Plenty to explore at the coastal home of “The Birds”
BY ANGELINA MARTIN
When travel enthusiasts envision the Sonoma Coast, they most likely think of wine and sprawling vineyards. But, nestled away into a corner of the shore just 68 miles north of San Francisco is a quaint fishing town that visitors may not be familiar with – Bodega Bay.
While some have never heard of the seaside village, they have probably seen it on the silver screen. Bodega Bay served as the backdrop for Alfred Hitchcock’s terrifying classic “The Birds,” where he transformed the beautiful scenery into something of nightmares. Rest assured, though, that there is nothing frightening about Bodega Bay.
With its sprawling, green coastal cliffs and secluded beaches, Bodega Bay is famous for its fishing and effortless beauty, with its most prominent feature being Bodega Head. This peninsula is comprised of steep, rocky bluffs and sandy dunes, creating a breathtaking vista to which visitors flock for photos. From Bodega Head, it’s easy to see the whale migrations that take place from January to May. Bodega Head is noted widely as the number one spot in Sonoma County to see gray whales make their way south, as this is the point where they tend to come closest to the shore.
Doran Park, a strip of beach formed by the currents of Bodega Bay, attracts surfers, body boarders, swimmers and sun bathers of all ages, and the harbor which it leads to serves as the perfect spot for crabbing and fishing. Horse lovers can also hop in the saddle and take a riding tour along one of the beach’s many horseback trails.
The small town of Bodega Bay is home to gift shops, like Candy and Kites and Harbor View Gifts and Goodies, but has little in the way of grocery stores. Locals, and those who travel there often, are familiar with Diekmann’s Bay Store, which has served the community for over 70 years.
For those who are movie buffs, the town still has several of the buildings where Hitchcock’s fictional characters sought refuge from the sparrows, gulls and crows that wreaked havoc on the village, like the 150-year-old Potter School just south of the bay. Today, it is a private residence and is sometimes open for tours. Many of the shots that showed children running from the schoolhouse in the film were done on Taylor Street, which is just above Diekmann’s. The bay store is visible in several scenes, and various other restaurant scenes, portions of the gas station fire and the boat dock scenes were shot at the Tides Wharf and Restaurant, where visitors can still enjoy a cup of clam chowder today, though some remodeling has been done.
While there is plenty to do in Bodega Bay, it’s also a spot where travelers can go to relax. There are three different spas in the area (Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, Applewood Spa and Bodega Bay Lodge) where visitors can treat themselves to a massage, facial or both. And would it be the Sonoma Coast if there wasn’t any wine? Gourmet au Bay has over 200 award-winning wines to choose from, where guests can sip on a glass while seated on a deck overlooking the bay – the only waterside wine-tasting experience on the coast.
Of course, though there are many fun things that the Bodega Bay community provides for its visitors, the best adventures in Bodega are created. So, bring your bikes, your hiking shoes, your boats and kayaks, your fishing poles and your binoculars and make the best of your stay. Take your fishing gear out to the dock and see what you can reel in, or head out into the area’s famous cedar forests and go bird watching. Throw a crab pot off the pier, and you may be able to make your own dinner for the night. No matter what you decide to do, one thing’s for sure: Bodega Bay’s beauty makes the trip alone worth it.