Monday, August 20, 2012

Greystone Mansion

Monday, August 20, 2012
My Cost: FREE!

905 Loma Vista Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

I typically do at least a little bit of research before setting off to an entirely new place that's not a park or library, but because I was so tired today I didn't really want to go out at all. We only ended up taking an outing because the kids seemed so cooped up in the house, and Vivi kept sitting on Alex, so I wanted to separate them and get a break from refereeing - yay carseats!

We piled into the van, and I used my GPS to direct us to a place I had heard about from acquaintances, but beyond the name, and the fact that chamber concerts are held there, I knew nothing about: Greystone Mansion. I've been watching a lot of Downton Abbey lately, so that's probably why a formal mansion and grounds occurred to me. But I was expecting something different - less hilly.

I started to get a sinking feeling when the entrance to the parking lot took us nearly straight uphill. Once parked, I looked around me and almost didn't get out of the car! The parking lot looks like it is an overlook and the rest of the park and mansion are all downhill, and I didn't see anything but stairs to get down. I thought about leaving, because how was I to manage two small children in a park with no stroller? But I decided at the very least to take the stroller for a turn around the parking lot and get an idea of the layout. 

There were indeed very few ramps and mostly stairs. But once we descended a bit into the formal gardens, Vivi seemed to be enjoying going up and down the stairs so much that I decided I needed to ditch the stroller and get my front carrier out for baby Alex. So that is how we managed for the rest of the afternoon. I definitely would NOT recommend this as a place to take your infants and toddlers. It would be lovely for older kids - maybe as a reward for reading The Great Gatsby? I think the ideal scenario is to come here on a date and just wander around looking at how beautiful everything is. (I seem to fantasize a lot about how nice places would be for dates. Perhaps Omar and I need to make it a more regular habit.)

Decoration on the Pool House.
The Formal Garden fountain - boy did Vivi want to go up close, but
they had placed new sod and the signs said "Keep off the grass."
I believe this is called the "Forecourt."
Vivi is sprinting back to the fountain to try again - she can't read,
so "Keep off the Grass" signs don't apply, right?

Between the Cypress Walk and the Wall.

A good shadow of me with the big hat,  holding baby Alex!
The house is only open for special events and pre-arranged Ranger-led group tours. I did take a few pictures of the exterior, but we didn't get all the way down to the lawns to get a picture of the whole house, unfortunately. (I didn't want to have to walk back up that many stairs carrying over 40 pounds of baby, in case Vivi was uncooperative.)

View from the West Courtyard looking in.
The southern fa├žade.
The Inner Courtyard and another fountain Vivi was eager to get close to!
It's sunken below the drive, so I was a little afraid she'd fall in!

This staircase to the Recreation Wing became Vivi's
favorite place for a good while - up and down, up and down!


The number one highlight was the Reflection Pond. There weren't as many reflections in it as there were swimming turtles, so I think they should rename it Turtle Pond. There were even turtles sunning themselves on a rock in the middle, and the way they stacked themselves on top of each other, I thought they were a statue until two of them slid into the water and swam away!


Just so you know, these are the posted rules of the park: No film photography without permit, no dogs allowed, no smoking, and no picnics. I saw a family violating the no picnics rule, and I saw three young girls who wanted to change into different outfits and take each others' picture get busted for the no film photography rule by a Ranger. So be on your best behavior, and leave your dogs, toddlers and infants at home!


  1. Alisha, I hope I am this energetic with two kids in tow...I'm a bit doubtful. I am so impressed with your adventures!

    1. Hey Ashlee! Not long now, eh? You'll get more energy once you're not pregnant anymore, and have a chance to recover. But trust me, I don't go all these places because I have boundless energy. It's more for these reasons:

      1. The kids get cooped up and start pulling each other's hair if we stay home.
      2. I want to leave and not look at the mess (dirty dishes, laundry, vacuuming)
      3. I get some exercise, at the very least from getting the kids, and diaper bag, and snacks, and drinks, and toys, and shoes into their car seats, then everything comes out of the van into a stroller. Then back into the van, then back into the house. I'm losing that baby weight finally!
      4. You never know what you might run into - curiosity becomes addictive!

      I kind of have a system now, and I keep some things in the car at all times like a blanket to spread on the grass, folding chairs, a big straw hat, sunscreen, and I have two water bottles that I fill and freeze and rotate each day.