Hawaii: North Shore Take II

On Sunday I woke up immediately dreading the begging of the end!  Jack and I kept the rental car for one more day so we could return to the North Shore and complete our loop around Oahu.  When we went to the shore Friday we only went halfway, then turned back so we were told to go back and experience it all.

A brief description of the North Shore:

“From the vast pineapple plantations near Wahiawa, to the tropical orchards of Waialua, to the more than colorful atmosphere of Haleiwa town, there’s plenty to do and see. Travel down the road and you come upon the world-renowned beaches of Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and of course Waimea Bay. Take a hike in Waimea Valley or explore Peacock Flats in Mokuleia on the Waianae Range. Stop by a roadside stand in Kahuku and pick up a fresh papaya or savor a fresh catch shrimp plate. Catch an authentic Polynesian canoe pageant at the Polynesian Cultural Center and you have the makings of a fun-filled time on the North Shore.”  (SOURCE)

We drove past the Dole Plantation and the town of Haleiwa where we visited Friday.  There were so many beach spots and we had no idea how to pick where to stop.  The one annoying thing was that we only had beach towels and not chairs so we wouldn’t be comfortable to stay and hang out for long.  The first spot we stopped was in a residential area.  We walked down an access road and came to a long stretch of empty beach.

We didn’t spend to long before we were on our way to see more.  We drove for a bit until we hit Turtle Bay.  Turtle Bay is a resort with beach access and it was where we parked our happy little butts for the day.  First we ate lunch with a view:

Jack even convinced a hotel worker to unlock us two beach chairs so we could lay on the beach and read until our heart’s content.  It was a warm but breezy day.

I watched the sun a lot this day.  I watched it travel over one shoulder to the other.  I knew the day was slipping away.  I didn’t want to go!  We stayed at Turtle Bay for almost 4 hours and I loved every second of it.  It was the longest we sat out while we were on the Island and I live for laying out 🙂  I even finished my book “The Book Thief”.

When leaving we headed back toward Waikiki by following a road.  We drove by other surf spots and beaches as well as schools, small shops, and restaurants.

We drove by the Kualoa Ranch where the filmed lost too!

Highway 3 went straight through one of the mountains!  The drive was so scenic and breath taking.  I kept my window down most of the time and stared out at the mountains and ocean as we traveled.

Sunday night Mike invited us over for his family’s Sunday dinner.  It was nice to see residential Hawaii.  His house had nice outdoor space with a table set up with a candle and some wine.  I love wine 😉

Dinner was tasty with a lot of fruity Island-y flavors: pineapple sausage, chicken teriyaki, sweet pork ribs, teriyaki hamburgers, macaroni salad, and white rice.  I drank a glass of wine and had a couple of beers and finished the night with an ice-cream cone.

Mike's daughter, Lillian

I didn’t take many pics Sunday night, but if you see the happiness on his 1-year-old’s face, you can imagine how good of a night it was!  I feel like in Hawaii life can’t be anything but good!

Hawaii was my favorite vacation I have been on so far.  Jack and I have been to Aruba, Jamaica, and Mexico and we agree that Hawaii is the place to be.  The flight home was long (it was overnight) but I didn’t sleep much.  The time change was weird.  I did catch these pics out the window of the sun setting (rising?) on our way home.

Ahhh, the memories…..

~L

Hawaii: Luau

Hey there!  I have a little catching up to do with my trip posts, and post trip posts!  They will come in bits and pieces because

1- I am in superlazy, bummed out I am home- vacation mode

2- I have some family things to do tomorrow

3- I am leaving for my annual family trip to Maine this weekend

Soooooo….

First of all- I hated coming home!  If anyone is going to Hawaii, 7 nights is just not enough.  When (yes, when not if) I go back I will stay longer and travel to different Islands while I am there.  I am also still in the process of getting back into the swing of things.  I am currently bumming that my vacation is already over!  Does anyone else get bummed when they get back from an amazing vacation?? I usually do which is why I made a conscious effort to enjoy every last second of Hawaii, but it didn’t make it easier 😦

Anyways, Saturday night we went to the luau at Paradise Cove which was recommended to us by Mike.  There are a lot of different luaus and packages in Oahu so we really appreciated the suggestions for where to go and what to get.

The luau check-in started at 5 and was about 45 minutes from Waikiki.  Jack and I set out around 4:15 and I manned the GPS while he drove.  Let’s just say, he will never give me that power again!

I accidentally typed in the address on the receipt, which was where we BOUGHT the tickets, not where the luau was.  Oooops!  We ended up driving to the Air Force Base!

When the mistake was figured out we promptly made a U-turn and headed to Paradise Cove.

We checked in and I got handed a freshly made mai tai (Jack some pineapple and cranberry juice) and pretty rock lei.

We walked around for a bit, checking out the gift shop and activities.  They also had several performances throughout the night.  The first was bringing in the fishing nets from the water.

Then there was a lot more dancing by hula girls in pretty red dresses.

And some guys dressed up as someone… I am not sure who though..they didn’t dance, they just stood there…



We also watched them pull the pig out of the ground.

We also had an awesome view of the sunset.

Dinner was a buffet that included fried chicken, macaroni salad, white rice, roast pork, salad, and a few other things I can’t recall, sorry!  We were like 3rd in line for the buffet so I loved not having to wait long and getting my food before all the rest of the people got near it.  Buffets kinda make me queasy.

The chicken was dark meat so I didn’t eat it but the salad was crisp and had a lemon-poppy seed dressing, yum!  The dessert was a banana bread with coconut frosting, fresh pineapple, and chocolate cake.  You really can’t go wrong with chocolate cake, the frosting was heavenly!

After dinner we moved from our table because it was so far away from the stage and sat on a little rock wall by the beach.

The show began with a little skit about Hawaiian culture or something and then turned to a lot of dancing.  There was even a fire dancer.  There was a lot of crowd participation in a hula lesson and in a partner dance.  I stayed FAR away from that.  I am not a crowd participator.  I like to enjoy from the sidelines 🙂

All in all a pretty good night.  I loved the drive home most because the mountains were illuminated with the street lights from the cities and made them appear like they were twinkling.

Next post is of our second trip to the North Shore including Turtle Bay and the drive down Highway 3.

Stay Tuned!

A piece of the North Shore

Jack and I got adventurous yesterday and ventured about an hour away from the hotel to Oahu’s North Shore.  The North Shore has amazingly beautiful beaches and is a world-renowned surf spot.

First stop was the Dole Plantation.

Since we left early and didn’t get a chance to eat breakfast, I took the opportunity to get a pineapple float made with Dole pineapple juice and pineapple soft server.

It was very sweet, almost too sweet.  I didn’t eat very much because my cheeks puckered up with every bite.

Then we checked out some pineapples.

and some other cool scenery

Doesn’t it look like a painting?

We drove a bit more and ended  up stopping in the town of Haleiwa.  It was a cute little town with lots of local shops to putter around in.  It reminded me of the Hawaiian sister of Farmington (the town where I went to college in Maine).

We stopped in a local organics store which was very similar to a Trader Joe’s but not.  There was even a machine that was like a coffee grinder that ground peanuts to make fresh peanut butter.  Cool huh?

Of course we hit up a local wine shop too.  The wine was pretty expensive, though local.  We didn’t pick any up because their wine is made from fruits (similar to the Vermont vineyard I visited).

It was suggested I get a shaved Hawaiian Ice at Matsumoto’s which just happened to be in the area too.  The line was long.  I waited about 20 minutes.

There were lots of flavors but I chose for a rainbow one which was lemon, strawberry, and pineapple.

I don’t know what I was picturing but this shaved ice had so much flavored syrup on it I could feel it on the back of my teeth with just a couple of bites.  I begged Jack to try it too.

Haha, my thoughts exactly.  20 minutes in line + 3 bites = waste of time and money BUT worth a shot anyway!

We spent a little time on the beach after the shaved ice incident.

The water was cool and refreshing and you really couldn’t beat the view!  The current was pretty strong too and pulled you back and forth with the waves so we made sure to stick close to shore.

We have a little more exploring to do in that area tomorrow.  We want drive back there tomorrow and see the rest of it as long as we can extend the rental car a day.

Last night we met up with Mike and his girls to watch the fireworks on the beach.

Cool happenings: there was a Hawaiian Monk Seal that was resting on shore.  They are extremely endangered with only about 1,100 of them around the Island.  It was sleeping peacefully and every so often opening its eyes and sneezing.  The are was roped off with pink caution tape to keep it from being hurt or bothered.

It's alive, don't worry!

Fireworks:

I am not liking that it is already Saturday.  I may have to blame everyone back home who wished for Friday all week.  How could you be so selfish?  Now my vacation in Hawaii is almost over because you got your Friday. 🙂  Kidding.

Tonight is a luau at Paradise Cove.

See ya

~L

Sunset Cruise

I booked Jack and I a sunset cruise for last night…

We met at the information desk of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach at 5 to check in, handed over our shoes (they weren’t allowed on the catamaran), and waited to board…

The boat was hard to get on since we were at the end of the boarding line and they were pushing it out as we got on.  Everyone sat on this netting while we got going…

We sat on the net pictured above and it was hard and itchy against my legs but it worked out OK, I sat in prime people watching territory 🙂  I love to people watch!

The crew had the boat prepped with some disco music and rum drinks for us to enjoy…

When we got a good ways off land, they turned the engines off and hoisted the sails…

Of course, the rain clouds started hovering over land as we were floating away…

Eventually the clouds caught up to us, in a big way.  It poured for a good ten minutes!  I got cold and very wet.  One of the crew said we should consider the rain a “Hawaiian Blessing”.

The setting sun was trying to get out from behind the clouds…

Doesn’t our hair look glamorously wind-swept?

Then it finally came out!  So beautiful.  It turned ocean water a very deep shade of blue.  Again, you really have to see it to appreciate so come to Hawaii (and take me back with you 🙂 )!

Dinner was at Sergio’s, an Italian restaurant in the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  I have been DYING for bruschetta so I had to have it. It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be.  That will be the first thing on my to-do list at home.  Make some home-made bruschetta.

For dinner I got eggplant parm with a side of fettucine alfredo.  Both were very garlic-y but edible.

Today we are headed to the North Shore of Oahu which is about 90 minutes from Waikiki.   Not sure what we will do while we are there yet but it will definitely involve food, beaches, and such.

See ya,

~L

Morning Run and Cheesecake

Helllloooo there! I just came back in from the most scenic and beautiful run of my life!  I didn’t really have a route planned so I don’t know how far I went.  I am guessing maybe 2 or 2 and a half miles or so.  I zigg-zagged through some streets, ran on the waterfront, through a park, past my hotel, and back around again.  My SPIbelt really came in handy because I could carry my I.D, some cash, and my camera.  I didn’t snap many pics because that takes too much coordination.

I love starting my day with a run:  so energizing!

Last night we got to walk around the downtown area of Waikiki.  It is so cool because in addition to regular street lights, they also have gas tiki-torches that lines the streets.

In one of the parks there was a Hawaiian band playing which was cool.  We listened for a few but hunger got the best of us 🙂

For dinner we went to the most Hawaiian place we could think of: The Cheesecake Factory 🙂

I haven’t eaten there in a very long time so I “splurged” and had a couple strawberry martinis through the meal.

These martinis are made with fresh muddled strawberries, sugar, and vodka.  If you remember, I tried to make these before I saw Chelsea Handler a few months ago and ended up spilling an entire package of sugar on the floor.  My home-made ones were good but these were way better!

I got the chicken picatta (no capers or mushrooms) and basically ate the spaghetti because the chicken looked just OK.  I also got a piece of the peanut butter cup cheesecake for when I got back to the room.  I ate a little more than half of it before calling it a night.

Today we are renting a car and going to the famous Hawaiian shopping center which I forget the name of right now.  Tonight is a sunset cruise!

Aloha,

~L

Pearl Harbor

I am seriously contemplating moving to Hawaii.  I mean, I would do it just so my friends and family would have a reason to come here often.  Seriously, I would take one for the team (I am good like that).

As I write I am sitting in blogger-heaven.  Let me paint a picture for you:

Ran around all day (details to follow), cracking a new, fun beer selection from the Island, listening to Hawaiian music, and looking out the balcony to a gorgeous view.

Ok, now that you are into my frame of mind, let’s go back to breakfast.

We went to ihop and got a nice seat outside.

Jack and I both tried their “new” mocha iced coffee.  In one word: ewww.  It was still kind of warm at the bottom and had a whole bunch of super sweet mocha flavoring floating on top.  I opted for a cranberry juice instead.

I also got two slices of whole-wheat French toast with hash browns and sliced bananas (I gave the floppy bacon to Jack).  Keeping with my theme of “occasional splurges” I used their very sweet and bad for you strawberry syrup.  I honestly in my life have NEVER ventured from their regular maple syrup.  What a treat 😉 , haha!  I ate the whole plate nonetheless!

Today Mike took us to Pearl Harbor.  I am not usually a “tourist attraction” type of person, but I don’t know what kind of American citizen I would be if I flew half way around the world and skipped it.  I men, this isn’t your typical tourist trap after all.

There is (obviously) a lot of history there.  The experience was very humbling.

When we got there we got out tickets for the ferry out to the U.S.S. Arizona.  It was on this ship that 1,177 members died.  Our ticket time was 2:15 so we first watched a 20 minute film that described the attack on Pearl Harbor.

From the film I was surprised to learn that when a radar reported a large number of aircrafts were fast approaching Pearl Harbor in the early morning of December 7, 1941, Kermit Tyler dismissed any fear thinking it was a fleet of U.S. planes returning from the mainland.

It was also interesting to think about how surprised the armed forces were when they were attacked.  On the deck of the U.S.S Arizona people were going about their daily duties and attending church services on the top deck.

The ferry ride to the Memorial was only about 5 minutes.  There is no cell phone use allowed to show respect.

The Memorial is three rooms.  The first is a hall of flags.  No pic.

The second is a room with 7 openings on each wall and 7 on the top to signify a 21 gun salute.  From this room you can see the sunken ship below the water as well as the parts that stick above the water.  The water is still oil slicked with oil leaking from the ship.

The third room was dedicated to the men who died when the ship was bombed.

Also, if someone was stationed on the Arizona but survived the attack, their remains can be brought back and placed in the ship by divers.


Tonight I am doing dinner with Jack and Mike then I am giving them some guy-catch up time.  I am a good girl friend like that 😉

See ya,

~L

Old Friends and New Eats

Tonight we got a chance to meet up with on of Jack’s best friends E-V-E-R, Mike.  It has been a while since they have been able to hang out in person since Mike lives on Oahu!  I was so happy to finally meet him and his wife.

Before dinner (but after my run) I took a shower and while I got ready I sipped on a Hawaiian brewed beer by the company Kona Brewing Company.

I got a six-pack of the limited edition brew (available from March to December) for the room.  “Wailua Wheat” is brewed with passion fruit but is not the least bit fruity.

Only problem?  They WERE NOT twist tops, so I had to wait for the front desk to send up a bottle opener.

The picture is blurry, yes, but the beer?  Oh, that was heavenly…

I drank it on the balcony while checking out the very beginning of the sunset on Oahu.

Dinner was at the Ocean House, which is located in the Outrigger on Waikiki Beach.  The sunset was beautiful while we waited for drinks and our table.

I had a drink called a “lava Flow” while we waited to be seated.  It was a Pina Colada with pureed strawberries mixed in.  Oh, and served with a pineapple of course!

Very sweet...

We had a wonderful table for four with an AH-mazing ocean front view.

Mike ordered the table a bottle of Rodney Strong Merlot.  I had three-ish glasses throughout the meal.

We started with a trip to the salad bar which wasn’t too “salady” (meaning there was only lettuce, tomatoes, and salad dressing) because it had rice, purple potatoes, cheese and crackers, and rolls.

The concept of this restaurant was real simple: you picked it, then YOU grilled it. That’s right- we grilled our own meat!

I got chicken Teriyaki, Jack plain-old (BOOORING) grilled chicken and Mike and his wife spit a rib-eye steak.

Jack and I also split a baked potato (which we didn’t grill ourselves) and garlic bread.

And by “WE grilled our own meat” I mean Mike and Jack took charge of the grill.  YES!  Jack grilled our chicken tonight! He didn’t even burn the restaurant down and did quite a fantastic job!

and the food was totally edible in the end!

I have high hopes for Jack’s cooking abilities upon our return to Boston!

Now I am settling in for the night.  Someone (not me) didn’t put on sunscreen during our beach/pool time today and is feeling a little red.  Hmmmmm…..

The current view from our balcony-

So amazing!

Until tomorrow-

~L