“Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.”
- Eugene O’Neill
Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O’Neill never lived anywhere for long. He moved more than 30 times before finding his “kingdom of peace” in the backwoods of northern California.
Adjacent to Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, he and his third wife, Carlotta, designed and built Tao House, which O’Neill called his “final home and harbor.” The house features a unique blend of Chinese and Spanish architecture, which O’Neill filled with Oriental furnishings and decoration.
During the seven years he lived at Tao House, O’Neill penned many of his most acclaimed works, including “The Iceman Cometh,” “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” These would prove to be among his last plays, as well. Shortly after leaving Tao House, the hand tremors he had suffered for years became so severe that O’Neill gave up writing altogether.
Just an hour from the San Francisco Airport, Tao House sits on 13 quiet, wooded acres. Visitors receive a guided tour of the house and a map of the grounds. Look for the spot where O’Neill kept his pet roosters, which he named for famous prize fighters.
While you’re in the area, take advantage of the numerous hiking, biking, and equestrian trails of the nearby Las Trampas Regional Wilderness.
If You Go
Reservations are required to tour Tao House. It’s best to call a week or two in advance, although same-day reservations are occasionally available.