Saturday, March 29, 2014

Day Eight In Maui

Sigh… this was our last full day in Maui (we actually thought about extending our trip multiple times), but we sure made the best of it! Our day started with an hour-long photo session courtesy of our hotel, so we got up and headed down to the lobby to meet with the photographer. He was great, and it was fun getting our picture taken together as a newly-engaged couple :) Following our picture session, we had breakfast and headed out to a nearby coffee plantation that we had been wanting to see…

Pulling into the parking lot at the company store...

Cute building. We went inside and tried several of the
coffees before picking two out: Lava Flow (excellent!) & Lahaina
Red. From there, we took a self-guided driving tour around the 
fields and got to see all the coffee trees; neat stuff!

The next place we wanted to be sure to see was Maui's
Winery. It is located in Upcountry Maui, and the grounds were
beautiful! The diversity of areas on the island is pretty amazing

Here is the tasting room and main office

The tasting list… We had tried the sparkling wine before
and were looking forward to trying some of the other offerings.
We ended up buying a bottle of Maui Splash and a bottle of a red
 Syrah that was not on the tasting menu, but ended up being really good!

After our winery excursion, we headed back to the hotel, relaxed
a bit, and got cleaned up for dinner. Both of us were pretty excited for
where we were going… Mama's Fish House!! Is took us awhile to get a
reservation there, but I'm glad we saved it for our last evening; it was 
an excellent way to finish our incredible vacation

Turning off from the road...

Fantastic grounds!

…and a great view of the ocean

We got there a little early, so we checked in and had
a glass of wine at the bar while we waited for our table

The dining area- loved the almost "vintage Hawaii" ambiance

Here was our first little taste- a delicious asparagus soup

Our Polynisian style ceviche (awesome)

Some small bites of Kahlua pork and poi- also delicious

…and our main course: macadamia nut crusted magi-mahi
with a pineapple buerre blanc- mmm! We both ordered the same
thing, and I am glad, because I wouldn't have wanted to share hehe

Last, but not least- dessert: the Black Pearl (a chocolate
mousse pearl glazed with ganache and set inside a thin cookie crust 
shaped like a clamshell. Beautiful presentation, and an excellent dessert.

With full bellies and happy hearts, we headed back to our hotel and
started to pack. It was a bit sad to have to leave this awe-inspiring place,
but we know we will be back, and it was truly an amazing trip :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day Seven In Maui

After being on the road for a good part of day six, Vince and I were ready for a day in the sun…

This sums up a lot of the afternoon! I did try snorkeling for the
first time after we'd soaked up some rays though- I was nervous
before I dove in, but it was really cool! We spotted a huge sea turtle
and had fun following him for awhile. The water was a bit cloudy
that day, but at least I know I like to snorkel now :D

Something light and summery sounded good for dinner,
and this little fish taco stand near our hotel fit the bill perfectly!

BYOB at this place ;)

And great tacos! We walked around for awhile in
Lahaina that evening, and eventually worked our way over
to Ono Gelato… We totally should have checked this place out
out sooner, but it is probably good for our waistlines that we didn't!

Cute little shop


Day Six In Maui

Our 6th day in Maui was looking good weather wise, so this was the day we decided to drive the road to Hana (for those of you not familiar with Maui, the road to Hana is a scenic drive that goes almost all the way around the island… if you can brave the second half of it). We downed a couple aspirin to shake our headaches from the night before, picked up a bunch of water, a few snacks, and we were off. We headed to the town of Paia to get breakfast that day; not only was it on the way to the start of the road, but Paia is where Vince was baptized, so I was looking forward to seeing where that took place  :)

Paia Bay Coffee looked promising

The outside dining area- quaint, but very cool! It was nice
sitting outside, having our coffee, and listening to the birds

We took a quick stroll up & down the main street of Paia
and headed to the beach- this is one of my favorite beaches now

…I played in this tidepool a bit- there were a bunch of
little fish; I had fun wading in and following them around :)

We went down the beach a little further to the spot where
Vince was baptized… He finished the story about how and
why he decided to get baptized… and then… he proposed!!!

What an awesome and totally unexpected surprise that was!
I had NO idea- not even an inkling! Little did I know that he asked
my dad for permission before our trip… I was (and am) so happy!
I have never been with anyone that makes me feel as accepted and as
good about myself as he does, which just makes me love him even more

…wow! Google-eyed and happy, we headed back to the car to start our road trip :)

Our first stop was a pull-off from the road near
the beginning of a beautiful trail into the woods...

…which led us to some fantastic waterfalls & pools

We saw this neat little plant near the trail, and V showed
me something really cool! If you touch their leaves, their leaves 
close up! I felt like a little kid in Narnia hehe

Next stop: rainbow eucalyptus grove- not
super obvious at first, but just wait….


Here we are :)

The road to Hana is definitely not lacking in
picturesque scenery!

This spot made me think of the Garden of Eden

Further along, there was a place that you could
go inside a lava tube (basically a huge underground cave
that was created by flowing lava) - we had to check it out

Heading into the dark...

View looking up

Once we got away from the entrance, it was pitch black down there;
it's a good thing the stand at the beginning provides flashlights! Another
interesting fact about this particular lava tube is that it used to be set up as
a nuclear fallout shelter in case of a serious nuclear event… pretty cool!

There was another short trail that we stopped to walk 
along; talk about awe-inspiring...

Some local flora

It would be interesting to know how many different
varieties of flowers grow on Maui… they are everywhere!

At this point along the highway, the road was pretty
crazy; there are lots of places with one-lane bridges, and
the roads are narrow, windy, hilly, and a little sketchy! Very
neat though. We had just passed a particularly rough part of 
the road when we saw this sign… we decided to stop 
and see if this church was even still in use

As we got closer, we could easily tell that the church
was abandoned, but its place near a cliff with a beautiful view 
of the ocean just beyond the edge made it really stoic and peaceful

This area looked like a green version of the Grand Canyon

Finally nearing the end of the road and (yay!) back on to
pavement. This road trip definitely takes a full day, but it is 
extremely rewarding. We were pretty hungry at this point, so we
headed into Makawao for dinner, headed back to the hotel, and had
a nice relaxing evening before drifting off into blissful sleep- GREAT day!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day Five In Maui

We woke on Day Five feeling well-rested (as usual on this trip) and ready to go exploring again. The forecast was questionable, so we set out for a beach and a trail that weren't too far away from our hotel…

Got to the parking area just in time to nab a good spot and head to the sand

…pretty little trail to the beach (have I mentioned I love seeing the color green?!)

Makena Beach is also called "Big Beach;" it's
large enough for a lot of people to find their own space.
We set up our beach towels, relaxed in the sun, and had
fun watching people's dogs play (and misbehave)

Cute little beach flower :)

Just a little further down the road from Makena Beach
is a walking-only natural area reserve that we wanted to see

Almost there...

This area is really neat; it is a totally different 
landscape with a lot of lava rocks (luckily we didn't feel
like taking any, because we found out later that it is bad luck!)

Score! Tidepools :D

We probably spent almost an hour climbing on the
rocks by the beach to see what we could find, and we did pretty
good! We saw a baby eel, little fish, crabs, a spider (shudder)...

…and this guy… I am guessing some kind of sea urchin ;)

On to the trail- very cool looking area; we felt like Hobbits lol

Lava stones that look like The Giant's Causeway (neat!)

We were walking along the trail when I heard something,
so we both stopped and listened…it sounded like goats! We
waited for a second, and then three little wild goats came
out of the woodwork! Our trip was truly full of surprises!

The trail is actually pretty long- if you keep going past
the woods, it takes you way out into a huge lava field…
See that little white thing by the rock? Yeah, that's me

Aww- we started heading back and I spied
a heart-shaped puddle in a lava rock with a heart-
shaped rock inside! I'm taking that as a good omen :)

Makena Beach and the nature reserve was a great idea
and it was a great way to spend the day. We went back to
the hotel, got cleaned up, and headed out to dinner.

Monkeypod Kitchen- EXCELLENT recommendation by one of my friends!

Fresh salad with Surfing Goat Dairy cheese

One of the best curries I have ever had made with fresh Hawaiian fish

Oh yeah- and the view was awesome

Just gorgeous!

We could have called it a night, but it was Monday,
and we wanted to go back to that funky coffee shop &
check out the live music… a little nightcap couldn't hurt

Couple of the performers- they were actually pretty good!

Our favorite bartender; pretty cool guy that gave us
some tips about the island- and he made some stiff drinks :p

Small world- we were sitting at the bar enjoying the
music and ended up talking to these great gals; one of 
them used to work in Prudhoe Bay (where V & I work now).
It was entertaining to hear how it used to be back in the days
when there were not as many rules!! Sounded kinda fun...

Our lady friends were chatting it up with this guy- Willy-
and we ended up having some fun convos with him too. Turns
out that he grew up in Maui, but is a HUGE Seahawks fan, so he moved
to Seattle. What a character… But it is fun to meet characters when you're
traveling. I am glad we went back to check out the Monday night music! It
was definitely time for bed though after Willy insisted on buying us a
couple rounds… good thing the hotel was just across the street :)