Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Maui: The Wrap-Up!

Mahalo (thank you) to the Islands! We are home! I tried to make a run for the exit door at the airport, but Brian wouldn't come with me so I thought it best to return home.

I've never missed someplace more in my whole life than I miss Maui when I leave. It's cold here....rainy and gray. I miss the blue/green waters, the rainbows, the sounds of the birds chirping at the first morning light and all the flowers and plants swaying in the trade winds.

Here are some extra pictures I didn't have a chance to post. Most of them came from my regular camera.



Monday, April 28, 2008

Maui: Day #8.....Our Last Day!


The trade winds cleared away the "vog" and the sun is shinning brightly. It is Sunday, our last day on Maui and we intend on filling each minute of the day with all our favorite things.

Our last walk up the Lower Honoapiilani Road past some of our favorite homes, trees and flowers. We will both miss our 7:30 AM strolls in paradise.
We drove north to Napili and ate breakfast at the Gazebo. It was a 45 minute wait, but the views made the time go by faster and in the end the breakfast was wonderful (how am I going to live without my Portuguese sausage?).

We enjoyed 2.5 hours of pool and beach time. Brian and I both completed a book on our vacation and lounged in the sun long enough to come home with bronzed bodies! No swimsuit photos, sorry!

We had our last "Happy Hour" at the Sands of Kahana. Our favorite "jewel by the pool". I must find a place in Tacoma or Portland that makes a good Mai Tai.

One last drive south into Lahaina and to our favorite "local" bar, the Lahaina Coolers. Oh, I got offered a job! I'll have to think it over.

Picked up some pasta to-go and came back to the condo for our last (and best) sunset, finally!

It's hard to see the day end! Tomorrow is back to reality.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Maui: Day #7....Nirvana=Lomi Lomi


Once again we start our day, sipping Kona coffee and watching the whales awake. The "vog" is beginning to lift and the trade winds are once again blowing. More pool and beach time and an afternoon road trip down to Kihei, Waliea and Makeena.

Brian and I picked my Pop up some golf tees at the Green and Blue Golf courses at Waliea. This area is so beautiful....lots of luxury resorts and million dollar homes.

Off to my first ever Lomi Lomi massage at the beautiful Wailea Marriott, located on the tranquil southeast shore of Maui. The spa overlooks the serene Hawaiian waters, Molokini crater and the island of Kaho`olawe.

Lomi Lomi, is the word used today to describe Hawaiian massage, traditionally called lomi , which is Hawaiian: to rub, press, squeeze, massage; to work in and out, as the claws of a contented cat. Lomilomi also means to act upon, as the spirit of God acts upon the heart. My therapist, Mary described the movement as the waves of the Hawaiian waters. Incredible and easily the best massage I have ever had.
Dinner at the condo and our first ear of corn of the season (bought at local farmer's market...sweet and delicious). Brian made some wonderful grilled burgers with Maui onion and Pinot Noir. Yum!
Can it be our last day tomorrow!?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Maui: Day #6...Sailing on the Scotch Mist II

Pioneer Inn
Pre-Sail Cocktail
Brian and I once again took to the seas aboard the Scotch Mist II for a sunset-champagne-chocolate sail on Friday evening.

Our Friday day was quiet. Good pool and beach time. Brian finished reading "Tuesdays with Morrie" in 3 days. We had a bucket of shrimp at Bubba Gump's and found a parking spot close to the "Lahaina Cooler's" - which meant an excellent opportunity for a nightcap after our sail.

The boat was full.....21 on board so a bit cramped by our standards. The volcanic "vog" is still enveloping Maui so our sunsets have been interestingly nil - with glimpses of a hazy, pale sun.

A completely different crew this sail. An old salty dog, Gene (as Captain) and two assistants, Tony and Sara-Jo. Brian and I fantasized about renting the Scotch Mist II out for a private sail, but neither one of us could come up with the $795 (maybe our next trip). The tunes were good....Brian said "sailing with the whales and drinking champagne while listening to Van Morrison was an incredible experience."

The highlight of the sail was our incredible luck with the whales once again. This time we watched an entire pod, surface, breach and frolic in the water. It is so amazing to be so close to something so beautiful - experiencing nature up close. I took some really great video (I can't wait to share with everyone and try and figure our how to possibly post to the blog).

We are "short-timers" now.....trying to squeeze in as much as possible this weekend in anticipation of our return to normalcy.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Maui: Day #5....My Birthday in Up Country

"Over all the sky - the sky!
Far, far out of reach,
Studded with the eternal stars."
- Walt Whitman

For me, birthdays have always been special. This year, my 39th is no exception. I am spending it in paradise with someone I love very much. Can't ask for anything more.
We hit the road for Up Country....a serene, quiet and cooler place. Kula is a district of songs, poems, and a conscious state of mind. High, clean and cool with towering eucalyptuses, Norfolk pines and ironwoods. A place where songbirds compose life in the vivid mornings and leave a hush at sunset as the world pauses to wait for the night.

Norfolk Pine

Brian and I thought our journey would take much longer, but we broke the trip up with frequent stops as we soaked in all the beauty of the country-side setting. Breakfast at Charley's is a tradition. They were open and serving up the most wonderful Macadamia Nut Pancakes on this planet (fire destroyed the bar area last year). The sun was already beating down in breeze, so our journey up to 2500 feet was welcomed.

Driving south on Baldwin Avenue we first came upon the little town of Makawao....a Paniolo or Hawaiian Cowboy town. Once a rough and tumble "wild west" outpost - it's now a lively "artsy" community with a main drag lined with fine art and a collection of boutiques.

Jacaranda Tree

Continuing along the Kula Highway, we were a bit disappointed with the low cloud cover, masking incredible views, but the sweet smell of the air and the cooling breeze more than made up for our lack of view. Vog (volcanic fog) began sweeping across Maui due to the on-going eruption of the Big Islands - Kilauea.

We made it to Ulupalakua, offering many treats for the eyes, palate and spirit. Our drive gave us a chance to get up close with wild horses and roaming cattle.

It's also the home of Maui's winery, Tedeschi vineyards. We sampled some unique wines in their tasting room located in the King's Cottage. This guest cottage was built specifically for the celebrated visit of King Kalakaua in April of 1874.

I begged Brian to drive 10 minutes further along the road, but the eerie remoteness and the on-coming rain proved too much for this trip. We've already travelled this back road to Hana before and neither one of us was up for the trip again.

We headed back north along the back road (Crater Road) nestled up against Haleakala Crater. Clouds enveloped the second largest volcanic mountain in the world (10,023 foot high summit), so we continued up to the Kula Lodge - and had a look around.

Kula has become a mecca for visitors looking for a glimpse of rural Hawaiian life - a longtime farming community. The lodge itself offers charming chalets and an extraordinary garden setting. The birthday girl had a chardonnay and relaxed in the mountain setting.

Our journey back to Paia took us through Haiku and Keokea, two rich - green pasture-land villages dotted with purple jacaranda flowers, which bloom every year around my birthday. The incredible beauty of this place has drawn artists from all over the world. Little studios and galleries are hidden around every turn.

Paia, is a bohemian north shore beach town where the start of the road to Hana begins. Boutiques, antique shops, fine art and native handicrafts fill the streets. Brian and I wandered around before heading just east of the heart of town to Mama's Fish House.

The island's iconic seafood house, Mama's Fish House has a unique location in a pocket-sized coconut grove, where the waves and the sun meet in perfect harmony. It's a classy, yet relaxed setting - and Brian and I had one of the best seats in the house.

Our meal was good, not phenomenal, but some of the best prepared "clean" food I have ever had. It's a pricey treat (something I had a hard time with upon review) You have to enjoy the entire "package" and realize that you are not just paying for the food on your plate, but rather - the opportunity to enjoy the ambiance and scenery of the north shore while eating fresh local fare.

Our pupus were delicious, Brian had Mama’s Macadamia Nut Crab Cakes with Fire and Ice Relish - 2 cakes each dabbed with a spot of caviar that were mellow and well seasoned.

I had the Ahi Tartare, served with tomato and goat cheese bruchetta. Rich, buttery tuna offset by the earthy, mild cheese.

Picking our entree was tough. Brian went with a wonderfully prepared King Salmon caught off the waters of New Zealand and grilled in a Ti Leaf with macadamia nuts, cilantro, lemongrass and coconut milk - along side grilled plantanes.

I debated between the Kahlua Crispy Duck and a regional fish - in the end, choosing the Uku caught over the deep reefs near Kahoolawe РSaut̩ed with Maui tomatoes, mushrooms, white wine, garlic and capers. Brian picked a wonderful Carneros Chardonnay, buttery, velvety and smooth - the perfect accompianment to our meal.

Complimentary coconut ice cream (candle included) was the perfect way to end the meal.

It was a long 50 minute journey back to West Maui. I so much appreciated Brian driving the entire day so that I could enjoy the journey.

A perfect birthday



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Maui: Day #4.....Life is Good!

Brian and I awoke to no wind and a cloud free Molokai for the first time since our arrival. We knew the day was going to be hot so we headed out for our morning walk, venturing up to the Kapalua Airport.

Kapalua Airport

Amazing views....well worth the hill climb! A clear enough day to see whales rolling in the distance.

We ate B'fast next door to our condo at the Sands of Kahana and spent some time at the beach (Brian) and pool (Stacy).

In the afternoon we drove up to Kapalua and Napili Bay and made dinner reservations and enjoyed driving around, looking at the other resorts and feeling the sun on our faces.

We had the most incredible dinner at the Sea House. We started out with pupus.....a Caprese tower and two butterflied Coconut-Macadamia Nut dusted Shrimp. Beautiful presentation and flavors.

Brian's entree was the Free Range Chicken Breast, grilled with an herb pesto and served with steamed veggies and whipped mashed potatoes. I had the Diver Scallops (4 of the most succulent I have ever tasted), bathed in a red curry-coconut broth with mango lobster relish. OH MY GOD!!!!!

One of the things that sets the Sea House apart are the prices ($8-$10 cheaper than anything you'll find in Lahaina) and the service was impeccable. I'd go back in a heartbeat!

We didn't have a great view from our table or the sunset (I missed the "shot of the day" eating my Caprese tower), but we took a couple of pictures after dinner that turned out pretty good.

The stars twinkled more last night than any other night and it was nice to finish up our 4th day, sitting on the lanai gazing out into the night.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Maui: Day #3....Our Snorkel with the Turtles

There are days in one's life that are remembered forever. Today is such a day. Many people have snorkeled with turtles before and many will after but it was my first time. It, for me, is one of the life-list things I had to do. On a Chamber of Commerce day - perfect weather, perfect seas - we froliced with a mother humback whale and her calf off our starboard bow, snorkeled the famed reef at Molokini and swam with the turtles at "Turtle Cove". To experience watching the other-wordly environment of a coral reef reminds me of my Dad and I watching this stuff with amazement on PBS. I couldn't help thinking how proud he would be that I actually was part of that world for a short time. I wish I could tell him my astonishment seeing a four foot turtle emerge from its home in the reef, ascend 60 feet, and surface to take a breath of air, all within six feet of us. It is a feeling I will not soon forget.

Maui: Day #3...Our Evening at Roy's

Brian and I had an "out of this world" dining experience Tuesday evening at Roy's, located across the street and down half a block from our condo in Kahana. It's one of our favorite places to go and every meal I have ever had there has been a complete harmony of Hawaiian Fusion - a global inspiration of texture, flavor and originality.

We opted for pupus (appetizers for you on the mainland) paired beautifully with wines recommended by our waiter, Jeff. Our 4 choices included:

Hawaiian Kai Crab Cakes - with a Spicy Sesame Butter Sauce

Lobster Potstickers - Ko Chu Jang Vinaigrette and Chili Aioli

Goat Cheese & Hamakua Mushroom Ravioli in a Sake Goat Cheese Sauce

Ahi Sashimi with Soy, Wasabi and Spun Veggies on the side - which Brian loved!!!

Dessert was the best Pineapple Upside Down Cake I have ever had (and the vanilla macadamia nut ice cream served on the side wasn't all that bad either).

As we paid our bill and said goodnight to our new Maui friends (Oregon Alum, Walter and his wife, Carol) our waiter said we, "ate and drank like rock stars". I couldn't have said it any better.