Northern California seems to be one of Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite movie locations to film his masterpieces. Another town Hitchcock visited to film in the San Francisco Bay Area is the town of Santa Rosa. In the 1943 film, Shadow of a Doubt, Hitchcock filmed the exterior shots primarily in downtown Santa Rosa. But if you visit Santa Rosa today, you will see it no longer looks like the town you see in the film. A lot had changes in Santa Rosa since then. The only places from the film that still exist today is the old courthouse with its watch tower, the Amtrak train station and movie theatre which is now a Barnes and Noble.
The city of Santa Rosa is located about one hour north of San Francisco in Sonoma County. Everyone knows Sonoma County is one of the best wine producing regions in California so don’t be surprised if you see a lot of great cafes, restaurants, even breweries in downtown Santa Rosa. The town’s main drag is D Street right by the old courthouse. There are also shops in D Street but most people would often venture to Santa Rosa Plaza to shop popular retail shops.
The newest attraction in Santa Rosa is the Charles Schulz Museum. Located about 5 miles from downtown Santa Rosa. You’re going to need to drive here from D Street. The museum built after Charles Schulz death in 2000. His wife and friends built the museum in the very spot where his house once stood. The museum is larger than his old house, of course, but the museum preserved and recreated Schulz’s old study where he created his famous characters for the Peanut Comic Strip. Next door to the museum is the Warm Puppy Cafe, located within the skating rink or ice chalet. Legend has it that Schulz himself would have lunch at the Warm Puppy Cafe everyday and watch people play ice hockey or ice skate at the rink. One famous ice skater who visited this rink often is Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi. The city of Santa Rosa loves Charles Schulz so much that some of his Peanuts characters are immortalize in the form of statues in downtown Santa Rosa located around Fourth Street and David Street. It is one of the more charming attractions of the city.
People has different reasons for visiting a town and city they have never been before. It is a good thing I visited Santa Rosa for both the purpose of film history and animation. I found that the city of Santa Rosa have two different characters that suits either types of visitor. It’s a perfect day trip but you definitely need a car with a full tank of gas to get there. But it’s worth the trip especially if you’re looking for a different scene.