In 1961, Alfred Hitchcock was looking for a coastal location for his next film. He was looking for a remote area, free of interference from trees and mountains, giving him open and clear shots of sky. Bodega and Bodega Bay fit the bill, and almost three years later, the thriller The Birds was released. Still standing today is the original schoolhouse in which Tippie Hedren and the schoolchildren took refuge, then tried to flee from the gulls and flocks of ravens. The ancient Potter School was condemned before the filming, so film crews shored it up. Over the years, the school has been used as a bed and breakfast, but is now a private residence, so please respect the owner’s privacy.
Next door to the schoolhouse was the schoolteacher’s house, but that was a facade built by the film crew, and is no longer there. A glimpse of the Bodega Catholic Church was seen in the film, which still exists. Some other structures burned down in the late 60s, but the serene countryside and the roads traveled are quite recognizable.
Shown in one of the opening scenes, Bay Hill Road can be found entering Hwy 1, both north and south of town. At the north end, drive up about a mile, safely turn around and look at the scene that was filmed over 40 years ago.
Remember the gas station that blew up? That was the Tides Restaurant and parking lot, used for the gas station, cafe and boat dock scenes. The gas station was actually blown up on a studio lot. The Tides complex which has been expanded and remodeled several times since then is now the Tides Wharf Restaurant, serving local seafood specialties with panoramic views of the bay.
The Visitor Center in Bodega Bay receives thousands of Hitchcock fans every year, looking for a glimpse of scenery from the film. •visitbodegabayca.com