Greystone Mansion: Murder, Mystery, and Movies

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Where: Greystone Mansion

Location: 905 Loma Vista Drive, Beverly Hills

Greystone Mansion sits on 16 spectacular acres of LA land just above the Sunset Strip in Beverly Hills. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, I went for a visit to the grounds to take in the solid architecture, the exquisite landscaping, and to think about what life might be like coming home to a mansion every night.  It wasn’t until later I learned, that just like in the movies, everything that seemingly looks put together on the outside, is not so much when you take a closer peak.

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What once was a private residence in the Doheny family dynasty is now infamously known as the scene of a murder-suicide crime with a mysterious twist that to this day is still not fully resolved.

Anyone who drives through the palm tree-lined streets of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood knows Doheny Drive, named after LA oil tycoon, Edward L. Doheny. In 1928, he gifted Greystone mansion to his son, Ned and his family. After an altercation between Ned and his then assistant – both men were found dead. The exact details of what happened aren’t clear. Sources say that his assistant, Hugh Plunket, killed Ned Doheny in a rage over salary; while others highlight that Ned Doheny’s gun was the murder weapon and he committed murder-suicide.

Only in Hollywood would the 55 room mansion and its 46,000 square feet, despite its dramatic history, become one of the most filmed locations in the film and television industry. How ironic that the real life mystery became home to so many fictional Hollywood ones? Today, the City of Beverly Hills owns and operates the grounds as a park open to the public.

Greystone not only hosts film and television projects, but weddings, concerts, car shows, charity events, and festivals. While the inside of the mansion is off-limits to the public, just taking a moment to see the estate is truly something special. The elegant gardens and property offer a great (and free) escape from the hustle and bustle just on the other side of the Strip. Stop by and check it out if you ever find yourself nearby… and become apart of the mystery.

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Cupcakes and L.A. Hipsters

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Location: 3337 West Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake

I love when cupcakes just appear out of nowhere, when you least expect it, and didn’t even know you wanted needed it. My rendezvous in Silver Lake to try out the grilled cheese place getting a lot of buzz continued when I noticed between bites of my sandwich over lunch the number of people walking in and out of the shop next door. Most importantly, they were exiting with cupcakes boxes in hand. Talk about the universe always working on your behalf!

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Simply put, I LOVE cupcakes (you can read my thoughts on some of my favorite L.A. places herehere, and here) and this couldn’t be a coincidence that Lark Silver Lake Cake Shop happened to be a mere 15 steps away. After devouring the best grilled cheese sandwich I think I’ve ever had, we headed over for an impromptu dessert fix.

Lark Silver Lake Cake Shop has all the fixings for a great experience. They display a large selection of cupcakes, cakes, cookies and goodies (even gluten free and vegan options) inside an inviting and charming establishment. In fact, it was so welcoming (and to be quite honest we were just dying to eat dessert by that point) that we sat in the well-dressed interior space and devoured our frosted covered carbs right there.

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The Berry Shortcake Cupcake hit my tongue 30 seconds later and my mouth did the happy dance. Let’s just say it was a sexy experience: white cake filled with “Crème Patisserie” topped with a whip creme frosting and a strawberry.

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{Berry Shortcake Cupcake – before.}

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{After.}

The City of Silver Lake and its small business owners are going to love me because not only am I fully endorsing that you get over to Heywood for the best grilled cheese in town, you have to complete that experience with a trip next door to Lark for dessert.

Here’s to killing two birds with one stone!

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Grilled Cheese and L.A. Hipsters

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Location: 3337 West Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake

The one part of town that I can’t say I spend much time in is with my east side L.A. hipsters (shout out to my friends in Silver Lake and Loz Feliz!). Admittedly, if I’m writing a blog about life in L.A., they should get more of a representation, especially since this side of town is really on the up-and-up and driving a lot of the trends. Luckily, my boyfriend heard through the grapevine about Heywood: A Grilled Cheese Shoppe and we happily crossed through Hollywood-land into Silver Lake territory. What better reason to leave our neck of the woods than to sit outside on a sunny afternoon and indulge in the comfort of a good grilled cheese sandwich? I couldn’t think of one. And the following snapshot of my meal confirmed I made the right decision:

(Feel free to click the picture to see the awesomeness up close and personal). 🙂

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{Caprese:  mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, roma tomatoes and a light walnut pesto spread on sourdough bread. Hello! Yummy!}

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What Pinkberry did for frozen yogurt, Umami did for burgers, and Sprinkles did for cupcakes, Heywood is doing for the universally loved grilled cheese sandwich. You can custom make your own cheesy number or order from the fixed menu. Since grilled cheese and tomato soup are like peanut better and jelly (well – close enough), I thought the spiced tomato soup dipper (delish!) and the spring mix salad rounded out the components for an amazing meal. I have nothing but great things to say about this place (other than the water is clearly not filtered, so prepare for that awesome tap water taste – yuck!).

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{Interior.}

Finally, good news for my wheat intolerant and vegan friends, Heywood thought of you too with gluten free bread and vegan cheese and butter options. Even better news for late night partiers, those leaving that poetry reading with nowhere to go, the girl who didn’t want to eat on her first date in front of the man of her dreams, or those who just need some comfort food, Heywood is open until 3am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I’ll see you there!

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Hollywood Farmers’ Market

Location: Ivar & Selma Avenue, Between Hollywood and Sunset Blvd, Hollywood

Somehow just being at the farmers’ market makes me feel healthier. There’s something so grounding and earthy walking vendor to vendor around organic produce, exotic foods, strawberry lemonade, warm kettle corn, fresh flowers, plants, handmade jewelry, and even live lobsters (yikes!). And of course, because you’ve spent all this money on things that expire rather quickly – you’re forced to get creative and chow down on your healthy purchases all week long.

{P.S. they’re alive!}

The Hollywood Farmers’ Market is a great place to spend a Sunday morning stocking up on produce and fresh flowers for the week ahead. I’ve been there so many times that lately I haven’t been treating it as a savored experience, but more of a “get what you need and get out of there” errand run. This has become my go to place if I’m in the mood for real fresh hot-out-of-the-kettle kettle corn, and the Greek flat bread I use to make mini homemade pizzas.

{My favorite kettle corn.}

While this place can get pretty crowded, it’s not very big. Luckily, once you learn your way around it’s not so bad. Just mentally prepare (as you always should roaming the LA streets) for a little congestion, grab a latte, and relax. I personally like the vibe of fellow semi and full health conscious nuts around me in their Sunday casual best, filling their reusable shopping bags. The Hollywood farmers’ market has such a positive and unique energy strolling, taste testing, people watching, listening to the street performers, and discovering a type of fruit or veggie you’d never even heard of before. Happens EVERY time I’m here.

While the summer season is officially behind us, there’s still much to discover as the seasons change and fruits and vegetables rotate out with it. While I’m a Trader Joe’s gal at heart, and don’t make the farmers’ market a weekly outing as many do, nothing replaces the experience of being at one.

Amoeba Music

Location: 6400 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

I don’t care how much more convenient, cheap, and cool it is to go digital; I’ll always be a fan of physically being around CDs, DVDs, and books. Yes, I love my iPod as much as the next music fiend and rarely play CDs in my car anymore; and yes, I smile to myself whenever something on-demand is instantly streaming on my screen with the click of a button; but there’s still something so enduring and solid about the real thing.

Amoeba Music needs no introduction. I’ve been here more times than I can count. It’s one of the few remaining places you can head to in L.A. to buy CDs, to scout for rare and used DVDs, or pick up an LP for your record player. Part of the fun here is just in the atmosphere, the simple elation of being around such a vast collection of art in its many forms. It’s cluttered (in a good way – makes you feel like you can find anything or that you’re digging for treasure), has that “I’m an independent record store” old dusty smell, and while the new stuff can be on the pricey side, this place rocks when it comes to hard to find titles.

My only complaint and continued frustration is that they don’t let you bring beverages in the store. Hello!?! How much more fun would this place be if you could peruse thousands of titles while sipping an iced latte? I’d sure spend more money here if I could. Caffeine affects the body like that.

Thanks to an awesome Groupon find passed my way, I spent an hour on Saturday afternoon sifting through new and used DVDs and Blu-Rays to update my collection. The problem with Amoeba is that you walk in with an idea of what you want, but then you start flipping through the inventory and get side-tracked (owning “Death Becomes Her” on DVD would be real treat once I thought about it!).

In the end, I had 4 movies I was trying to decide on and only a $30 credit to use. I walked out with two films that gave me lots to laugh and think about last year that I knew would get plenty of rotation in my Blu-Ray player: Friends with Kids and 50/50.