It’s one of those places that “it’s worth it the journey”, in the full meaning of the expression.
And they are by rights in the top ten of what to see in Northern California, above all if you are going to explore the north to be swallowed up by fairytale views dropping straight to the sea, discover unexpected Redwoods forests and enjoy the savors and the smells of the sweet and luxuriant hills of the Sonoma County.
Try to think about an authentic fishermen village swallowed up by the Pacific fog.
A simple story on the background.
A school, a church, a restaurant on the harbor, a small local community and a giant flight of crazy birds. Then screams, panic and finally silence.
What am I talking about?
Alfred Hitchcock and his masterpiece “The Birds” and Bodega Bay, the location where the movie was set and where many of its cult scenes were shot.
“… and remember, the next scream you hear could be your own!”
(Alfred Hitchcock – “The Birds” tagline, 1963)
What to see in Northern California: Bodega Bay, travel’s inspirations
Bodega Bay keeps jealously the locations which made it famous and that still today attract tourists, onlookers and lovers from all over the world.
Visit it means to set out on a downright journey back in time.
Enjoy the welcome and some among the most suggestive views of the Pacific Ocean this amazing stretch of the coast is able to give and at the same time relive the most famous scenes of the movie, also through the words and the tales of the locals.
You will run into the school and the road of the dramatic scene of the kids’ desperate run outside the school to escape the attack of murderous bird’ flight, the church on the hill, the grocery store, the call box where the female protagonist recovers, the restaurant where some important sequences of the movie take place and the area where the house on the hills of the bay was located (do you remember the last scene, don’t you?)
Everything together with quite a lot of curious issues about shootings, director, locations and its actors.
Down here there is the detailed report, the precise addresses and info to be able to visit all “The Birds” locations with a few useful tips for the stay in Bodega Bay, tastings and relax included.
What to see in Northern California: “The Birds” locations in Bodega
Bodega is a small town – little over a crossroads actually – located on the hills about 7km far from the coast and Bodega Bay.
Coming from the Santa Rosa area, the heart of the Sonoma County, you run into it following first the Hwy 12 and then reaching the 17110, Bodega Hwy.
Here there are the old Potter School, the St. Teresa of Avila Church and the Grocery Store – next to it there’s the call box where Tippi Hedren recovers in a dramatic sequence – used by Hitchcock as the set of many movies’ sequences.
What to see in Northern California: Bodega Bay
Bodega Bay, literally a paradise on the earth, is crossed by the suggestive Route 1 towards San Francisco, about 100km southwards.
A bay – and natural habitat included in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary – protected by the rocky and indented Pacific coastline, a quay separating it from the small harbor of fishing boats and boats for the excursions and all around nice typical buildings on the hills.
The Tides Restaurant – where some sequences of “The Birds” were shot – is still there at 835, Bay Hwy.
After have been damaged by a fire at the end of the 1960s, it was rebuilt a few dozen meters ahead, directly on the bay.
Today is a part of a tourist facility including a market with local products, a picturesque fishing market (with factory), a souvenir store and the suggestive Inn at The Tides beyond the road, the ideal place for a stay among suggestions and relax in Bodega Bay.
The whole area was purchased by the Italian-American Robert Bugatto directly from the first owner Mitch Zankich and turned into one among the most appreciate places by tourists and visitors.
Today the facility is run by The Galazzos, guardian of traditions and history of the facility, Bodega Bay and the movie.
And it’s right thanks to Marco and Christian Galazzo, their helpfulness for dedicating to me some time and the welcome received that I had time to find out really many anecdotes and curious stories tied to Hitchcock’s presence, “The Birds” and the protagonists of the movie.
What to see in Northern California: Bodega Bay, anecdotes and tales about “The Birds”
Did you know the location was personally chosen by Hitchcock?
It seems the director visited Bodega Bay for the first time during a rainy and foggy day considering it simply perfect for what he had in his mind. But when the shooting began it was sunny and a clear sky so he was forced to use some special effects to “reconstruct” that gloomy and dull atmosphere he was inspired by at the beginning.
Christian tells me the female protagonist Tippi Hedren every year comes back here in the days near Labour Day to meet her fans (it looks like they are still really many coming from all over the world).
Adding that many of the extras and the secondary roles were inspired by locals and that the old owner of the restaurant where several scenes were shot wanted to appear in the movie, to name the male protagonist after himself – Mitch – and to make repeat more time in the movie the name of the small town and its restaurant to increase publicity, in fact giving it a success and a fame that lasts still today.
Ah, I forgot.
It exist really the birds in Bodega Bay. Really many. You will sight them everywhere, you’ll hear them everywhere.
They will glide on your heads, like in the movie. And you cannot help to feel a shudder… a Hitchcock shudder!
What to see in Northern California: cues and tips for the stay in Bodega Bay
My tip is to stop at least one night.
So you can visit all the locations quoted calmly, exploring the neighboring area and enjoy – maybe talking to the very kind owners Marco and Christian about the movie and Bodega Bay – a savory and relaxing seafood and local specialties dinner right at The Tides’.
As I was writing above, the perfect place to stay is right the Inn at the Tides, a suggestive building with rooms and suites – many of them with a view of the bay – swallowed up by green, with swimming pool and Spa where events, theme dinners and special wine and local products tastings are organized.
Don’t forget we are a stone’s throw from the heart of Sonoma County.