Adventures in Hollywood Land

Kelli’s Take

Last week Teri and I traveled “over the hill” to Hollywood.  Well, I’ve been to Hollywood many times before, but this was a totally different experience.  We zoomed past the Hollywood Bowl on Cahuenga, I usually turn right on Franklin, “hey aren’t we going to turn right?”   We turned LEFT making our way to “Franklin Village” and beyond.  Whoa, off the beaten path.  First things first, we stopped at Gelson’s. Teri needed a turkey meatball fix from their deli.  Gelson’s is the Byerly’s of LA. (you Minneapolis people will know what I’m talking about). Honor your cravings.  It was just the right fuel for our adventure.

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 Teri’s Take

 I’ve been a fan of Franklin Village for awhile, back when the Gelson’s was a Mayfair!  (you LA people will know what I’m talking about! LOL), but I have never really got out and walked the neighborhood.   Even more bewildering to me I have never been to the top of Beachwood Canyon, where you can park and literally hike to the back of the Hollywood sign.  I usually have just made it half way up to the Hollywoodland gates into Beachwood Village, with it’s cool mid-century modern market, small cafe and a eccentric vintage store.

The day of our adventure was DIFFERENT!  I checked off quite a few bucket list items.  Sometimes I pinch myself with the wonder at living in a place where people travel from all over the planet, pay tour operators and transmit selfies of themselves in iconic spots that are just a short car ride away from my home.

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 Teri’s Take

Drive or walk through the stone gates to Beachwood Village which is the entry to Hollywoodland. Park and visit the market to pack up on wine/cheese/food/water for your hike.  Or skip it and have lunch at the Cafe in this charming European style burg.  On the day of our adventure I was so happy Kelli was driving because I kept gaping at the lovely homes lining the winding streets and  insisting she stop every few blocks so I could take pictures!  Anyone who thinks LA is not home to diverse, beautiful design, needs to come check out his hood.  Nuff said on that.14 - 18 14 - 24_MG_5218 _MG_5211 14 - 2314 - 19_MG_5237

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 Kelli’s Take

At first look, Hollywood is not what is portrayed in the media. (When you go the other direction on Franklin.)  I remember my niece taking a Spring Break trip to LA from Minnesota, and only experienced the ugly underbelly of the area. It wasn’t as shiny and glamorous as she had pictured, and didn’t make her want to come back.  In LA the beautiful and trashy areas coexist just blocks from each other. Please come back. The different layers of LA are what make it an intricate piece of artwork.  Through the stone arch gate of “Hollywood Land” you find a quaint village.  A florist, cleaners, cafe, very cool vintage store and a small market with groceries, wine and a deli counter.  The sandwiches looked great for just five dollars.  What more do you need?  I would gladly live in one of the gorgeous houses in the Hollywood Hills, and never leave.  Did you see the free library picture?  How cool is that!

Teri’s Take

We had heard about this secret garden with a Wizard of Oz theme in the hills, so we googled it and found the address.  (Another reason to love google!). Alas, it was closed because…well, it’s a secret!  We took a few snaps from the tiny windy street before we saw that sign asking for NO PICTURES!  Oh well, we will return and hopefully the magical place will be open.


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 Kelli’s Take

Love that we found this little magical garden of “Oz” in Beachwood Canyon.  If you didn’t know about it, you wouldn’t know about it.  Evidently there are more secret gardens in LA, so we’ve got more exploring to do.  So sorry we couldn’t get in through the gate, even though we had read it was open on Thursday from 10am – 2pm.  The garden was created by a private owner and the story is that she gave the keys to the gate to the neighborhood kids, so they’d have somewhere magical to go.  The sign said “no pictures”, but we couldn’t resist.

Teri’s Take

One of a number of Secret Stairs in Beachwood Canyon.  This one was right off Beachwood Dr. and was beautiful with a succulent garden planted between the stairs.  It was about a couple of hundred steps and it’s quite a good work out.  Plus it’s steep!  I had a moment where I thought I was falling backward…Whew!  But that moment of terror was replaced when I made it to the top and felt like I was in a tree house!14 - 20 14 - 17 14 - 16_MG_5281 _MG_5271 (1)

 Kelli’s Take

My eye caught the sight of the staircase.  I had read about the “Hidden Staircases of LA”, but had yet to discover one.  I was driving and found a parking spot along Beachwood Drive. (2695 N. Beachwood Drive is the staircase location)  I had Teri jump out and check it out first.  Honestly I’ve had a few parking tickets lately, and I wanted to make sure I deciphered the parking signs correctly.  What a find.  The stone stair case, nestled in the lush hillside among the gorgeous homes made me feel like I was in Europe.

Teri’s Take

Hike or ride horse back up, up, up to the Hollywood Sign.  We chose a hike even though we weren’t wearing sensible shoes.  It’s a nice hike and not too tough.  Lot’s of kids, dogs and horses. On your way you get a great shot of Burbank, Forest Lawn and the east Valley. At the end you’ll be rewarded at the top when you are literally standing twenty feet behind the iconic Hollywood sign with views of the city and Lake Hollywood sprawling majestically before you.

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Kelli’s Take

All I have to say about this is how can you not go to Hollywood and not want to get close enough to “almost” touch the sign AND who’s in for the Sunset Ranch Famous “Dinner Ride”?

Teri’s Take

After our hike we drove back down the hill to Franklin Village.  Full of cool shops, eateries, a small theater and possibly the best people watching this side of Highland!  I got a really cute maxi dress for $20 at Native.  TWENTY DOLLARS!  A dream come true!  Franklin Village is  a friendly place with lots of LA archetypes just hanging out being so LA!

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  Kelli’s Take

The shops and restaurants in Franklin Village are very eclectic and fun.  We spent quite a while in a fun boutique called “Native”.  Great clothes and jewelry and a savvy very friendly owner.   Teri bought a great dress and we had a cold beer.  How can you beat that.  They also have another location in Eagle Rock.  Interesting people along the way.  Did you see the shot of the two girls sitting drinking young coconut (one recovering from a nose job)…so LA.

Teri’s Take

Last stop was the Best Western Hotel on Franklin, where we at at the 101 Coffee Shop and admired the mid century vibe.  There is easy parking off Carmen Ave. so we parked and strolled through the fun lobby that featured a vintage movie light and old school wardrobe photos of movie stars.  See the Marilyn shot.  The restaurant itself was in the film Swingers and the food was delicious!  They also serve IPA craft beers and some interesting wine. Bottom line; the food was great, the decor was groovy and as the sign outside says, it’s the ‘last cappuccino before the 101.


Kelli’s Take

I had read about the 101 Coffee Shop recently because it was listed as one of the best diners in LA.  My husband and I have a passion for Mid-Century Modern and this place fits the bill.  It’s kitchy, yet classy.  The food was good.  I had mushroom taquitos with Mexican roasted corn.  Not your typical diner food, but they have the standard fare too.  We worked up quite an appetite during our adventure.

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So that was our day!  What an adventure and one I highly recommend! Instead of taking out of towners to Rodeo Drive or Hollywood and Highland, this little adventure will not only give them a great feel for the city, they’ll get a some good food out AND a good work-out!  and really, isn’t that what LA is all about!?






To see where we were and how to get there

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