About Mesa Refuge

"A place for writing at the edge."

The Mesa Refuge is a writers' retreat located in Point Reyes Station, CA. It is one of the few retreats in the United States that supports people writing about nature, economics and social equity. Since 1998, we have granted residencies to over 500 writers.

Mesa Refuge is now on Facebook! Please check it out: Mesa Facebook Page

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Now receiving applications for our 2014 residency program.

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Now Receiving Applications for the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation Health Writer in Residence Program

Learn more about the Langeloth Residency Program »

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Spring Application Process Complete!

Fall Application Process

Complete Applications Due Monday June 2, 2014

Fall Session 2014 Residency Dates

  • Session 5: September 19 – October 2
  • Session 6: October 3 – October 16
  • Session 7: October 17 – October 30
  • Session 8: October 31 – November 13


Program Information

The Refuge offers two and four-week residencies to writers who need the solitude essential to creative work. Essayists, journalists, economists, naturalists, screenwriters and authors of memoirs -- all are welcome.

The Mesa Refuge invites people to think and write about the intersections between human activity -- capitalism in particular -- and the natural world we are obliged to preserve. A Mesa Refuge residency is an opportunity to develop ideas and projects so that they may be published and transformed into practice.

Residents are offered the gift of time and space. There is a settling in, a letting go, a connecting with nature's muse, and a finding of creative rhythm.



The Mesa Refuge is located on a bluff overlooking Tomales Bay and pastures that are being restored to wetlands. It sits atop the San Andreas Fault, on the periphery of a great city, at a spot where urban civilization adjoins agriculture and wilderness. It is an ideal place for contemplating many things.

The Refuge is misty bluffs, hummingbirds and herons, winding paths of lavender and sage, daisies and roses, solitude, the company of other writers, and the blissful absence of noise, demands, and daily chores. Residents are encouraged to enjoy the many attractions of the Point Reyes area. Opportunities include hiking, kayaking, beach-combing, bicycling, bird watching and yoga, as well as gardening, tennis and ping-pong. The town of Point Reyes Station is a 10-minute walk away.


Living Arrangements

The Refuge hosts three residents at a time. Each enjoys a private room in a spacious shared house. A printer is available for common use; however, residents need to bring their own computers and writing supplies. A single telephone is available on a limited basis and its use is discouraged. E-mail use is similarly discouraged, but dial-up access is available for a fee.

Room and most dinners are provided at no cost, however donations are welcome. Travel to and from Point Reyes is each resident's responsibility.


Application Information

Complete application information can be found here:

Mesa Refuge Application Information

We are pleased to announce that the Refuge is available for use, when residents are not in session, for alumni, writers and artists wanting a quiet, reflective space to work on specific projects.

For more information on availability and rates, please contact Patricia Duncan at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Supporting the Mesa Refuge

To help defray operating expenses, the Mesa Refuge invites donations from residents and friends. Donations are tax-deductible, and we appreciate gifts of all sizes.

We are particularly interested in major gifts that can support a residency in perpetuity. Such gifts can be named in honor of loved ones, or writers you admire. Each year the Refuge will choose a writer who is appropriate to your residency, notify you of the choice, and send you a copy of the eventual publication. In this way, your gift will spur creativity and progressive thinking for decades to come.

Click Here for more information on supporting The Mesa Refuge.

Online donations can be made here: Donate Now

Checks can be made payable to Trust for Conservation Innovation. Please put Mesa Refuge in the memo line and mail to:

Trust for Conservation Innovation
150 Post Street, #342
San Francisco, CA 94108

For information regarding major gifts please contact Susan Page Tillett, Executive Director, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 847-452-7637.


Mesa Refuge Board of Trustees

Peter Barnes, Founder
Harriet Barlow
Mark Dowie
Jaune Evans
Kate Levinson
Judith Shaw

Mesa Refuge Advisory Committee

Carl Anthony
Joan Bieder
Claire Cummings
Ellen Friedman
Terry Gamble
Mark Hertsgaard
Van Jones
Anna Lappé
Jerry Mander
Bill McKibben
Susan Moon
Michael Pollan
Robert Reich
Terry Tempest Williams

Resident Quotes

"These days a blessing
The safety and security of this shed
This chair on the porch looking out
So I could look in
After seven years a book completed.
A leap. Thank you. Thank you."
Terry Tempest Williams,
Naturalist and Author, Refuge

"The landscape of sky, marsh, and bay flowing to the sea helped concentrate my mind. I loved the quiet. I loved the wild garden overlooking the wetlands below and the hundreds of birds circling above. It is rare and wonderful to feel so quietly cared for--so completely supported and encouraged."
Chris Desser

"I wake up to the sound of two red-tailed hawks screaming for joy.
They soar low over the pasture, keen eyes hunting. I shake off a dream
and return to my desk, to a story asking to be told. I am so grateful for
this opportunity to discover, in the midst of a demanding life, the freedom
of poetry, the gift of art."

Phil Klasky - Director and Poet, Bay Area Nuclear Waste Coalition

"I've gotten a tremendous amount of work done here at Mesa, the final 40,000 words of a 60,000 word book. This retreat hasn't been good; it's been vital."
Jim Motavalli, Editor, E Magazine, and Author, Forward Drive: The Race to Build the Next Generation of Clean Cars

"I find the time to contemplate the timeless. That is the gift of this spot."
David Morse - Author, The Iron Bridge

Download "Holding Still", a journal entry graciously shared by Christina Ammon.


2009 Resident Biographies

Resident Biographies 1999 - 2008


Contact Information

Susan Page Tillett
Executive Director, The Mesa Refuge
PO Box 1389
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it