Remember "Northern Exposure"--the TV show that ran in the early 1990's? If you're as old as I am (41) you probably do. I used to watch the show now and again back when it originally aired, but I've had even more fun watching on DVD now that it's available that way.
I had the opportunity to drive to Roslyn, Washington with my folks last week--while taking a few vacation days off work after Labor Day. We figured it would be fun to see the setting first-hand and maybe even track down some of the buildings and locations where filming took place.
The Northern Exposure story was set in Cicely, Alaska but was filmed in and around Roslyn, in central Washington state. It revolved around a young doctor from New York City--Joel Fleischman, played by Rob Morrow (now the star of CBS's "Numb3rs" drama)--just out of school, contractually obligated to serve as the doctor in a small and quirky town in southern Alaska.
One of the show's more interesting characters, Chris Stevens, broadcast an eclectic mix of music and philosophy over the local AM radio airwaves. The KBHR studio (along the main street through town, just as it appears on the show) has been left with props intact--vinyl records, books, a microphone. The town seems to welcome visitors' interest in the 17-year-old TV show once filmed there.
Across the street from Chris's radio station is The Brick, a local eatery and pub run by Holling Vincoeur and girlfriend Shelly in the show. It's more a pub than an eatery in real life--the interior shots must've been filmed elsewhere.
Life in the real Roslyn, Washington originally revolved around coal mining in the late 1800's and early 1900's. It's estimated that a majority of the coal being mined back then remains underground, untapped. That which was removed rolled through tunnels on small trains like the one in the picture below.
The trip was a lot of fun. We made a large round-trip loop that involved the Columbia River Gorge and up into central Washington in the morning, then over the Cascade mountains through Snoqualmie Pass in the late afternoon, eventually to I-5 near Everett and south to Portland again.
If you're interested in the show, just google "northern exposure" for fan sites and Wikipedia articles. Make plans now: there's a 20-year reunion already in the works, with some of the cast planning to be in attendance!
UPDATE (11:35am Sept. 15, 2007):
Found the Northern Exposure intro on YouTube--interesting to compare with the photos I took and the town of Roslyn as I saw it. My folks and I enjoyed some great pizza and garlic cheese bread at the Village Pizza (seen in the intro below). The rustic building, terrific pizza and warm, friendly staff made it the perfect addition to our day in Alaska...er...Roslyn!
"Meandering ruminations, shared for the benefit of those who probably need to get out more."
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