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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Million Dollar Homes and a Million Dollar Sunset Picnic

**ALERT** This is going to be long post, so be forewarned! :)

Okay, you can call me a cheesy goober all you want, but I had a FANTASTIC time yesterday on the tour of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, and Hollywood Hills. Included on the tour were the homes of current movie/TV stars, former/dead stars, sites of celebrity happenings and more. IT WAS GREAT!!!

We picked Paula up at Joe's apartment about 9:30ish so we could go get breakfast. Joe had recommended a small cafe, Vienna Cafe, a few blocks from his place, so that's where we headed. It was a nice walk to the restaurant, which was good because we needed the exercise after eating the fantastic meal provided. Paula and I had Lobster Quesadillas of which there were 3 per plate and Randy had Marik's Baked Eggs which was a casserole-type concoction. We had freshly baked bread that was superb AND were given two bags of fresh bread to take with us. Oh, my. Can you say YUMMY?

After our walk back to Joe's apartment to pick up the truck, we headed over to Hollywood and Highland Avenues to find parking so we could start the adventure. Parking was accomplished and our first stop was Grauman's Chinese Theater.

That's where we were to pick up our tour, but of course, it was also on the sightseeing list. We were not disappointed. Folks were everywhere reading the stars on the Walk of Fame as well as those hand and footprints with the stars' signatures that are embedded in the concrete in front of the theater. That is no longer done - the stars just get their star on the Walk of Fame. It was so very cool to read all of those signatures from the great stars of the early years of movies - Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Jackie Mason when he was just 8 years old, Shirley Temple (her footprints were of her bare feet!), and too many more to name. I grabbed a few pics of some favorites, but it was hard to do because of the crowds and the sun casting shadows in the pictures.

Paula checked us in at the tour booth and they were able to put us on an earlier tour. We SO lucked out - we had the best tour guide in Lisa. She was bubbly, funny and was full of lots of trivia in addition to just the homes and sites on the tour. It was fun, too, that she was from Silver Spring, MD, so we had a connection there as well. The three of us were fortunate enough to sit directly behind her. And, we got to ride in a 15 passenger convertible van!! The picture-taking was fabulous. The weather really cooperated - it turned out to be a very, very sunny day with the temps in the high 60s. PERFECT!

Yes, I know - lots of CAPITOL letters in this post. Sorry, I'm still excited about our tour. :)

I took lots of pictures and I'll post a few here, but please be sure to go to this site to see all of them. Some of the highlights for me were seeing Dr. Phil's house which is gorgeous; The Viper Room which our nephew, Joe, played and of course, River Phoenix died; driving through Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Rodeo Drive; seeing the Hollywood sign and overlooking the city of Los Angeles. Of course, all of it was thrilling.

Dr. Phil's house

Overlooking LA

Greystone Mansion

Rodeo Drive

Some trivia Lisa shared with us:
  • the Hollywood sign actually was "Hollywoodland" when it was first put up; it was a real estate thing and during a mud slide the L, A, N, and D fell and was never replaced.
  • The Troubadour club was the site of Elton John's first gig and Cheech & Chong were discovered there.
  • Chateau Marmont is where John Belushi died.
  • Sierra Towers is home to Cher (two floors), Elton John (penthouse), Matthew Perry (Chandler on "Friends), and Lindsay Lohan, to name a few.
  • this is the first time Tom Cruise has ever had a home in a public neighborhood - he's always lived in a private, gated community before.
  • Christina Aguilera now lives in the house that the Osbornes lived in during their reality show.
  • Greystone Mansion is the site of many, many movies and TV shows; it's Bruce Wayne's mansion in all of the Batman movies; the home of The Green Goblin in all of the Spiderman movies; it was even the site of Luke & Laura's outside wedding on General Hospital back in the early 80s.
As I said, we had a fantastic two hours on this tour. I highly recommend Starline Tours if you're going to take a tour of LA. Ask for Lisa! :)

After we were done with our tour, we headed back to Joe's place so we could pick him up for our picnic on the beach. Joe was so generous - he planned the evening and prepared all the food for our picnic!

Before getting to the beach for our picnic, we stopped at the famous Santa Monica Pier. Lots of folks were out on this beautiful day.

Us on the pier

Randy, Joe & Paula (and some random man that wouldn't move!)
Joe took us back up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway for the uninformed :) to El Matador Beach. We were going to have a sunset picnic. To get to the beach, we had to walk down the side of the cliff and then down stairs leading to the beach. Not fun for a girl with a touch of vertigo, but I persevered and did it! I wasn't missing out on this. :)

We did have a bit of a detour to our picnic, however. As we were walking to the place Joe had picked out, Paula and I saw a seal way out of the water and it seemed to be struggling to breathe. Of course, we couldn't just leave it there if it was hurt or something, so after trying to get someone to come out, like Animal Rescue or something, Joe ended up driving to find a lifeguard who would call it in. He found one but the guy didn't seem too concerned. I guess this happens often in this area, but it was new to us! We did what we could and continued on our way.

Joe had made us a wonderful dinner - deli sandwiches, summer sausage and cheeses, crackers, pasta salad. We sat and ate and watched the sun set over the rockface and enjoyed the ocean at its best. What a way to end the day - enjoying God's creation. I think we were all a bit overwhelmed with the emotion of it.

We dropped Joe & Paula at home and got back to our place about 9:30. We were tired, but such a good tired, you know what I mean?

Tonight we're going to dinner at one of Joe's bandmates' homes - Marlon. Dillon, their other bandmate will be there as well. Then, we're going to a club/pub/bar to hear Dillon play. Should be another great night! I'll probably not post until tomorrow, 'cause you know us partiers -who knows how late we'll be out! :)

Until the next time . . .


  1. Lindsay8:20 PM

    SOoooo FUN!! Sounds like such a great day yesterday. Wish we were there to enjoy it with you.

  2. What a great post! This takes me back to 1993 when Deb and I toured LA. We had the best time! I want to go back!!!! Thanks for the memories! Great day.

  3. I forgot to tell you, my nephew is the executive chef at The Palms restaurant in Hollywood. The stars hang out there sometimes so if you get a chance stop by and say "hello".