Cicely, Alaska A.K.A. Roslyn

I’m not a big TV watcher, but there are a couple of shows I really loved. One of these is Northern Exposure. It ran from 1990 to 1995. Northern Exposure was about a small town in Cicely, Alaska. The series was actually filmed in Roslyn, Washington. This small town has also been used as the set for The Runner Stumbles and TheMan in the High Castle.

Walk down the Main Street, which Roslyn has named Pennsylvania Avenue, and it won’t take you long to find Dr. Flieschman’s office, Roslyn Cafe, The Brick, Village Pizza, and so many other familiar places.

While in Roslyn you have to visit the Brick. It’s the oldest continuously operating Tavern in Washington State. It’s been in business since 1889.

The Brick brings back great memories of Halling and Shelly the beloved characters that ran the bar. It’s truly a unique bar. It features an antique spittoon that’s basically a trough that runs below the bar. During the early years when coal mining was the number one industry, coal miners could spit their chaw into the spittoon and the water would whisk it away.

The spittoon is now mostly used for spittoon racing. The patrons make little boats and race them in the 23 foot trough. The boats can be made of paper, plastic, wood, or wax. Depending on the class of vessel they can weigh up to 1 to 1.5 ounces.

Northern Exposure was about the things that make us a community. The small things that are special and unique to your community. It’s the things that outsiders sometimes don’t understand at first, but come to love. It’s not just the corky events like Snohomish’s pumpkin catapults or Cicely’s cow fling. It’s the things like knowing who needs a helping hand, a special note, a shoulder, or a kind word. Life in a small town is often about the diverse and sometimes eccentric details. “It’s not about what you fling, it’s all about the fling.” Said the great Cicely philosopher, Chris Stevens.

Living in a small town is an experience to cherish.


“Well, you know the way I see it, if you’re here for four more years or four more weeks, you’re here right now. You know, and I think when you’re somewhere you ought to be there, and because it’s not about how long you stay in a place. It’s about what you do while you’re there, and when you go is that place any better for you having been there?” – Chris Stevens, Disc Jockey for KBHR in Cicely

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