Highlights: Bodega Bay is for "The Birds", Russian River Brewing Company
Campground: Full hook up; Verizon Cellular and ATT Wifi worked well.
This is an odd campground with understandably mediocre reviews. Pulling through to the site, one passes three short rows of tightly packed very old trailers in fair to deplorable condition. I suspect most of these were being used as permanent housing.
Over some extraordinarily tall speed bumps a newer area opens up where the sites were adequately spaced. Oddly there was only one other camper. The campground owner told us on checking in that the campground had just re-opened the day before we arrived - exactly 60 days after a flood devastated the area. The water rose 45 feet above flood stage. She said the water was waist deep in her office. They moved every one of the permanent trailers out in time.
Looking behind our campsite we could see the river a good twenty feet below the banks. We couldn't imagine the river reaching us – never mind 45 feet above it's present stage especially when considering that the river would be getting wider as it rose.
Signs of the flooding were evident. We saw chairs, rugs, a canvas bag, and a bucket hanging from the trees over our heads.
Bodega Bay: I'm a big Alfred Hitchcock fan and have seen “The Birds” many times. Much of it was filmed in film's namesake Bodega Bay. After some on-line research we were lucky enough to find the actual schoolhouse used in the movie. This is now a private residence, but the owners have a parking area and a sign describing the history of the home in front. They just ask for respect of their privacy.
The schoolhouse is actually in the town of Bodega, just a few miles inland of Bodega Bay. To one side of the house is the back of a picturesque white church overlooking the half-dozen or so shops making up the town center. We learned this was photographed by Ansel Adams. In his photo you can see (but would not be able to identify) the schoolhouse in the background.
W. B. Nordstrom
I also found a photo of Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren in front of the schoolhouse with the church behind. The older photos show a starker landscape than exists now. The lawn is now green with grass and trees surround the area.
We really got a thrill out of seeing the schoolhouse. In the famous scene where the children are whisked out of the school and down the road toward the bay, Hitchcock filmed facing the school for them leaving the school and cut to shots looking down Taylor Street in Bodega Bay. So, after seeing the schoolhouse, we had to drive to Bodega Bay and find Taylor Street.
Taylor Street, where the children were filmed running from the birds at the schoolhouse.
Our last “The Birds” themed stop was for lunch at The Tides Restaurant. The original resaurant burnt down and it was impossible to visualize the scenes from the movie in the area. The movie views of the restaurant, the infamous phone booth and gas station could not be seen. It really didn't matter too much because we had a good meal with a great view including watching a harbor seal swimming by several times just outside the windows.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Bodega Head (seen in the distance in the photo from the dining room and another small walk a little further up the coast.
Picture Tippi Hedren driving her love birds over this road. Village of Bodega Bay is in the background.
View of the village of Bodega Bay from Bodega Head.
Russian River Brewing Company:
This is a great brewery in downtown Santa Rosa. Their Pliney the Younger, a triple IPA, was rated the top beer in America. I had met some young beer aficionados in Moss Landing who I traded two of my favorites for two of theirs – one being a Pliney the Elder a Double IPA (DIPA), which is pretty great.
They offer samples for $2.50 for of any of their 18 current beers on tap. Our waiter recommended the option of sampling all 18 for $25. While we had no intention of finishing them all, we thought that would be fun and it sure was. I won't describe them all, but I really liked their hoppy IPA's and their Russian River Porter. They also had some great Belgian styles. The sours made my mouth pucker in a frightening way. Not a fan, but again it was fun trying them out.
On to Mendocino!