Louise Speaks: Well once we finished Route 66 and since I have a daughter than lives in Southern California, we decided to finish the list from Patricia’s Book “1000 Places To See Before You Die” and tour the sights of Southern California. Patricia lists many areas that are just miles apart. That’s how California is, you cross the street and you’re in another city. So over the next couple days we went back and forth through out the Los Angeles area. For blogging purposes, I’m going to lump the attractions in each city together even though we may have seen them on different days. Mapquest was not my friend in doing this itinerary.
Beverly Hills being it’s own city is surrounded by Los Angeles on three sides and West Hollywood to the East. Beverly Hills was originally a Spanish ranch where lima beans were grown. The city of Beverly Hills was incorporated in 1914 by a group of investors who had failed to find oil, but found water instead and eventually decided to develop this area into a town. By 2013, its population had grown to over 34,000 residents. Beverly Hills is sometimes referred to as “90210”, one of the primary zip codes in the country and is home to many actors and celebrities.
The city also includes the famous Rodeo Drive (pronounced Ro-DAY-o) shopping district. This shopping district consist of only 6 square blocks but will leave you with a bigger than life impression of the rich and famous. This shopping district is also known as the Golden Triangle as it is framed by Santa Monica Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard and Canon Drive…the heart of Beverly Hills. Here you will find big ticket stores like Tiffany’s, Harry Winstons, and every designer imaginable. We felt so out of place, we didn’t even want to stop and park as every car was a BMW or Mercedes. Our Toyota just felt out of place. The idea of “window shopping” just didn’t seem fun. The city must know this as they actually have a Trolley Tour to just take you through the shopping district.
At the end of Beverly Hills and on Sunset Boulevard is the Beverly Hills Hotel. Affectionately known as the Pink Palace because of it’s outside color. Construction on The Beverly Hills Hotel began in 1911 and the hotel was finished in 1912. The Beverly Hills Hotel was the first substantial building project in what developed into Beverly Hills. Over the past 100 years, Hollywood stars have enjoyed the timeless glamour of this dramatic setting. Being in the center of a huge city, the relaxed atmosphere and seamless service adds to the perfection of this hotel. The hotel is surround by 12 acres of lush, tropical gardens and ever exotic flower imaginable.
Remaining faithful to it’s original architecture, the hotel has been renovated to preserve it’s supreme level of comfort and flair. You can stay in style in a luxurious room, a spacious suite or a secluded private bungalow. The lowest rate we were told was $555.00 a night. The outdoors is equally luxurious. The palm tree lined pool comes with private cabanas, and complimentary poolside ice cream sundaes and mojito pop treats all day long.
The Museum of Television and Radio is quite a unique place. It is actually a shrine of how the residents of Beverly Hills made their fortune. You are actually able to go into the museum and request a favorite show from a collection of more than 120,000 programs covering 85 years and view the program in a private cubicle.
In the same neighborhood is an old Deli called Nate & Al’s Deli, which was a favorite hang out of Groucho Marcs and Doris Day. There are always stories being told by patrons and the staff. Some of the stories they have just heard themselves and other stories from the old timers, they actually experienced.
Just outside of the busy section of Beverly Hills is Greystone Park home to the Greystone Mansion. The mansion is a Tudor style mansion on a landscaped estate with distinctive formal English gardens. The 55-room, former residence, is 46,000 sq ft and is situated on 16 acres of land. At the time it was built, it cost over $4 million and was the most expensive home built in California up to that time. Originally the estate was a gift from an oil tycoon to his son, and his family. There is a bit of history to the mansion however, as the original owner died in a guest bedroom in a murder-suicide with his secretary. The official story indicated the secretary murdered the owner either because of a “nervous disorder” or inflamed with anger over not receiving a raise. Others point out that the owners gun was the murder weapon. The owner was not buried in a Catholic cemetery, with the rest of his family, indicating that he had committed suicide. Both men are buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA within a few hundred yards of each other.
In 1963, the new owners of the estate planned to subdivide the property and demolish the mansion. Beverly Hills stopped the demolition by purchasing the mansion. Following the purchase of the estate by the city of Beverly Hills in 1965, the property became a city park in 1971 and was subsequently added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The house and grounds are often used in film making and television productions. The house’s descending staircase is one of the most famous sets in Hollywood. In fact while we were here they were filming something on those exact stairs.
The current use of the Greystone Mansion is abundant. Many festivals, the Hollywood Ball, movie premiers, and many other public and private affairs are held in the mansion or on the grounds. More than 65 movies and television productions have been filmed on the grounds of Greystone Mansion. There are posters throughout the park listing the scenes of such productions. Most popular may be “Body Guard”, all 3 “Spider Man” movies, ‘Star Trek” and the “Muppets Movie”. TV series like the “Bold and the Beautiful”, “Murder She Wrote”, “Revenge” and “Remington Steele” were all filmed here.
We walked around the mansion for quite some time and just imagined what it must have been like living here as a small child and as an adult with such grandeur.
Today is a beautiful summer day. The weather is perfect with a slight breeze and being in Beverly Hills was great. We visited several other stops on our list but will blog about them separately. Beverly Hills is a great place to take out of town guests and it is a tourist attraction, but with so much beauty we really didn’t seem to mind. I would rate Beverly Hills an A. It’s just a great place to drive around, look at the luxurious homes, the well manicured lawns and the colors of many many flowers and shrubs.