Free Friday: Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, California

It is not a secret that I am afflicted with wanderlust. I am so lucky that my husband has the same affliction. I feel luckier that he has a passion for visiting the country’s National Parks. His interest has brought us to numerous places highlighting the beauty of the United States, relating its history, and honoring the country’s outstanding citizens. Through our National Park visits, I learn more and more about this country, giving me more reasons to love it.


Each park has a story to tell, and there are times that I leave with a sense of wonder at the richness of talent this country has. One of those times was my visit to Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site in Danville, California.Having grown up outside the United States, I must admit that the name Eugene O’Neill did not ring a bell when my husband mentioned it. It’s a shame. But I was intrigued when he told me that because of the location, we needed reservations and we will be shuttled by a ranger from a meeting point to the historic site.The historic site is located inside a gated community that by the looks of it, is home to affluent residents, and the scenery where O’Neill’s house stood was breathtaking.It was when the ranger began talking about O’Neill’s need to have the perfect place to write away from interruptions that I realized who he was. The ranger was describing American playwright Eugene O’Neill. Pulitzer and Nobel prize winner. That Eugene O’Neill.I was standing in the home of one of the greatest American playwrights. He introduced realism into American plays. His characters were from the fringes of society, speaking in the vernacular. Characters that most people could relate to. The ranger called him the Shakespeare of America. His work Long Day’s Journey into the Night is on the short list of the finest American plays in the 20th century.The ranger, who was clearly, an O’Neill fan said the writer never suffered from writer’s block. He was never out of plot ideas. Even when he developed tremor syndrome, he kept on writing in his preferred way, pencil and paper. Eugene O’Neill is awe-inspiring. The Park Ranger guide impressively related his life and talent.My takeaway from this visit is, if one loves and believes in what he does, it effectively translates to his words and actions. His work. Our ranger guide related O’Neill’s story so well that I left wanting to know more and read his work.

Eugene O’Neill by Alice Boughton, Public Domain

If not for my and my husband’s wanderlust, I would be missing the opportunities to get an up close glimpse into the lives and inspirations of great talents like Eugene O’Neill, and missing the chance of taking inspiration from the likes of our ranger guide who effectively translates his love for his work and admiration for his subject, infecting his visitors. Infecting me!

A glimpse of Eugene O’Neill’s home

Grabbed from

Visiting the Eugene O’Neill NHS is free. Learn more at the official website.

About Dee Gilbert

I am one half of a couple who loves to travel; the half who likes to write and share travel experiences. Reading about travelers' experiences inspire me more to see the world. So, I thought, perhaps in my own little way I could inspire others, too. :)
Gallery | This entry was posted in Free Activity, National Park Service, Travel, United States and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Free Friday: Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, California

  1. Pingback: Wanderlust: Lhasa Tibet | What's (in) the picture?

  2. Pingback: WPC: Wanderlust – nivs24

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