Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Overdue Hawaii Recap (With Pictures!)

If you're like me and living somewhere where it's cold, rainy, and decidedly un-springy, then hopefully seeing some bright, sunny, cheerful pictures will rest your sore eyes and get you excited for Summer! (And not, in fact, make you more miserable...)

I still have my Hawaii tan, but the warmth of the sun and the tropical flowery smell is beginning to fade. So what better thing to do than immortalize it with a recap post! L. and I flew out to Hawaii from cold, rainy Boston on Wednesday, March 24 around 8 a.m. Just as a note of reference, we didn't land in Hawaii until 11 p.m. That's a LONG day of traveling. When we did land, everything was dark, but the muggy air, the fact that I didn't need a sweater at midnight outside, and the smell of flowers let us know that when we woke up in the morning...

...we'd be seeing this. And that's exactly what we did. On our first day in Princeville, which is the area of Kauai that we were staying on, we went to visit L.'s aunt and uncle who lived a few minutes away, in Kilauea, on a cliff JUST ABOVE this private beach (lucky ducks!). Kilauea and Princeville are on the North side of the island, which is a little less sunny (read: more rainy) and a little more residential, rather than the touristy spots. Accordingly, our beach was completely deserted. We walked down these vertical stairs built right into the side of the cliff--something like 285 in all, to get down here, but it was so worth it.

We spent Thursday hanging about lazily while L. and I adjusted to our jet lag (we were passed out by 10 p.m. and I was up bright and early at 7 a.m. each morning, which allowed me to tear through multiple novels by the end of our trip.) We had a great homecooked dinner of salad with goat cheese and homemade balsamic dressing (my favorite!), chicken and fish, and cornbread, which was heavenly.

Friday L. and his dad went golfing, so I spent the day shopping with L.'s mom and L's aunt, which is when I found that beautiful dress I posted about. (Note: I still haven't found an alternative! If you want to help, leave the link of your favorite place to online dress shop!)
On Saturday, L. and I went ziplining! For those of you who haven't done it, it's a MUST. I've been twice now--once in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with Big Relationship, and now in Hawaii. It's an amazing feeling to be completed suspended hundreds of feet above rivers, valleys, canyons, and even trees. Here I am about to fly through the air:

On Sunday, L.'s mom and I decided we'd go watch the boys play golf at the Princeville Golf Club, since it's right on the ocean and was supposed to have beautiful views. We forgot to take into consideration that the boys get quite grumpy when they play golf, since both are uber competitive (L. was the captain of his high school golf team and is really good) and hate to lose. Needless to say, with the boys getting grumpers L.'s mom and I decided to make our own fun, which consisted of creeping in all the huge beautiful houses right off the course (you could literally see into people's living rooms), and munching on all the yummy dried fruit and nuts we had bought from the Kilauea equivalent of Whole Foods called Papaya's. Too bad we made the classic mistake of feeding some nuts to some of the wild chickens that roam EVERYWHERE in Kauai. (They used to be kept in cages all over the island but years ago a huge storm broke open all the cages so now they are all over the place.) The chickens FOLLOWED us around the golf course and when we left the cart, we heard a big PLOP! and turned around to see a chicken trying to make off with our entire bag of nuts and fruit! It weighed more than him!

Here's the guys on one of the last few holes. I think the reason they look so happy is because they were almost done!

After golf L.'s mom and I announced we needed to relax with a drink, and the boys agreed. So we went to the St. Regis Hotel in Princeville, which is possibly the most beautiful hotel with the most beautiful views I've ever seen. We ordered some drinks on the balcony and watched the sunset over the ocean.

Everyone should be SO SAD that I didn't get any pictures of the burgers we got here too. Let me tell you. These were the BEST burgers I have ever had in my life. We met people who literally flew to Kauai to get these burgers. (And to go to the beach, blah blah blah).

On Tuesday, we all packed up our things and left our vacation home on the North side of the island and made our way down to the South side of the Island, which is known for being sunnier and generally more resort-y. That was fine with me and L., since all we wanted to do was sit on the beach, bask in the sun, and read books.
Here's the North side of the island again, for comparison. Remember that this side is more residential, with more greenery, and is a bit more humid and rainy. Not too bad, right?:

Now here's the view from the resort on the South side:

Mmm, Mama like. The South side was full of swanky hotels, swanky restaurants, and gorge views. Call me the opposite of old-fashioned, but I loved it. We got gelato every night, which, if you know me, know that gelato/ice cream are possibly all I need to survive. We ate at so many great restaurants, including one called The Red Salt, which had possibly the most delicious chicken I've ever had in my life. It melted in my mouth. Their name comes from the delicious, unsalted butter they serve with their bread, and the tiny bowl of red salt that comes with it. You spread your butter on the bread and then sprinkle the crunchy salt on top. It was SO addictive. Red salt, melt-in-your-mouth chicken, and a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and I was a happy camper.

(Red Salt image from Ko'a Kea Resort)

And look who we found one day when we were lounging on the beach! What a cutie! Hawaiian Monk Seals tend to just hang out and sleep on the beach all day. Combine that with my wine, chicken, and red salt, and I would never ask for anything ever again.

L. and I would have been perfectly content to snorkel all day long, but on Thursday everyone decided we should go to the "Grand Canyon" of Hawaii, which is actually pretty amazing, once you get up there. Too bad for me and L., we're both super motion sickness-prone, and the drive up the windy, tiny roads left both of us feeling pretty miserable. I may or may not have thrown up a little. The view was almost worth it:

On Friday it was time to come home and I can't say I wasn't more than a little depressed. Having been back in the misery of college life, replete with mountains of papers and obligations and very little sun, for about a month now, our trip almost feels like it never happened. L.'s aunt and uncle invited us to come back and see then whenever we'd like. Oh, if only they knew how much we plan on taking them up on that offer...


  1. hey michelle- looks like you had fun! okay so i'm bridesmaid dress shopping and trying to keep it cheap so people don't have to spend a lot... thought i'd just pass along what i have found so far.
    www.bluefly.com is great but still expensive
    those are like cheap dresses made in china that just imitate runway dresses, but for a one-time event might just work?
    also jcrew has sales on some of their dresses sometimes, so you might be able to score one there. i'll pass along other things as i find them. i haven't picked dresses yet so i'm no expert, but i'll let you know if i find any more for you! good luck!

  2. Ooo thanks so much for the links Maureen! Have you found your actual dress yet/do you know what color bridesmaid dresses you're getting? So exciting!

  3. So many beautiful pictures! It looks like you had a GREAT time!

  4. It was SO wonderful. I'm dreaming of the day I get to go back...

  5. What a great post and pictures are beautiful!

  6. Color me jealous. I'm dying to go to Hawaii! Gorgeous photos!

  7. Diana-- Thanks so much! Luckily Hawaii is such a beautiful place, since believe me, I am not a skilled photographer by any means!

    Kristin-- I had never been, but I'd love to go back! I'm sure you'd enjoy it! Maybe if I win that beach tote I can bring it next time I go ;)