Posted by Kimberly Lindbergs on July 30, 2015
My better half and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary by taking a leisurely road trip through the Sonoma backwoods and along the California Coast. On our return, we decided to make a stop in Bodega Bay where Alfred Hitchcock shot THE BIRDS (1963). I’ve spent time in Bodega before and it is one of the loveliest little coastal towns in Sonoma. It’s also extremely proud of its association with one of Hitchcock’s best and most celebrated films. While I was there I wandered along the wharf, visited some filming locations and spent time at the Hitchcock museum located inside the Bodega Country Store. The trip was a lot of fun and I snapped many pictures while I was there so I thought I would share my adventure in Bodega Bay with TCM’s blog readers.
The drive from Sonoma State Park into Bodega is particularly stunning. The coast offers some amazing views of the Pacific Ocean lined with enormous rocks, including the impressive Mammoth Rocks that were once used by prehistoric mammoths as backscratchers while they were making their annual migration down the coast. Once you reach Bodega, you soon realize that the sleepy little town is much smaller then Hitchcock envisioned in THE BIRDS. In fact, much of the film was shot in a studio and many of the outdoor locations were shot outside of Bodega in other Sonoma towns such as Bloomfield and Petaluma. But Bodega Bay and the surrounding area of Bodega have embraced their association with Hitchcock’s film to such an extent that you get a real sense of what it must have been like for the cast and crew to make the movie here.
Our first stop was the town of Bodega itself, which is located about 6 miles inland. While there, we visited the James E Potter Elementary School otherwise known as “Potter Schoolhouse” where one of the film’s most climactic scenes takes place. We also saw the charming St. Teresa of Avila church, which was also featured in the film and was regularly attended by Hitchcock while he was filming here. Located nearby is the Casino Bar where the cast and crew of THE BIRDS often ate meals or grabbed a drink after shooting.
While in Bodega we also made time to visit the Bodega Country Store that houses the small but fascinating and very friendly Hitchcock Museum. Inside we found lots of film memorabilia from THE BIRDS including autographed photos from the cast and various items associated with Hitchcock. There’s also lots of kitschy goodness to be found including an Alfred Hitchcock mannequin outside that greets visitors and a Tippi Hedren mannequin inside covered in bats (?) that are supposed to resemble birds (I think?). You can also purchase BIRDS related tourist goods there including postcards, t-shirts and mugs.
The Bodega County Store & Hitchcock Museum
On our way out of town we explored the wharf where the Tides Restaurant is located. The Tides played an important part in THE BIRDS but today the location is very different and the restaurant is much larger. Inside you can find a gift shop as well as a thriving fish market. This is also where Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) hired a boat and set off across Bodega Bay to reconnect with Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) and deliver lovebirds to his daughter Cathy (Veronica Cartwright).
Top: The Tides restaurant in the film & today.
Strangely enough, I didn’t see many birds while I was is in Bodega Bay but while I was strolling on the wharf I did come across this curious gull. I must confess that when he looked at me a little oddly, I knew it was time to head home!
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