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Writer's Retreat on Tomales Bay - The Mesa Refuge

Bedrooms 3
Half Baths1
Property type house
Minimum Stay 3 - 5 nights


About the property

House, 3 Bedrooms + Other (See Description), 2.5 Baths, (Sleeps 6)

The Mesa Refuge: A Writer’s Retreat on Tomales Bay

Mesa Refuge house description

The Mesa Refuge is one of the most beautiful houses in the Point Reyes area and enjoys one of its most breathtaking views. It sits above a vibrant, constantly changing marsh that flows into Tomales Bay. Herons, egrets, hawks and many different kinds of wild fowl can be seen and heard from the decks and gardens around the house.

For most of the year, the house serves as a retreat for three writers at a time. Among those who have worked here are Michael Pollan, Terry Tempest Williams, Daniel Ellsberg, Frances Moore Lappé and Michael Chabon.

The house was built by the abstract expressionist painter Sam Francis. He spent the summers here with his family and entourage, painting and visiting the nearby Point Reyes National Seashore.

The house itself is light, colorful, spacious, and full of interesting architectural details. Throughout it are original artworks, antique rugs and vintage furniture that add to its charm.

The Refuge has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and sleeps 6 adults. The master bedroom is in a tower and has a queen bed and en-suite bathroom. The view of the bay from the balcony off the tower bedroom is spectacular. The other 2 bedrooms are on the ground floor. One has a queen bed and one has a double bed. Both have private decks overlooking the garden.

The living room has an intricate wooden cathedral ceiling, an extensive library along one wall, comfortable chairs and sofas and a wood-burning stove. There is a large, fully-equipped modern kitchen with a Viking range, Sub-Zero refrigerator and a dining area. This opens onto a rose-covered deck with views of the garden and bay.

The house is surrounded by beautiful, mature gardens which include an apple orchard, a rose garden, sauna, and a wood-burning brick oven — perfect for grilling fish and making pizza. Halfway down the bluff is a deck for observing birds or setting up an easel or camera. Two writing cabins are hidden in the garden for people who want to write or dream. There is also a tennis court available for your use. The village of Point Reyes Station with its cafes, bookstores and restaurants is a ten-minute walk away.

We guarantee you will never forget your stay at the Mesa Refuge. And your rental helps support the not-for-profit writer’s retreat.

We are unable to host weddings at the property. We ask that no more than 12 people attend a gathering at the house.


More Details

Property Manager
Property Manager
Member since: 2009
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a few days
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
November 10, 2017

Guestbook comments from the manager

Wow, what a place. If you are looking to unplug and relax, I don't know how you can get much better than the Mesa Refuge. Great views, comfortable house, convenient location. Can't recommend highly enough.
Jun 2015
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Point Reyes Station House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 4:00 PM
  • /
  • Check-out: 11:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 6
  • Parties/events not allowed ...
  • Non smoking only
  • No more than 12 people on the property for gatherings.
  • We do not allow weddings or receptions on the property.
Location Type:
  • Waterfront ...
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Broadband Access
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Free Long Distance
  • Heating
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Parking Off Street
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet
  • Wood Stove
  • Catering Available
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator
  • Dining Area
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • 1 Half Bath
  • Bathroom 1 -
    Bathroom 2 -
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • Bedroom 3 - 1 queen
    Bedroom 1 - 1 queen
    Bedroom 2 - 1 double
  • Queen size Beds (1), Double Beds (1)
  • Books ...
  • CD Player
  • Ping Pong Table
  • Stereo ...
  • Balcony
  • Bicycles
  • Deck / Patio
  • Lanai / Gazebo
  • Lawn / Garden
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • Tennis ...
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Pool / Spa:
  • Sauna
  • churches
  • library
  • playground
  • restaurants
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • horseback riding
  • scenic drives
  • shelling
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • sailing
  • surfing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • wind-surfing
Viking stove Sub zero fridge Bicycles for adults and children


Wonderful! 4.8/5 -
(9 traveler reviews)

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Writer's Retreat on Tomales Bay - The Mesa Refuge
average rating of 4.7777777 based on 11 reviews
San Francisco

Beautiful seclusion overlooking Tomales Bay

  • 5 of 5

Once again, we had a delightful time at the Mesa Refuge. Comfortable and well-equipped kitchen, comfortable beds, terrific "Gathering Room" and best of all, the beautifully landscaped grounds and view.

  • Submitted: Jun 17, 2016
  • Stayed: June 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Philadelphia, PA

truly a retreat

  • 3 of 5

We have been to the Mesa Refuge for several years and it is truly a refuge and a retreat. The VRBO operation supports a laudable mission of promoting emerging writers and thinkers. Sadly, the home itself is seeming a little weary.

  • Submitted: Aug 20, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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  • 5 of 5

Feels like home!

  • Submitted: Dec 21, 2016
  • Stayed: December 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Uncommon home in an exquisite setting

  • 5 of 5

This is an exceptional house in a stunning setting. Fantastic kitchen for foodies. The property manager, Patricia Duncan, was attentive to every detail. We hope to return with our family.

Check out the Bovine Bakery and the Saturday morning Farmers Market in Point Reyes Station. Also there's a nearby meadery (sparkling honey wine) called Heidrun Meadery that is well worth a visit. And Point Reyes National Seashore is at your doorstep for hiking.

  • Submitted: Jul 23, 2016
  • Stayed: July 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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East Bay, CA

soothing and inspiring vacation rental

  • 5 of 5

Mesa Refuge offers a soothing and inspiring vacation rental. From the location overlooking the continually changing Giacomini wetlands, to the large, yet cozy, book shelf lined Gathering room, to the various writers' sheds, each with their own character and views, and especially to the amazing garden with diverse zones of plants and spots to sit in for quiet reflection or conversation, Mesa Refuge has something to please everyone. The fact that the house was the former vacation home of the abstract lyrical painter Sam Francis, and is currently a retreat for writers focusing on the environment just adds to the inspiring essence of the rental.

  • Submitted: Jul 30, 2015
  • Stayed: July 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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San Francisco

Beautiful views and house and grounds

  • 5 of 5

This is indeed a special property. Nice big kitchen, 3 bedrooms (one in "the tower" with amazing views from the deck. Very very comfortable and inviting for all kinds of relaxation.

  • Submitted: Feb 12, 2015
  • Stayed: January 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Cleaning Fee $200
Damage Deposit $500

Rates are subject to change until the reservation is confirmed. We are unable to host weddings or parties over 12 people on the property.

Manager's Cancellation Policy

  • Canceled bookings will not receive a refund

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