Tao House, Eugene O’Neill’s “Final Harbor”

By Victor A. Walsh

As the shuttle bus edges up the last grade of the gated private road, the morning fog has settled like smoke in the cup of green hills. To the right, white brick walls enclose the Spanish-style ranch home of playwright Eugene O'Neill and his wife, the stage actress Carlotta Monterey, who lived in this secluded setting from 1937 to 1944. Veiled in mist overlooking the San Francisco East Bay's San Ramon Valley, the house appears nearly invisible, alone, without a trace of human presence.

On the driveway's left, two cows, grazing in a meadow, move through the thick gray f...

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