Sunday morning we made an impromptu trip to Roslyn, Washington. Roslyn is a – let’s say- quaint former logging and coal mining town in the Cascade Mountains with a population of about 800. A ninety minute drive from Seattle, the real draw of this little town was the fact that it served as the set for the television show Northern Exposure. A fake Cicely, Alaska, the entire town is really just a few buildings that have seen better days.
Leaving Seattle, we stopped somewhere near Issaquah for some breakfast at an IHOP.
After eating too much food, we continued on our way through the mountains. Its really funny to me how much snow there was so close to Seattle. If you stay in the city I guess you just kind of never think about it but as soon as you hit the mountains, its a whole different story.
As we entered Roslyn, we immediately noticed the Roslyn Cafe sign that is featured in the Northern Exposure opening. However, somehow, they made it Roslyn’s Cafe for the show. As we parked the car and hopped out, the surreal-ness of the place began to set in. There were locals walking by and greeting each other by their first names and it became very apparent that everyone here knew everyone else and we stood out.
We walked across the street and entered a gift shop which I later learned served as the Dr.’s office in the television show. Browsing through the strangest collection of stuff known to man… food items, $125 fake Prada purses, and VHS ballet tapes… I was the only one brave enough to make a purchase. I bought two postcards that were exact replicas of the pictures I had taken minutes earlier.
We left the gift shop and walked next door to The Brick. This appears to be the place to be in town. Not only because its the only place in town but this tavern seems to be the only part of town with any life to it. We grab a table and sit down in amazement as we took the place in.
The Brick is the oldest tavern in the state of Washington that has held the same name – or something like that. The place is old, and burly with wooden floors so dirty its reminiscent of a building before flooring became a good idea. There’s a large ornate bar and some old wooden tables throughout. The place is huge with high ceilings and typical bar food.
As we sat and observed, I noticed that along the bottom of the bar there was a real, working spittoon. Within minutes I witnessed a strange man and woman throwing something in one end of the spittoon and then walking down to the other end to retrieve it. This concept seemed quite disgusting to us and it didn’t take long for the man to notice our stares of disbelief when he came over to us and explained that they have an annual spittoon regatta where people make little boats and race them down the spittoon to win money every year.
As amazing and interesting as this guy was, the time came for us to head back to the city before someone told us that we were city folk. Maybe we’ll go back for the Manly Man Festival or Moose Days.