Got back to San Francisco about a week ago and set busily out in search of a country home in which to write the book. After several days of fruitless search around Napa and Sonoma, I was struck by unbelievable good fortune. Someone in Santa Rosa referred me to someone in Marshall who referred me to this 74-year-old Italian Swiss rancher, Ernest Ghisletta, who had an empty house on his land in Point Reyes.
Well, Point Reyes is known among the cognoscenti to be the most beautiful and unspoiled section of the entire California coast. In 1962 it was declared a National Seashore — the Cape Cod of the west — but lack of funds has prevented the federal government from buying up all the ranches yet. (Recent appropriations for the Seashore now indicate that land purchases are about to be accelerated — though not so quickly that I won’t be able to finish my book.)
Anyhow, filled with excitement and expectation, Bette and I drove up to meet Mr. Ghisletta at his ranch last Sunday night. It was all that anyone could have dreamed of. A solid, 2-bedroom house that Mr. Ghisletta built himself, with all the basic amenities: hot water, gas heating, refrigerator, electric range, TV antenna, washing machine, 3 miles to the ocean, gently rolling hills in all directions, and no neighbors. Rent: $125 a month plus utilities (except water, which comes from a spring).
The weather is ideal book-writing weather. A series of sunny days (but cool, like San Francisco) alternates with a series of foggy days during the summer, leading up to September, which is the best month. The cool sun is conducive to walking, the fog to working. Nearest town is Inverness, a tiny resort village about 5 miles away. It’s 49 miles to San Francisco—1¼ hours by car. Bette and other friends will come up to visit. Right now the birds and the cows entertain me adequately. (Cow-watching is fantastic.) Telephone will be installed next week.
P.S.: Tell Uncle Max there’s no crime out here.