March 17, 2013

From Maui with Aloha (aka love)

After 2 stop overs and 3 flights from JFK to SFO to LAX to OGG, Herb and I arrived in Maui on Saturday night exhausted. This was Herbs second trip to Hawaii, but first time on Maui and I believe it was my 7th time there. I wanted Herb to have the benefit of seeing how much this island had to offer so we moved around the island staying in 3 different areas. 

The first 2 nights, we were in a condo in Wailea on the South/East Side of the island. Where I have previously stayed a few times. I always found it to be conveniently located, clean and not expensive. Really when I am on vacation, not much of my time is spent in the hotel... especially when there is so much to do.

When we awoke on Sunday morning, the first thing we needed was BREAKFAST (of course). One on my fave breakfast spots is Kihei Caffe where they serve the tummy bomb, Loco Moco which  consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. Being the food pusher that I am, I convinced Herb he had to try it and I opted for egg whites, portuguese sausage and rice, which is also a hawaiian breakfast staple.

We spent time at Big Beach located in Makena State Park and Ulua Beach Snorkling.
This was on Sunday, our first day in the sun. Can't you tell?

Wailea is also home to one of the Four Seasons. I highly suggest having a spa treatment and lunch there if ever in the area. It is one of my favorite things to do.
My yummy salad with lobster, crab and shrimp.
Herb + Magarita = Happy
I was very relaxed after my Thai Massage at the Spa and Mango Margarita at the bar.

Next we were off to the North/West side of the Island to Lahaina Town for 4 nights. We happen to be traveling during Mercury Retrograde. I think this may be the first time that this astrological cycle may have worked somewhat in my favor. We were booked to stay at the Outrigger Aina Nalu located in Lahaina, but they overbooked. So, they offered us an "upgrade" to the Outrigger Kapalua Villas located about 15 minutes north. Even thought I would have like to stay in Lahaina where many restaurants and shops were walking distance from our hotel, I figured it would be a good opportunity to check out another area. The Villas were spacious, but decor was a bit dated and looked like it would be the perfect villa rental for "Herb and Naomi from Boca Raton". 
Regardless, the view from our Lanai was gorgeous and had a great view of the sunset overlooking the golf course.
While on this side of the island, I planned to surf. I organized for Maui Surf Clinics to take me out in the water for the 5 days we were there. Again, this I had previously taken classes with them in April 2006, pretty much when I started surfing. (I can't believe it's been that long and I still find myself to be a beginner/intermediate surfer. So, not an easy sport.) The waves at the Lahaina Breakwall were pretty small, which actually I didn't mind since I was not in good paddling shape having not surfed since October. I surfed everyday for 2-3 hours. The 3 first days were with Billy, who taught me in 2006 and has since given lessons to my friend Michelle. He gave me some great advice about some bad habits I have learned and I am really excited to surf more now this year. FYI: I heard that the waves are much better and there are more spots in the area to surf in the summer.

I had a Reality Celebrity Sighting while at Star Noodle, where one of my favorite "cheftestants" (as they have branded them on Bravo) from Top Chef Seattle, Sheldon is head chef. At 6pm on a Wednesday there was a 45 minute wait... it was totally worth it. YUM.

After surfing on Saturday morning, we stopped to pick up our camping rental gear in Kahului, which is located near the airport.

The headquarters for was located in the Whole Foods Parking lot. 
The drive to the North/East part of the Island, Hana takes about 3 hours on lots of windy crazy roads. We wanted to make it to the camp grounds before dark, not only to avoid the drive at night, but also so we could see as we were setting up camp. 

2 nights were spent camping in Wainapanapa State Park. Shockingly, I actually didn't mind it as there were actual bathrooms very near by and we were close to the ocean.

We stocked up on goodies at Whole Foods before driving out to Hana and grilled a few times.

The park is located on a black sand beach and we took a hike over the lava rocks along the ocean.

The last two nights of our stay were spent in the town of Hana at the Hana Kai Maui. My friend Adrian recommended it and I would definitely stay there again in condo called the "Keanini". Hana is a sleepy, small town with plenty of hippies and burnouts but also beaches with sand ranging from black, to red to just brown and silky. I had never stayed in Hana longer than just a day trip and I am glad that I decided to stay.
The view from our Lanai at the Hana Kai.
While in Hana, you must visit the Haleakala National Park, Kipahulu District. This is where the Seven Sacred Pools are located. We started low near the ocean and then hiked up 2 miles to a huge beautiful waterfall. I had been here previous years and don't recall ever doing the long hike up, but I have to admit that for a non-hiker it was worth the trek.

Aloha and Mahalo Maui!