Tour The Home Of Eugene O’Neill, America’s Pulitzer Playwright

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See where a Long Day’s Journey Into Night was written.

In the hills surrounding Danville,  California are homes with breathtaking views of one of the Valleys that make up the Tri-Valley region. Homes that when you see them from the road as you drive by you could only dream of living in. Well you may not be able to live in them but you can visit one if you are so inclined. Nobel Prize Winning Playwright Eugene O’Neill wrote some of his most famous plays including Long Day’s Journey Into Night in a house high on the hills and today it is now a National Historic Site open to the public for self guided tours. I may not be the biggest theatre buff on the planet but I love to explore new places and to get a chance to see how others from a different era lived is too cool an opportunity to pass up. 30 Days Of Summer is all about road trips and mini vacations but if I had the chance to live on the top of a mountain I could perhaps reconsider and call it 30 Days Of Living It Up In Style.

Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site

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Only about 3000 visitors a year take the opportunity to see where greatness live so you could consider this a rare exclusive. To get to the house you must take the shuttle bus that runs 3 times on Saturdays or make a reservation for a guided tour on Friday or Sunday. The house is only open to the public Friday to Sunday and because of its location you must take the shuttle which picks you up at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley.

Museum of the San Ramon Valley

It’s only a short ride from the museum to Eugene O’Neill’s house but it’s through a residential area so it’s almost like a sight seeing tour of homes and gardens. Once you arrive at the house you are on your own to explore the entire property. The front of the house is walled off protecting the front garden from view. Through the gate and you are in a beautiful front yard or what they called the “Harmonious Garden” to reflect O’Neill’s belief in Taoist principles of harmony with greater cosmic forces. O’Neill was so intrigued by Tao philosophy he even named the house Tao House.

front gate to the Tao House of Eugene O'Neill

inside the gate of Tao House

view from the Harmonious Garen of Tao House

Once you step into the house you are transported back to another time and era. Even though the house went through a few owners after O’Neill died they’ve been able to decorate the house in similar fashion thanks to photos taken by the O’Neills from over the years. You can see the Eastern influences even in the decor throughout the house. The living room is large and has one of the most amazing views out over the Valley.

Living room of Tao House

view from the Tao House living room window

The entire house is open for exploration including the kitchen (just imagine the parties prepared here), servant’s wing, and of course the Master Bedroom and Eugene O’Neills study.

Tao House Kitchen

Piano for entertaining guests at Tao House

The Study of Eugene O'Neill

Closet of Mrs O'Neill

Of course for theatre geeks what they really want to see is Eugene O’Neill himself and his Nobel Prize. Both are on display so you won’t be disappointed.

Bronze sculpture of Eugene O'Neill

replica Nobel Prize of Eugene O'Neill

Outside the house there is also plenty to explore. Fruit tress are on the property including peaches and plums and you are encouraged to help yourself.

Peaches from the Eugene O'Neill estate

PLums on teh Eugene O'Neill estate

There is even a pool to explore. Of course they don’t allow you to swim in it but damn did it look inviting. Imagine after a hard days work of writing to walk down the steps and dive into your own pool to cool off. That is the life.

Swimming pool hostory

Pool at Eugene O'Neill estate

Pool and view of San Ramon Valley

The tour of the house and grounds is only about 1.5 hours and it’s a great way to spend your morning or afternoon. Plus you get to learn a little bit of some of the golden days of American Theatre through reading about Eugene O’Neill and his life here in Danville. If it’s good enough for a Nobel Prize winner it’s good enough for me.

View of Tao House from the pool

looking out over the San Ramon Valley

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Summerhill Pyramid Winery, located for more than 20 years in the Lakeshore district in Kelowna, BC, is Canada’s premier certified organic winery, BC’s first Demeter certified biodynamic vineyard, Canada’s foremost producer of sparkling wine, and now Canada’s first producer of uncooked Kosher wine. Winemaker Eric von Krosigk oversees the portfolio of BC VQA wines that suit every occasion and has earned the winery the ‘Canadian Wine Producer of the Year’ award at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London, England. The winery, owned by the Cipes family, is also home to the Sunset Organic Bistro, serving food grown and raised by local organic producers, including Summerhill’s own on-site permaculture-style vegetable garden. The mission of the entire Summerhill team is to produce exceptionally good-tasting wines organically, support local organic food growers, and provide unforgettable experiences for all guests.

Sparkling Wine at Summerhill Pyramid Winery

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About Author

Marc Smith is a single, 45-year-old, gay urbanite, living in high-rise heaven in Vancouver’s chic Yaletown neighbourhood. After a ten-year career as one of Vancouver’s pre-eminent event planners, he decided it was time for a change and posted on his Facebook page “I am ready for a change. What shall I do with my life?” 30 Day Adventures was born from that status update.

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