The Mesa Refuge is a residency for writers, journalists, and other creatives located in Point Reyes Station, California, an hour north of San Francisco. It sits beside the San Andreas Fault, literally on the edges between land and water, metropolis and wildness, busyness and quiet. Our residents are mostly focused on “ideas at the edge” of nature, human economy, and social equity. Here writers enjoy time and space to connect with their muses and a supportive community, before going back into the world.
We welcome both experienced and emerging writers and creatives who are addressing the pressing issues of our time. It is our priority to support writers focusing on these areas we value: nature, the human economy and social equity.
Through public conversations and events, Mesa Refuge connects our leading-edge alumni from around the nation with West Marin, contributing to a rich tapestry of conversation that is helping to change our world.
The Mesa Refuge was founded in 1997 by writer and entrepreneur Peter Barnes.
Peter wrote his first book while living on a ranch near Point Reyes Station in 1969. Later, he spent time at several writer’s retreats and saw, time and again, how a few weeks of “writing at the edge” could be transformational for emerging writers and rejuvenating for established ones.
In 1995, after retiring as founder of Working Assets, Peter purchased the home and studio of renowned painter Sam Francis, which had been built by local architect Jon Fernandez. This property, with its beautiful gardens and breathtaking vistas, became the Mesa Refuge.
Since 1997, more than 600 writers have lived and worked here. Our alumni include Michael Pollan, Terry Tempest Williams, Anna and Frances Moore Lappé, Krista Tippett, Natalie Goldberg, Raj Patel, Lewis Hyde, Daniel Ellsberg, Rebecca Solnit and Van Jones. Find out more about our alums here.