A Tour 30 Years in the Making
A Tour 30 Years in the Making

A Tour 30 Years in the Making

Since my first time watching Fire Walk With Me over 30 years ago, I had always wanted to visit the famous Palmer House. Over the years, I had visited many of the locations both in California and Washington. The Palmer Home however despite it being in my top 5 was always one that alluded me. I knew it was a private residence and was always a bit skittish around what the owners might think. Imagine, some obsessed fanboy creeping around your front lawn! It didn’t seem like it was such a good idea. So when I had heard that the new owner was open to doing private tours, I knew the time had come to finally make it happen and wow, was I glad I did.

Mary Reber, as many know, owns the Palmer House and is an absolute sweetheart. I reached out to her on Twitter a few months before my trip and arranged a tour. When I arrived I spotted her car with custom license plate. Seeing this, I knew I was in for an amazing time.

As I walked up those iconic steps, I was transported to another world. It was absolutely so surreal. It was as if my 17-year old self who had been dormant all these years had suddenly burst out and was placed in a sort of dream world. Was I really doing this, walking up those stairs to THE Palmer house? How did I get here? Seriously! I recall driving to the location, but this was something I honestly never thought I would ever be doing. Especially at the ripe old age of 47! As I looked to my right I noticed the bush. Oh my god, is that the bush that Laura ran over to hide under? Am I fanboying out? Affirmative. So many feelings hitting all at once. I keep walking. I was 20 minutes late due to issues with my Uber driver getting me to my rental (another story for another time…) and as I approached the door, Mary opens it and her first words were “Don’t you know that the Tremonds don’t appreciate those who show up late?!” She busted out laughing as did I and graciously invited me inside.

The first thing I noticed was the fireplace mantle. Mary also had a portrait of Laura Palmer framed and displayed on the end table. Immediately it was as if I was could see Laura and Donna standing right in front of me and hear them discussing Fred and Ginger.

Over the course of the next hour, Mary shared many great stories about the history of the home and the filming that had taken place for the Return. The most interesting things she shared was how many of the fans who have visited brought her some very unique gifts. Fan have given Mary everything from paintings and sketches to legos or handmade dolls of her character. Mary has these very unique pieces displayed proudly around her home.

It is clear how much Mary’s generosity of opening up her home has meant to us fans and a testament to what a kind person Mary is for continuing to do so. The next thing that Mary shared was the famous Sarah Palmer staircase.

Again, it was thrilling to see it and be in the same place where Laura sat and looked up at the fan or where Leland flicked the light switch.

The finale was a tour of Laura’s room. Mary pointed out the window that Laura would have often looked out of. It was interesting to think about this. Lauras window has a direct view to Puget Sound.

Puget Sound is an inlet off the Pacific Ocean which features a system of interconnected marine waterways and basins. You can often hear foghorns from ships as they pass by. It made me recall the scene in FWWM where Leland tells Laura that he loves her. During that scene we hear the track ”Distant Train” and while I was in Laura’s room, looking out the window, I imagined the sound of a lonesome foghorn coming from Puget Sound which could have doubled for what we hear in the film – as a real world sound at that moment coming from the sea calling to Laura. 😂 Yup, I’m a nerd and proud of it.

All in all it was an amazing experience and I hope to visit again one of these days. For more information on Mary and the history of the home, be sure to check out the awesome documentary from Take the Ring below.

I would highly recommend anyone wanting to visit the Palmer Home to reach out to Mary. Be respectful and treat her right as she is a treasure. If you are interested in requesting a tour you can reach out to Mary on Twitter or Instagram.