Bodega Bay Pictures
Bodega - Porter School House from Hitchcock's movie The Birds.
School house form Hitchcock's movie The Birds.
Bodega, CA - Church from the movie The Birds, Bodega, CA.
Church from the movie The Birds, Bodega, CA.
If all you know of Bodega Bay is what you’ve seen in Hitchcock’s classic movie “The Birds,” don’t worry. It is not a bad place to start and all these years later, fingerprints of the 1963 film are everywhere, most notably at The Tides Wharf & Restaurant, where star Tippi Hedren still stops by now and then to chat with fans and sign photographs and at Potter School House, now a gift shop and museum, in the nearby town of Bodega. The gazebo used in the movie is in the beautiful Compass Rose Gardens; owner Donna Cook was an extra in the film when she was a teenager and when the opportunity arose she added the gazebo to the extraordinary gardens she created in a narrow canyon on the north edge of the bay.
Although there has been considerable development since 1963, the town itself has retained its small fishing village character thanks to wise land-use regulations and dedicated locals, even as the fishing industry itself has declined. One of the most beautiful natural attractions, Bodega Head, with its windswept coast trail and extraordinary views of the Pacific, was preserved by protesters in the late 1960s who thwarted plans to construct a nuclear power plant. Considering the proximity of San Andreas Fault, which passes directly under Bodega Bay, it was a worthy fight.
Although there are year-round attractions in Bodega Bay, one of the best kept secrets is the pleasing weather in spring and fall. Summers can be foggy and windy but April and October are often spectacular, even when it is cool inland.
Restaurants in Bodega Bay must appeal to locals to survive, as tourism declines sharply in the winter. There are some notable treasures here, including the Terrapin Creek Cafe, which took over the space of the beloved Seaweed Cafe when it closed.
Visitors should not miss Spud Point Crab Company, where a line of hungry diners, eager for Carol Anello’s famous clam chowder and crab cakes, often snakes out the door. The restaurant is across the street from where the family’s boat, the Annabelle, is docked when not at sea for Dungeness crab and wild Pacific king salmon. If you time your visit right, you can enjoy a free half-hour tour of the nearby University of California Bodega Marine Lab, offered on Friday afternoons from 2 to 4 p.m.
While visiting, be sure to make the six mile drive to the town of Bodega for a drink, a game of pool or a home-style meal at The Casino (which is not a casino, but a neighborhood bar). If you’re lucky, the tiny theater in the back of the building will be hosting a performance. The theater, with about 36 velvet seats, a director’s booth and a large stage is a treasure and one of the few places in all of Sonoma County where you can watch a production with a drink in your hand.