This is in addition to my tip warning of the dangers of the Sonoma Coast.
Bodega Bay is near many picturesque rocky coves and headlands, and beautiful beaches, both small, rocky one and long, sandy ones. However, the Sonoma Coast, while scenic and enjoyable, is also dangerous. Aside from the cold water (and usually weather), and the presence of great white sharks (not much of a threat under normal circumstances), the coast is known for strong undertoes and powerful sleeper waves that pull the unwary into the ocean, tumbling them on the bottom, which drops off sharply in many places, or dashing them on craggy rocks.
- National/State Park
"The Birds" Sightseeing
Alfred Hitchcock's film "The Birds" was mostly set and filmed in Bodega Bay and its vicinity. Much of the town was a film creation, though, so it does not really like the way it did in the movie, and part of what was portrayed as "Bodega Bay" really included other nearby locations, notably the hamlet of Bodega, just a few miles inland from Bodega Bay itself.
In any case, one can visit the area and see several prominent sites, such as the Tides and street/bay scenes in Bodega Bay and the old schoolhouse, which is actually in Bodega. The schoolhouse is now a private home but you can see the outside.
- Arts and Culture
There are many campsites located in the Sonoma Coast State Beach near Bodega Bay and up along the coast of the county. These are part of the California State Parks system. Some, like Wright's beach, are right on the beach while others (such as Bodega Dunes) are near the beach. They have facilities like bathrooms, etc., and are great places for hanging out on the beach and exploring the area, hiking, etc.
The websites below include the California State Parks website for the Sonoma Coast, which includes various beaches and campsites. The other site is a place to make reservations for camping on the Sonoma Coast.
- Family Travel
Bodega Bay Sailing
With Bodega Bay Sailing one gets a personal three hour tour with Captain Rich Crumley aboard his sailing vessel. I had a wonderful time on my tour. We sailed out to seal rock and observed the sea lions, then over out to open ocean to see dolphins and whales. All the while Rich is the perfect host and sailer, he keeps you safe and secure. I recommend this if you have a sense of adventure and you want to see Bodega Bay in a different perspective, out at sea.
- Whale Watching
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Sailing and Boating
Sailing on Bodega Bay!
I went on a three hour sailing tour with Bodega Bay Sailing Adventures
It was an awesome day, we learned about the area and our quirky captain had some funny stories. We got to see a lot of sea lions and local wildlife too!
- Historical Travel
More of Bodega Bay
Schoolhouse Beach is a boulder-strewn beach. These huge pieces of granite resembled knickknacks on a coffee table, spread out here and there...just so. They were perfectly suited for rockclimbing--which our grandson quickly discovered.
After a while, the cold mist went right to our bones. We motioned to our grandson that we were leaving and he slid down from his rock perch and much like a frisky pup ran ahead of us to the car. However, he did not use the path, but went right up the side of the cliff to the parking lot. (picture 2) He had been honing his skills on the rock climbing wall back in Texas.
This beach was not a sandy beach, but one composed of tiny chips of rock. There are seventeen miles of beach lining this small community. Bodega Bay is located sixty eight miles from San Francisco.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
The Potter Schoolhouse
After a pleasant afternoon in Healdsburg and a leisurely visit to the wineries and Redwood forest, we headed towards Bodega Bay, as suggested by Katherine (Callavetta), a VTer who resides near San Francisco.
In order to prepare for what we were to see here, we were encouraged to watch Alfred Hitchcock's movie THE BIRDS. This old schoolhouse was in the film--does it look familiar?
As we drove through the countryside to this somewhat isolated spot outside of Bodega Bay, we passed countless pastures dotted with livestock (picture 2). Then we saw the sign, POTTER SCHOOL est. 1873.
Here's what I discovered: Land for this school was donated by Sheriff Samuel Potter in 1872. Fall, 1873 brought its initial class of first through eighth grades. A community hall was located on the second floor, as well as space used for varied purposes.
By 1961, the school had been condemned and sold at auction. A year later, Potter school was used in the Alfred Hitchcock film. Once again standing vacant and condemned, Tom and Mary Taylor, purchased the Italianate structure and restored it with the help of their children.
Because of continued interest in the old schoolhouse, a weekend gift shop is operated by the Taylor family here, but it was closed when we visited.
- Family Travel
Do Not Swim Here--Beware!
Schoolhouse Beach was a scenic spot to spread out a blanket for an afternoon picnic or rock climb, but it was not a good place for a swim.
This warning sign was prominently displayed in the parking area at the top of the beach:
Strong Backwash, Sleeper Waves, Rip Currents.
That would definitely deter me from wanting to wade out into the water! Please be cautious!
Bodega Bay--Beauty in the Mist
As we left our car high above us and cautiously followed the steep path to Schoolhouse Beach, we heard threads of conversation coming from a bedraggled group of teens huddled around a small fire below. They held their arms against their chests, trying to shield themselves from the wind.
The crashing waves interrupted the voices, so that we just heard little pieces of their sentences. Bits of debris blew all around us.
Having been restrained for several hours in the car, our grandson shot passed us to the largest of the rocks and climbed to the top. As he strained to see beyond the mist, he looked for all the world like an 'old salt' aboard his ship!
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
St. Teresa's Church--Another Hitchcock Site
After taking pictures of The Potter School, we walked to a little white chapel next door--St. Teresa's Church.
The sun was just beginning to drop in the sky and deep shadows were falling on the building (pictures 1 & 2).
According to Sonoma County Film, there were several sites used in THE BIRDS movie besides Potter School. Also in scenes were the old *Tides dock, motel and restaurant in Bodega Bay, the towns of Bloomfield and Valley Ford, the Gaffney Ranch at Bodega Head and St. Teresa's Church.
A few still photos of scenes from the film can be found at this website: www.filminamerica.com/Movies/TheBirds
*A local informed us that the old Tides dock, motel and restaurant were destroyed by fire and another restaurant built on the same site. For more information see web address below.
- Family Travel
Russian River & Goat Rock
Goat Rock is the name of the section of the Sonoma Coast State Beach where the Russian River empties into the Pacific Ocean. The area around Goat Rock features a colony of harbor seals, as well as trails, restrooms, parking, and easy access to Highway 1.
The Russian River is named for Russian trappers and fur traders who made their way down the California coast in the early 1800s. Today the river is home to dozens of vineyards producing mainly Chardonnay and pinot noir wines.
Bodega Bay and Bodega Harbor
Bodega Bay is located 40 miles from San Francisco and 20 miles from Santa Rosa. The bay itslef is shallow and only about five miles wide at its widest point. The northern end of the bay contains Bodega Harbor where the town of Bodega Bay is situated. The harbor is almost completely encircled by land on the Pacific Ocean side (called Bodega Head) and by a breakwater extending from the mainland to Bodega Head. The town of Bodega Bay is on the Bodega Head side of the Harbor while Highway 1 runs up the eastern side of the harbor.
The Harbor was actually used by Russian fur traders as far back as 1811, prompting the expansion of the Spanish empire along the California cost as far as nearby Sonoma.
The San Andreas Fault, source of the 1906 and 1989 San Francisco Earthquakes, actually runs through Bodega Head.
Spud Point Marina
Spud Point Marina is operated by Sonoma County Parks and has 244 slips with water and electrical hookups at each slip. They have a laundromat, showers, and a restroom open to the public, along with a boat lift, fuel, a pumpout station, and a boat yard for boaters. The marina is also home to numerous commercial fishermen from Bodega Bay as 80 percent of the slips are reserved for commercial fishermen.
The marina was constructed in 1984 with some seven million in loans from State Boating and Waterways and the Coastal Conservancy.
Sonoma Coast State Beach - Bodega Head
Bodega Head is the part of Sonoma Coast State Beach that lies along the entrance to Bodega Bay. This area has hiking trails, a few small beaches, and areas for whale spotting. There are also beautiful vistas along the coast and over the bay.
Bodega Dunes has 98 campsites for those wishing to spend the night in this beautiful environment.
'The Birds' filming sights
Like I said, Kind of lame. Most of the stuff was just built up fronts that was torn down after filming.
1) The best sight was the original schoolhouse, which is still there, which is the 1st photo.
2) The next sight is the actual street where the kids we're running towards the bay, while being attacked by the birds, you can actually see the same view. This is Taylor St. and this is the 2nd picture.
3) The original restaurant was torn down and rebuilt, does not look the same, but in the same location. This is called 'The Tides' and is picture 3.
And that was basically it, so if you are coming to Bodega Bay to view the movie filming sight, turn the car around quickly, and go to San Francisco and check out Alcatraz. Much cooler.
- Historical Travel