The luggage is back in the basement. My sunburn has peeled away. My photos were edited, oh, last week sometime. I keep thinking I need to write a little something about my trip to Hawaii, and since summer is moving right along (we had our one day of sunshine on Tuesday; that seems to be all we're getting), I better put down the highlights of the Big Island before I move on to writing about this island.
I love Hawaii. Oh, how I love it. I've been to Oahu once, and Kauai three times. I'm not sure I would have chosen to visit the Big Island except that my cousin has a house there, and her generosity in letting us stay there allowed us to vacation relatively inexpensively.
Now that I've been to the Big Island, I would absolutely go back. Did you know it has 12 of the world's 14 climate zones? Did you know it has two of the best beaches in the US? Yep, there's tons to do there, though we didn't do much since our primary objective was to just relax (plus we had Addie, plus Megan is pregnant). By the way, if you're thinking of taking a trip there, I highly recommend getting Hawaii The Big Island Revealed. We used it while we were there, and it's a great guidebook. Lots of our finds were because of the book.
In order to keep myself on track, in no particular order, here's my Top Ten Favorite Things from my trip.
1. Golf carts are awesome.
Even though we rented a car, my cousin has a golf cart at the house that can be used all over the resort property. We have a golf cart here on the farm (two actually), but if there is such a thing as a tricked out golf cart, this was it. Turn blinkers, radio, headlights, windshield wipers, seatbelts--a totally awesome ride. And we got plenty of "sah-weet ride!" comments from people. We used it to zip around to the grocery store and beaches and restaurants, and Addie loved it.
2. When in doubt, just go to the beach.
The house is in Kulalani on the Mauna Lani Resort property (click on the link to get an even better photo of the beach), and there is a special beach just for residents. No beach in Hawaii is private, but this beach was certainly not crowded.
We hung out there a couple days, ate at the restaurant twice, and always felt good knowing that we had a default location to hang out at if we needed one.
We did see a non-sandy beach our first day. Addie got her toes in the water. Touching the Pacific Ocean milestone? Done. June 1.
She didn't like it much. Too cold.
We also hung out at Hapuna Beach, and it was the quintessential Hawaiian beach. Long stretches of sand, lots of families playing in the surf, gorgeous blue water. So fabulous.
We'd walk around, eat snacks from the cooler, and talk and talk and talk. I don't think Megan and I could ever run out of things to talk about!
3. I love palm trees.
I kept wanting to take pictures of palm trees and then realizing that, of course, how many pictures of palm trees does a person need? I want one though. In my yard. Is that too much to ask?
I love everything about palm trees except the possibility of having a coconut fall on my head. That sounds risky.
4. If I ever competed in an Ironman...which will be never.
The weekend we were there, a neighboring resort was hosting a Half Ironman. We happened to be out and about on the day the race happened, and so we saw the cyclists (as we headed out to breakfast), and then saw the runners as we were zipping around the golf cart exploring the area. We did our cheering duties as we zoomed past them, and suspected some of the organizers thought we were odd because we accidentally kept going past the same checkpoint. (Yes, we're here. Again. Nevermind us. Just carting around like two non-athletes.)
It was fun to see such hardcore athletes, especially since Megan's hubby is competing in an Ironman in August.
In another stage of our life, we might be inspired by such dedicated athletes. In this stage of our life? We were happy to be watching rather than participating.
5. Hawaiian Farmer's Markets are just like Washington Farmer's Markets.
Except around here, no one sells fresh limes. Or lemons.
Or macaroons from local coconuts.
Otherwise, though, totally the same.
This little market was up in Hawi, and we thought we better sample some of the baked goods. We were not disappointed.
6. Take the road as far as it goes.
Though I'm sure most visitors to the Big Island make sure they check out the volcano, we weren't up for that. So, as we followed the road north, we bypassed the turn off to the volcano, and went to the end of the road instead.
We got an awesome view, and next time we go back maybe we'll do the hike down the mountain to the beach. It looked pretty cool.
On our drive, we found the original King Kamehameha statue. There's one in Honolulu, but this is the original one that was shipwrecked on its voyage to Hawaii. A replacement was made, but then the first one was salvaged and put in a little town on the north coast. It's very...statuesque.
Also along our drive? A great restaurant: Bamboo. Yowzah. Good food.
We had smoothies in the morning. Smoothies in the afternoon. Smoothies for dinner.
Pina colada was the hands down favorite, and we fear we won't find any as good around here.
8. The adventures of the non-adventurous.
So this wasn't the snorkling, zip-lining, hiking, horseback riding, surfing kind of vacation. We still saw cool things.
Ancient fish ponds.
Decorative toilet seats.
9. Babies don't ruin vacations.
They just change the pace a little.
Sure, we worked around nap times, and didn't exactly have leisurely meals. But all in all?
10. Favorite part of all? Girlfriends in Hawaii.
For months leading up to our trip, Megan and I would text each other.
It's 80 degrees in Hawaii.
One month until we leave!
24 hours until we're on a plane!
The whole time we were there, we could hardly believe we had pulled off this trip. Of course, we pulled it off because our husbands are AMAZING (and we got cheap airfare and didn't have to pay for lodging). Since Megan and I both love the sun more than a PacNWer realistically should, this trip was exactly what we needed. If only we had a tropical vacation planned at the end of every school year.
Sunshine. Smoothies. Sand beneath our toes.
We're thinking we should take this trip again in 5 years when we turn 40. Only in five years, I think we'll leave the kiddos and bring the husbands.
Can we wait five years until we're back in Hawaii?
At least we'll have the photos to keep us happy until then!