Eugene O’Neill Historical Site is a beloved residence of one of America’s most influential playwrights and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Overlooking Mt. Diablo in Danville, California (San Francisco East Bay), Eugene moved his family here in the 1930s because the picturesque landscape inspired his writing. Some of Eugene’s famous works include Hard Day’s Journey into Night, A Moon for the Misbegotten, and The Iceman Cometh. The house and garden have many architectural and accent features that profoundly reflected the beliefs of Taoism and different Asian cultures.
The Main Attraction Tour (2.5 hours)
The main part of the ranger-led tour begins near the entrance to the home with an overview of the surrounding land. The ranger then leads the group to the gate of the house, which has a history and ties to Taoism. A narrow, brick walkway zigzags to the main door; entering through the Gift Shop is the most accessible way in and out of the house. After a full tour of the rooms on the ground floor, guests who cannot walk up a flight of a dozen or more stairs are shown a video on what is seen. Captions are made available if needed.
The tour concludes with a little free time to explore the rest of the grounds or revisit spots. One of the most popular is the resting place of the family dog, a Dalmatian named “Blemie.” Two iron ranch gates leading to a rocky dirt pathway (less than 100 feet) have to be opened and closed to get to the dog’s grave under an oak tree. The pool can only be accessed by stairs and narrow walkways.
Theatre: The white barn on site has been transformed into a theatre and operated by the Eugene O’Neill Foundation to commemorate his work. More plays occur at other theatres in the area, please visit the site for more information on the season. When there is a play onsite, an accessible, portable toilet is provided.
- Starting Location: The San Ramon Valley Museum. Two designated, van accessible spots are closest to the ramp into the museum and the shuttle loading area. If coming via bus, the Country Connector gets you real close, see the site for times and details.
- Reservations: Open Wednesday to Sunday, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Reservations are required for the accessible tours at 10am and 2pm. Saturdays have a reservation-free policy.
- Getting to the Site: Visitors can take the accessible shuttle, which can accommodate two wheelchairs via a lift. If the van is out for maintenance, or there is not enough space, private vehicles may be permitted to follow. Please check a head for planning.
- Gift Shop: Visitors will find many books related to the site, Eugene O’Neill, play-writing, historical homes, Taoism, and California parks. Books and other merchandise can be for purchase.
- Picnic Areas: A couple of tables are located by the gift shop; one has an extended end. Another area of three tables with no modifications is located by the barn by some trees.
- Bathrooms: One bathroom is available for all guests on the tour, equipped with grab-bars and a roll-up sink. Two unisex bathrooms have been modified with grab-bars and a roll-up sink at the museum where the tour starts and ends. The soap dispensary was not at an accessible level for all to reach.