twilight in Forks documentary, Travis is the guide featured in all the tour segments, and he’s impressively good-natured and witty for a guy who drives the exact same route 20 times a week.  Apparently they all had a blast on their “VIP” tour, so when I found out that my husband and I were also the only two people scheduled on Travis’s tour that day, I thought it’d be fun to keep the tradition going.  Instead of shirts, we made “Team Travis” buttons, and presented him with a “Team Austin Twilighters” hat (our meetup group in Austin, TX), which he proudly wore the entire tour…
(Click on any picture to open it full-size in a new window)
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*Queue energizing fanfare music here*
The tour starts out with a drive around the tiny metropolis of Forks, stopping at notable spots in the town itself, focusing on movie-related locations such as Forks High School, the hospital, and the police station, followed by a visit to the Chamber of Commerce, where tourists can sign the guest book, push their location pin into one of the maps adorning the twilight-themed walls, or pose with one of Bella’s trucks or cutouts of your favorite characters (including Alice!).  The bus then ventures out into the residential areas of town to pause for pictures with the various houses that have been designated as official.  Before you get too excited about visiting actual filming locations, I’m told that not a single frame of the movies was shot in Forks, and the houses were chosen based on their similarity to descriptions written by Stephanie Meyer in the books.  If you are a movie fan, very little of this tour is going to feel familiar to you.  Go ahead and feel a little disappointed, then shake it off and let yourself experience something new!  Here are a few of the Forks sites you’ll get to visit…

From there, it’s on to La Push!  As you’re zipping around in the tour bus, Travis fills the time by quizzing fans with some surprisingly tough Twilight trivia (beef up on The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide before you go!) and playing movie-appropriate theme music as you approach the various locations.  He’s also a student of the Quiluite language and traditions, and teaches you various words and phrases in the native language (pay particular attention to the word for “chipmunk”).  As you enter Quilute territory, of course the first stop is at the Treaty Line, complete with a “Vampire Threat” meter.  The tour then continues on toward the Black house before stopping at one of the breath-taking rugged beaches.

Arnold, our driver for the outing, is a member of the Quilute tribe.  He good-naturedly corrected Travis’s pronunciations (few and far between as those mistakes were), and shared his own insight into the Quilute customs and way of life.  The Quilutes are a private people, so Arnold was careful not to over-share, but his family anecdotes and tidbits of information about various La Push landmarks and activities were insightful and enjoyable, and really added an extra dimension to the experience.  One of the things passed on by Arnold during our tour that interested me the most is that the Quilutes open up some of their traditional activities up to travellers.  On Wednesdays at around 5:30, the Community Center in La Push opens for a comminity-wide pot luck meal, followed by drum circle (complete with tales!) and dancing.  Drum circle starts between 6:00 and 7:00 and there’s no fee to eat or dance, but it would be good form to bring your own dish to contribute to the pot luck if you intend to partake of the food.  There are additional activities you may be able to attend during other parts of the year, so ask your tour guide and driver for the most up-to-date info!

The tour typically lasts between 2.5 and 3 hours, arriving back at the Twilight Tours store for a final shopping stop.  Inside the tour depot, you can find a decent selection of shirts, hats, pins, magnets, stickers, and other collectible souvenirs.  I recommend taking the tour as early as possible in the day, then spending the afternoon strolling the streets of Forks and doing some serious souvenir-ing… but hey, I’m a shopper and I love acquiring new shineys! .

Twilight Tours gives back

This summer, Twilight Tours In Forks will be doing four separate surprise donation tours.  This won’t impact tour attendees, and you probably won’t see much of a change in the program aside from an announcement that you are on one of these special tours, but the benefit to the town will be notable.  Travis says all the proceeds from these tours, including admission fees, will go toward previously selected charities or causes around the Forks and La Push areas.  Those local businesses and groups wishing to be considered as recipients for the donation tours will submit their entries to Twilight Tours, then a name will be drawn randomly.  Twilight Tours will spontaneously choose the highest-attendance tours in order to raise as much money as possible.  Imagine stepping on the bus for your fangirl time, only to learn you’re secretly funding a local charity!  Very exciting, and an admirable gesture by Twilight Tours.

Twilight Tours In Forks circulates a monthly newsletter called “What Happens in Forks…”, giving readers insight into current happenings in and around town, as well as special coverage of Stephanie Meyer day.  They also distribute Quilute Word on Wednesdays (QWoW), a weekly email containing a single English word followed by its closest Quilute translation.  25% of all subscription fees collected from the newsletter and QWoW will be donated to the Quilute Nation in an effort to help them retain their traditions and heritage.  I’ve been subscribed to QWoW since I discovered it, inspired by the beautiful words Jacob spoke to Bella at the end of the movie New Moon, and Twilight Tours has graciously agreed to allow me to publish one of their words each month for free.  Keep an eye out for the first one, scheduled tentatively for next week!  Don’t wait for me though – head over to the Twilight Tours website and sign yourself up for the newsletter, QWoW, or a combination of the two, and get your own slice of Forks delivered directly to your inbox!

For my guide on where to eat, shop, and explore in Forks (as well as pick up some awesome souvenirs!), check out yesterday’s post!

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About DaVinciKittie

Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2011 and has won several blogging & reviewing awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com. Find Sue online at: DaVinciKittie.com @DaVinciKittie Gravetells.com @GraveTells GraveTells on FB View all posts by DaVinciKittie

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