I am an unapologetic lover of kitsch. I proudly display a dashboard hula dancer on my bookcase, a banana holder in my kitchen, and Groucho Marx glasses on my face.
At this point, you might be wondering why Bodega Country Store (17190 Bodega Hwy, Bodega; (707) 377-4056) would dabble in movie mementos. You see, back in 1961, Alfred Hitchcock—who’d filmed Shadow of a Doubt in nearby Santa Rosa over a decade earlier—chose moody, foggy Bodega Bay as the location for The Birds, his famed film on avian assailants. Potter Schoolhouse and Saint Teresa of Avila, in the nearby town of Bodega, played a starring role.
Driving into Bodega, I peered eagerly out the window, full of anticipation. When I spotted a life-sized, suit-sporting Alfred Hitchcock mannequin, I suspected we were in the right place. We parked across the street—near the Birds-famous church—and walked over.
Caw! Caw! Caw! I turned around, looking for the ravens responsible for the sounds I heard.
“Are there actually birds here?” I asked my mom.
She pointed to a speaker on the store’s exterior wall, and I realized that Bodega Country Store was, in fact, behind this. I loved it already.
Out front, next to the Hitchcock mannequin, a chalkboard sign boasted, “Oysters! Crab Cakes! Ceviche!” And, behind it, another sign invited us to “come see the largest Hitchcock collection.”
We stepped inside. Overhead, a sparkly raven hung from the rafters; several more faux crows roosted atop a glass case. And around us? As advertised, Birds memorabilia, as far as I could see.
I admired the Hitchcock-inspired Barbie dolls—including, naturally, a bird-beseiged Tippi Hedren lookalike; rows and rows of Alfred Hitchcock bobbleheads; and oversized Birds-themed hoodies. Glass cases held serious collector treasures: a Hedren-autographed pith helmet, an original script for The Birds II, and, fascinatingly, an extremely lifelike Alfred Hitchcock bust.
On the wall hung multiple Hitchcock portraits—from a Banksy-esque spray painted rendering to a more classic black-and-white sketch, alongside production stills, costume designs, and foreign language posters emblazoned with Hedren’s face, countless crows, and the words Los Pajaros, Les Oiseaux, and Gli Uccelli. And, for the true fan, a rubber Alfred Hitchcock mask.
I was speechless. Paradise found.