“Twilight” Tour of the Columbia Gorge
It was a moody afternoon and I was racking my brain trying to figure out what to do with my ‘tween’ Little Sister Sarah from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. She had the school afternoon off, and I was struggling with something fun that would be of interest to someone who was sixteen that wouldn’t be totally lame in a teenager’s eyes.
On a whim, I decided to take her for a drive out the Columbia River Gorge just to ‘get out of town’ and we could catch up. Incredibly, she has lived in Portland her whole life and has never been to this amazing place before, so she was game. I decided to do the “Cook’s Tour” and throw in something that would undoubtedly pique her interest.
The first photo stop we managed was outside of the town of Corbett, at the Portland Women’s Forum State Park, which offers a majestic overlook of an amazing panorama including the nearby Vista House. Sarah seemed pretty impressed with the view, and started snapping photos with her camera phone. We looked across the expanse and I reminded her that this was one of the views that were featured in the recent hit movie, “Twilight.”
Next, we moved to the historic View Point Inn, which was where”Twilight” cast and crew filmed the prom night scene. Her excitement level increased, and Sarah began even more furiously taking pictures. I had brought my camera along too, and took additional photos. As we were walking around the exterior, a friendly lady beckoned to us. “Come on in,” she said, beckoning. I was a little reluctant because I didn’t want to interfere with the business operations of the place, but it was pretty quiet on a Monday afternoon, so we stepped inside. Just inside the doorway, the gift shop was literally overflowing with movie paraphernalia and “Twilight” keepsakes. The woman was very informative, and encouraged us to take a peek into the dining room, which at the moment had just experienced re-varnishing of the wood floors, but otherwise was the set where the movie took place. Sarah was somewhat star-struck.
Fortunately, the View Point Inn representative had seen this before, and even offered to take us upstairs into the lodging area to show the rooms. We got a wonderful first-hand tour of the rest of the Inn, and she also showed us the window from the movie where the villain “Victoria” stood looking out towards the movie hero and heroine in the last scene. The owners of the Inn had decided to leave the window dressing the exact same way as it was during the movie, which I am sure that some “Twilight” buffs would appreciate.
After perusing the gift shop wares, and Sarah giggling gleefully that this little tour of ours would make her sister completely envious, we moved on through the Columbia Gorge. A number of stops took us to some of the big waterfalls that beg for photographs to be taken, and finally, Sarah looked at me sheepishly and told me she had run out of memory space on her camera phone because of all of the photos she had taken. I knew then that she had had a great time and enjoyed herself!
If you are interested in seeing some of the other Oregon locations for the movie, here are some tips:
For the surfing scenes for the movie, the movie crew moved to Indian Beach at the Ecola State Park on the Oregon Coast. The vampire-attack scene was shot at the Blue Heron Paper Company near Willamette Falls in Oregon City, while the school field trip to a greenhouse was filmed at the greenhouses found at Clackamas Community College, also in Oregon City. To see Charlie and Bella’s house, you’ll have to travel to St. Helens, where you might also recognize the historic part of the city, which doubled for Port Angeles for the shopping scene, including the Italian restaurant where Edward and Bella have dinner together.
As a side note, I live in Portland, and in spring 2008 my husband and I had noticed that nearby Madison High School had been taken over by movie trucks and trailers. Since I was the neighborhood newsletter editor, I wandered over to get the ‘scoop’ on what flick was being filmed there. I was told it was some kind of “teenage vampire movie’ and the actors (at the time) were no giant superstars. Several of them were wandering through the parking lot between takes and I couldn’t recognize a single face. Little did I know that would change! As best as I could tell, the main scenes in the movie that were filmed literally three streets away from my house were the cafeteria and the biology lab scene.
Amazing to have a little slice of Hollywood right near my house!
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