Monday, November 9, 2009

Vacation in Hawaii

Part 2 - Hawaii
After 3 nights in Lahaina, Maui, we flew over to the big island of Hawaii for the next three nights. We stayed in Waikoloa at the Marriott, where my brother-in-law Elton is a manager, so we got fabulous rates! Plus we got to see Elton!
Now Waikiloa is a rather remote area of coastline about 45 minutes north of Kailua-Kona, but the area is just gorgeous. Marriott has done a beautiful job on the grounds, and the pools are spectacular and very natural-looking, one with a long flowing infinity edge. And you can swim 24/7! At night when the torches are burning it all looks and feels rather magical. We spent our afternoons poolside under a gazebo, swimming and resting, and ordering drinks and food poolside.
And when we felt like it, we'd go check out the alkaline ponds between the hotel and beach, which had all kinds of interesting fish and crabs and eels living in them. The beach is actually a bay called Anaehoomalu, and it is very picturesque, especially at sundown. Palms and sunset are always such a nice combination! And at certain times of the day, sea turtles come in close to the beach to feed, and eventually make their way up onto the sand or lava rock to sun themselves, and sometimes their brood of babies too.
We were originally going to take one day and head south to Kailua-Kona, where I lived for two years, and then on south to Kealakekua and the Place of Refuge, but it was really hot, and we didn't feel like using up so much time in the car when we could spend it with Elton or poolside.
The one thing we did do on the big island was to go up north to Kahua Ranch for a paniolo-style bbq, with fiddle playing, and line dancing, and roping for the kids, and branding, and adult beverages.... And during the drive up to the ranch, the van driver kept up a really good commentary about the history of the area and the ranch itself. The big draw for me to go up there and do this kind of thing, which doesn't really sound like me at all, is the fact that I know the family that owns the ranch; I went to school with the oldest son Tim who was in my class at HPA, and his younger brother John was still in grade school when I saw him last! John is the front man for these weekly events, and he really makes a good one! And his brother Tim came up that evening when he found out that I was there. It was a really fun evening!
And all in all, we really had a great time here too!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Vacation in Hawaii

Part 1 - Maui Before I dive into the splendors of Maui, let me give you a little history on how I have been coping with vacations the past few years. In a word, poorly. I stress so much the day or two before I leave that my gut goes off the deep end. And I could on with symptoms from there, but I won't! Suffice it to say that I don't vacation terribly well, and that really stinks from my point of view. This time I had a new plan! First of all, drugs! Like some mild, short-term relaxant, which I never took. But I had it! I also started packing earlier, started making lists earlier, etc. And it worked! Dale and I had a blast! On Maui, the sun sets behind Molokai. The famous Banyan Tree in Lahaina that takes up the entire city block. So we stayed in Lahaina at a B&B called The Plantation Inn, which was absolutely charming, and we loved it, for many reasons. The decor was done entirely in Island-style Victorian Era, and it was very well-done. The gardens were also beautiful, and you could swim in the pool or lounge in the hot tub 24/7. Lahaina, was also ridiculously hot and humid! Like even the folks that live there were complaining!! So we strolled through Old Lahaina Town (which was only 2 blocks from our B&B) and poked in and out of the shops, and ate Shave Ice, and spent money, and swam at the pool, and took a sunset horseback ride one night, and another night we had a fabulous dinner at Gerard's. Dale snapped this shot of sunset for me on the way down during our sunset ride. Andi riding Jake, wearing the hat big sister Kathy bought me in Maine, to keep me from turning into a crispy critter!

Gerard's is actually attached to the B&B we were staying at in Lahaina, and they do Contemporary French Island Cuisine. And they do it really well! I can honestly say it was the best dinner I have ever had! It's certainly not cheap, but the food was excellent and the presentation was beautiful and artistic, and the portions were fairly decent too. I hope I get to eat there again....

Now we never really left Lahaina, except for the sunset horseback ride. But we were happy as clams, just taking life slowly with no worries at all. We didn't have too much motivation to move in that heat, so we didn't move much. We did however acquire a new piece of artwork for the living room, which will be sent over to us here any day now. This piece was done entirely on a flat sheet of aluminum with a dremel as the artist's tool of choice. It's an amazing technique. The Plantation Inn.