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“Eugene O'Neill Nat'l Historic Site” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site - Tao House

Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site - Tao House
P.O. Box 280, Danville, CA 94526
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Ranked #2 of 10 Attractions in Danville
Type: Historic Sites, Cultural
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Attraction details
Owner description: The home of playwright Eugene O'Neill is open to the public for tours.
Walnut Creek, California
1 review
“Eugene O'Neill Nat'l Historic Site”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2014

I've been on the guided tour and a play and both times being there were informative and entertaining. Came home with the book "Longday's Journey Into Night" which is O'Neill's autobiographical play. Very good, couldn't put the book down. I forgot the name of the play but it was very good. I plan on attending another play once the schedule come out for this summer.

I visited in March of 2013 and Sept. 2013 for the play.

Visited September 2013
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22 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Great views - hiking available too”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2013

We showed up to bus stop in front of the San Ramon Museum in Danville, and were among only six people who took the shuttle up the hill to the Tao House. On Saturdays, they pick up at three scheduled times and it is first come, first served. They said that the previous Saturday, they'd had no visitors at that same time.

The home is next to a regional park with lots of hiking opportunities, and has both NPS and foundation support. It is free to go on the tour and enter the site so donate some cash in the gift shop.

The house and grounds have been maintained very well, despite a bad infestation outside the house, of ground squirrels, attracted by walnuts dropping from the trees, evidently. The best view is from the pool deck. Don't miss the dog's gravesite and his last will and testament. The house itself is sparsely furnished. Even though ours was supposed to be a self-guided tour, the substitute guide that day (who normally works at the John Muir site) told us a lot. Otherwise, you can read the interpretive signs in the various rooms, or ask the guide who is on duty in the house.

The shuttle takes you back down the hill after 1 3/4 hours, unless you're done sooner, which we were - even though we'd gotten a bit of a tour in most of the house, and I was taking lots of pictures outside.

On other days, you can make reservations for tours. Check the website for details. You must take the shuttle to get to the house. It is located on a one-lane, private road, with zero parking along the way, and two radio controlled gates along the way. (There's a pedstrian gate for hikers who appeared to be area residents who were pushing strollers with kids). The website said no pets were allowed but we saw a dog with leash pictographic sign on the side of one of the outbuildings so perhaps area residents take their doggies on walks up there. At the house, there is only parking for the shuttles and NPS employee vehicles. You park at the San Ramon Museum lot or on the street next to the museum. We found plenty of parking, even on the Saturday we went - even though there was a farmers' market taking up half the lot.

Visited December 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Delray Beach, Florida
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Extremely Interesting...Even more so if One is a Fan”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2013

Because the road to the house is extremely narrow and I do mean extremely narrow, the only way to get here is via a shuttle bus. The ride is short, but when two cars are in the same place at the same time, hope that both drivers are cooperative!

The house is in very good condition. The tour is self guided and there is a lot of material/formation available. The rooms were numbered and it was easy to stay on track. Our Park Ranger was nothing short of a dud. He so didn't really have any interest in being there! We annoyed him when he had to look up from his paperback novel.

There is a lap pool in the back which requires a bit of a walk downhill. If walking is an issue, you can see the pool just fine without going all the way down. We also enjoyed the short walk to see his beloved Doug's grave site.

Leaned a lot and was glad that we made the effort to come here...even with the rocky shuttle us ride!

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Tao House”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

Eugene O'Neill was certainly an interesting and kind of quirky individual. His home in the hills of Danville reflect those qualities. The view is magnificent and one can see why he was so in love with this property. Learn about his troubled youth, his tumultuous family life and his disapproval of his daughter, Oona's, marriage to Charlie Chaplin. You visit his private study where he did so much of his writing. See the living room space, the music room and the upstairs bedrooms, all of which gives you a glimpse of his personality and his devotion to Taoism which principles of informed the architecture and the furnishings.
In order to visit one must call and reserve space and then meet in town where a small bus drives the visitors up into the hills to the property for a docent led tour. Groups are small so viewing the house is easy and pleasant. It is well worth the trip to see this historical home of one of Americas best known authors.

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Top Contributor
387 reviews 387 reviews
121 attraction reviews
Reviews in 76 cities Reviews in 76 cities
542 helpful votes 542 helpful votes
“A guide can make or break this trip”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013 via mobile

Our site guide was not fluent in the flow and facts. The site itself was just okay without the drama a good guide could provide .

Visited August 2013
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