Tucked away in a woodland hollow on a path in Orinda’s Tilden Park is an itty-bitty postal station that looks like it was built by a fairy bureaucrat, and which regularly receives letters from hikers and children looking to have a twee exchange with the creatures of the forest.
Installed in December of 2013 in a tree at a fork on the park’s Curran Trail, the tiny post office was not expected to last very long. The original office consisted of a miniature mailbox in front of a pint-sized office complete with desk, lamp, a thimble-sized birdcage, and tasteful art on the wall. It looked for all intents and purposes as though a studious squirrel had set up shop in the tree. The creators of the post office left little letters in the mailbox and after a couple of months simply left the whole thing to exist in secret. Much to their delight, when they returned to the spot six months later, they found that instead of deteriorating under the weather and woodland creatures, the post office had seemed to expand! Wanderers who had stumbled upon the post office had added decorations, like miniature wall maps and trinkets on the desk; new notes had even been written and left in the mailbox.
Soon the creators were regularly checking the mail and having whimsical exchanges with unknown recipients who wrote letters to fairies and field mice.
The tiny post office still sits in the tree to this day, now often distributing bite-sized newspapers (“The Small Times”) alongside the little letters. The office continues to grow and change, occasionally being rearranged or redecorated, but always providing a sense of wonder for all those lucky enough to find this postal knothole.
Know Before You Go
Park in the "Brook" picnic area in Tilden. The post office is across the creek, at the start of Curran Trail.