Cornell: A Rustic Retreat Amidst the Santa Monica Mountains
Tucked away in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains between Malibu and Agoura is the quaint neighborhood of Cornell. A once-autonomous region, it has since been enveloped by Agoura but continues to exude an aura reminiscent of the simple mountain lifestyle.
Cornell’s surroundings paint a canvas of majestic beauty - parkland stretches out in all directions, creating a beautiful tapestry of Malibu vistas, canyons, and mature trees. The starting point of this neighborhood is Malibou Lake, a serene private lake, accessible exclusively to members. The water is a sanctuary for boating and fishing enthusiasts, and the lake is hugged by Mulholland Highway, which meanders through clusters of cozy homes, horse properties, and ranches. While only 5 minutes from Agoura and 15 minutes from Malibu, Cornell residents are nestled in a realm that offers both the allure of mountain life and easy accessibility to celebrated spots like The Old Place restaurant, Cornell Winery & Tasting Room, and The Rock Store.
Malibou Lake: Hollywood's Picturesque Backdrop
One of Cornell’s crown jewels is undoubtedly Malibou Lake. It serves as a cornerstone for the community’s 250 residents and stands as a beacon of history and cinematic glory. Created in 1922 after the construction of the Malibu Lake Club Dam, it now serves as a popular filming venue, thanks to its proximity to Hollywood. Classic films from the silent era to modern blockbusters have been shot here, leveraging the lake's undeniable charm.
Originally an area called "Humaliwo" by the Chumash, Native Americans, its name translated to "the surf sounds loudly." This name later evolved, resulting in the birth of “Malibou.”
The visionaries, George Wilson and Bertram Lackey, envisaged a remote residential community around this lake. Their dream was realized in 1922 with the formation of the Malibou Lake Mountain Club. Yet, for nearly four years, the lake lay dry, leading to skepticism from early cabin owners. It was only in 1926 that a downpour filled the lake, triggering a days-long celebration.
Malibou Lake's cinematic fame needs special mention. Films from Frankenstein, where the monster accidentally drowns a little girl, to modern horror movies like The Ring have capitalized on its ethereal beauty. The lake's proximity to Hollywood and its versatile, picturesque backdrop make it a director’s dream.
A Whiff of the Old West in Cornell
Venturing into Cornell is a sensory delight. The aromas of open-air oakwood grills and sagebrush fields evoke memories of times gone by, reminiscent of the Old West, yet astonishingly this rustic charm is located just 40 miles from bustling downtown Los Angeles.
A visit to Cornell offers a unique lodging experience in 'The Caboose', a refitted train caboose that promises an unforgettable stay. Perched on a sprawling 2½-acre estate amidst the Santa Monica Mountains, it offers mesmerizing sunsets best enjoyed with a glass of local wine.
For food aficionados, Old Place Cornell is a gastronomic haven. It captivates you even before you set foot inside, with tantalizing aromas of red oak-grilled steaks wafting through the canyon. Built in 1884, this erstwhile post office has transitioned into a restaurant serving some of the finest American classics.
Despite its secluded feel, Cornell has been the backdrop for a myriad of films and TV shows, testament to its enchanting ambiance.
In essence, Cornell is a blend of rustic charm and modern convenience, offering an escape from the hustle and bustle while still being close to urban comforts. It’s a hidden gem amidst the mountains, awaiting discovery by those keen to experience its allure.