On July 5th we set off down the Oregon coast from Eugene, and by the 6th we were bedding down for the night in Bodega Bay, a favorite little hamlet of mine outside of Santa Rosa in California. I had been there once before with my parents, during a visit to my brother David at Berkeley for his birthday week in 2007. Five-and-a-half months pregnant with Katie then, I remember standing in the bay barefoot and feeling her grow inside of me.

For a Hitchcock fan like me (well, a bit more than a fan, really—his work is one of my intellectual passions, and I have an ongoing project to view all of his films, have read all I can get my hands on about his work, and have done some analysis and writing of my own), Bodega Bay is an especially thrilling destination. Several of the location settings for The Birds are still there and somewhat intact: Taylor Street, the home that became the Bodega Bay School, the marina of course, and the remodeled but still recognizable Tides Wharf restaurant.

We had just fourteen hours in this foggy, grey, mysterious, cozy place, and dare I say we made the most of it. Bill found lodgings at the Bodega Bay Inn, and he had another major win there. We had our own little bungalow attached by stairs leading upward to a common room and hallway to other rooms. We could park our car in front of it and enter our room through private French doors. The bed had an old-fashioned headboard that was also a shelf, very retro, and there was an open shower made of white stone. Just on the other side of the hill on which the inn sat was a tiny collection of storefronts, including a coffee shop.


We set out immediately for dinner at Tides Wharf. We gazed out at the bay—and the thick fog rolling into the bay as we passed 8:00 PM.



photo 1


We had a delicious meal at Tides Wharf, probably one of our best dinners. On the recommendation of our server, I had the local and highly seasonal salmon in a lemon butter and caper sauce. It was perfect.

photo 2


Katie and Eric watched the heavy fog come in over the bay. Gulls dove and flew by, too. I love the look of wonder on Katie’s face in this picture.

I did not have to run in the morning, and I intended to sleep in just a bit and perhaps do some more reading before the kiddos woke up. At 5AM, however, Eric woke up from dream and Katie then woke up with excitement to find her tooth fairy money under the pillow. A skylight over our bed revealed the beginnings of morning, and as soon as this sister and brother pair saw that, there was no returning to sleep. Katie, in fact, quoted from Frozen: “The sky’s awake, so I’m awake, so we have to play!”

And really, she was correct. Why waste daylight and time when we could be up and exploring? How often are we in Bodega Bay, after all?

We dressed efficiently and left Bill to sleep in and rest while we had adventure. Water droplets had coalesced on our window over night, and the thick mist still covered the morning. I felt like I had somehow had the great fortune to stumble into an enchanted land. Fog/mist is my favorite, the instant cozy-maker.


We walked first to the little coffee shop, tucked away in the corner and in the fog. Katie and Eric had hot chocolate, I had a latte, and we all had freshly baked almond and cranberry scones.


We went to the marina next, and I am not sure if it was even 7 AM by then, honestly. We took out the scooters and explored, looking at all the fishing supplies and boats.




A boat docking in the mist



Scenes from the marina: I could not imagine a better start to the day


Then we drove a bit around town and parked so we could hike the marsh. I would have liked to get around to Bodega Bay head, but this hike also had beach access to Doran Beach. We hiked every part of the marsh we could before moving on to the beach, watching all kinds of birds and finding webs covered with dew.


Katie feels passionately about birds, and she later got a coastal bird guide to help her identify species. She likes to draw birds and watch them. We think it might be her Uncle Chet’s bird-watcher gene!


Then we found Doran Beach, with nary a soul on it. We took our shoes off at the driftwood, and ran and froze our tootsies in the bay and celebrated the freedom we felt and watched more birds.



I would not have missed this morning for all the sleep in the world. I love taking my children out and showing them all that life has for them to enjoy and to take into their hearts and minds and imaginations. We were part of an early, sublime world that morning. We seemed to find magic at every step. All I could keep thinking followed the themes of how very much this life is to be lived, fully and passionately. I want to waste no time, I want to see as much as I can with the two of them, and my husband, too.

There were several opportunities on this trip for me to take our children out by myself in these new places: Sacramento, Ashland, to parks in Eugene, downtown Portland, and here in Bodega Bay. I routinely take my children out and about locally, although at times for school field trips or the beach and such I have enlisted my mom to help. Usually in bigger cities my husband is always with me, too. But here I really threw myself to my own devices, and I found confidence in being able to go anywhere on my own with my two children. We did not get lost, and they were well behaved. The three of us know how to work together, and they are easy to have out all day. We just take whatever comes, and we solve whatever needs to be solved. I discovered, therefore, a profound sense of freedom. I know I can capably manage my children in our regular spots on a day to day basis, but here—well, here on this trip, I guess I found out that I can travel with them anywhere. I would be fully willing now to take them on a plane by myself, or anywhere… And this has opened up my world tremendously. The past two weeks gave me an even deeper understanding of my freedom. Perhaps their ages help, too… I just know for certain now that my children and I can adapt to any situation we find ourselves to be in. And you know what? I love to show them life. I just love it.

I want to show them everything worth knowing, everything worth seeing. I want their minds to light up with the wonder of it all. I love to be with them. I really love to be with them. I would rather be showing them all the wonders and magic of life and nature than doing just about anything else (except maybe running, ha ha)!


Exploring with my kiddos—each of them are good at using the iPhone camera now, too!


We finished our hiking, beach combing, and wandering at about 9:30, and then we went to collect my husband from the inn. On our way out of town, we stopped by the property that became the Bodega Bay School in Hitchcock’s The Birds. We got dorky and pretended we were getting chased by birds down the street, like the children in the famous scene from the film. Why not? Life is for having fun and sometimes being weird!

On a trip full of highlights, these fourteen hours in Bodega Bay were some of my favorite. I felt we really lived as much as we could possibly have while we were there. We managed to explore fairly widely and fit in quite a bit. I know we made the most of our time there, and that makes my heart full and happy. I love coastal towns, the fog horn, the scent of fish and salt in the air, the clang-clang-clang of docked up boats. There is poetry in a harbor.