Day 10 – Enjoying our last day in Paradise

Saturday, April 5 – Final snorkel and beach time, drive upcountry, and killing time at Hookipa

We got up early hoping to make the most of our last day.  Joe and I tried a final snorkel at Maluaka Beach at our resort while Carter stayed in and watched TV.  The waves were still stirring things up quite a bit – just not a good overall snorkel week but always have to give it a try.  We were early enough to be pretty much the only ones on the beach – I love empty beaches!

empty beach

Had a quick breakfast – muffins Joe and Carter had bought the day before and a piece of banana bread from Starbucks for me on the go (not NEARLY as good as Aunt Sandy’s on the Road to Hana!).

Tried for a late check out but was not available.  Since we had to check out by noon we decided to check out early and left our bags at hotel so we did not need to worry about them (they said we could use the hospitality room later to shower), and we headed to Ulua Beach down the road.  Tried some snorkeling there as well.  Didn’t see much so called it a day for that.  I can see how this would be a nice snorkel area when it’s calm.


Spent a couple of hours at Ulua Beach – more wave and beach play for Carter.  Another beautiful beach – there are so many of them along this area of the coast.


After a couple of hours we said good-bye to having our toes in the sand….


… and headed back to the hotel to shower.  Turns out we were back slightly before noon so could have waited on the check-out.  Oh well.

Next – we had to have one last Ululani’s Shave Ice so a stop in Kihei was necessary!

last ululani

Oh – and in the Ululani parking lot Carter found something he had been looking for very hard the whole trip – and he finally found it.   A license plate from a state other than Hawaii!


We still had a lot of time before our 9pm flight, and decided we wanted to see more of the upcountry area so decided to visit the Lavender Farm – mostly just to see what that side of the island looked like.  The Lavendar Farm was fun as a place to stop and the grounds are pretty if you are in the area, but not a destination in itself for a day trip.

They had interesting trees and plants…

IMG_3006 IMG_1242


pretty flowers…

IMG_1239 IMG_1226

lavender of course…


and the views from the farm were great – very different landscape than the beaches and tropical areas along the Road to Hana…


From the highest point of the lavender farm, you could see the coastline in the distance.  It was really cool!


They had a fun activity to entertain kids (and I guess it kind of gets you to walk the entire grounds).  They had a treasure hunt to find different sites on the grounds, and then you got a stamp at each site.


When your card gets filled from the treasure hunt you stop by the gift shop for a “prize”.  The prize was cookies which of course Carter could not eat :(.

After the lavender farm we had more time to kill so stopped at Hookipa beach for the 2nd time this trip – watched the surfers again.


Pretty cool as the waves were much bigger than earlier in week.

IMG_1325 IMG_1326

I just can’t get enough of these gorgeous views of the ocean and the coastline.  We savored every last moment!

IMG_1346 IMG_1302

We went to Rock n Brew for dinner in Paia again since we loved it the first time.  We all ordered pretty much same thing we had the first time we visited (burgers for Joe and I – pizza for Carter).

Returned car and chilled at airport.  Uneventful but long flights home.  Got home Sunday around noon wearing shorts and flip flops – 55 degrees but sunny.  Spring is in Minnesota and now planning our next trip – either back to Maui or to Kauai again.  Have not decided which is my favorite yet so definitely another trip to Hawaii is needed either way!

It was a great time had by all – we definitely loved Maui and will return for sure some day even if not our next trip, as there were many things we would have liked to have seen and done – and I will take the weather, beautiful sites, ocean breezes, and sunsets anytime!

Good-bye Maui – for now but not forever!

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Day 8 and 9 – South Beaches and Snorkeling; and more Beaches

Thursday, April 3 and Friday April 4 – Lot of Beach Time and Relaxing!

Combining these two days as we did not do much except hit the beaches and relax (which is a perfect time on Maui in my book!).

On Thursday we planned to get up and go snorkel right away at some of the South beaches/areas (second day of this plan) but Carter was not feeling good so we hung out around the resort, explored the shops in nearby Wailea (too pricey for my taste), and went in to Kihei for a Shave Ice at Ululani’s (becoming regulars here).  Shave Ice seems to always make you feel better 🙂


We headed to the beach at our hotel around noon.  I just LOVE our little Maluaka Beach at our hotel.  It is so pretty and it is never too crowded.

beach1 beach2

We had bought a real cheap (and I mean REAL cheap) boogie board for Carter the day before and learned why it was so cheap – seems to have a slight crack in it after just one day but hopefully will last him at least one more beach day.  Hard to get him out of the water he is having so much fun!


Joe tried it out too whenever he could convince Carter to give it up for a minute.


Found a cute little turtle someone made in the sand.  At first I thought it was pooping, then I realized “she” was laying eggs!


After the beach went back to the room for awhile and relaxed and caught up a bit on my blogs while Joe took a nap and Carter played Nintendo for awhile.



Went to Fred’s Mexican Cafe for dinner.  Food was just ok – nothing memorable.  Decor was unique.




Just an easy relaxing day on Maui, ending with another beautiful sunset


On to Friday – more beaches…

Friday we got up and headed to Ahihi Bay right away before breakfast, hoping to snorkel there before it got too choppy.  The bay area is very pretty.

ahihibay1 ahihibay2

Unfortunately it was not a good day for snorkeling there today.  There were TONS of fish but the waves stirred up the sand too much and it was too cloudy so you couldn’t see them well.  We were disappointed as we had heard this was supposed to be a great place to snorkel.  Snorkeling this trip has been a bit of a bust.  The views however on this southern drive around the island are very beautiful!

view of south road

And I see they are coming along nicely on my dream home that is just North of Ahihi Bay 🙂


Headed to breakfast at Fabiani’s – one of the few places in Wailea that had reasonable prices.  Their omelets and breakfast potatoes were both really good.  Probably spent about the same amount here for breakfast as we did at Kihei Caffe.

More beach time after breakfast – wanted to try Po’olenalena Beach as we had heard it was nice and quiet.  It was a good size beach, had snorkeling (but again too choppy today) and more gorgeous views.


There were awesome waves today at Po’olenalena Beach too!  When it’s too choppy for snorkeling it’s time for bodysurfing and boogie boarding! Carter’s cheap boogie board is still hanging on.


Carter tried making a sand turtle.  Not quite as good as the one we saw yesterday but effort counts!

carter turtle

I loved how the tide was coming in here.


And then – Carter started to realize this was our last full day on Maui before heading home 😦


After the beach, we decided Shave Ice would make a good lunch – so off we went to Ulalani’s.  I wanted to see what the Ma’alea Harbor looked like and we saw there was an Ulalani’s in the general store there, so drove up for a look and our lunch-time treat.

Also Carter finally decided what he wanted for a souvenir – a turtle flute that we saw (yes you can actually play songs on it – I guess it’s kind of like a recorder but only with four holes) in one of the open air shopping areas in Kihei – so off we went to buy his flute before going back to the resort.


Back “home” at the Makena resort, we realized we still had not taken any photos of the grounds at the resort, and they were so beautiful!   Although we were thrilled to have a room with an ocean view, I think we would have been perfectly happy with this garden view as well!


It was so peaceful walking through this area every time we headed for the pool or beach.

resort6 resort3

Joe set up his tripod and we even got a nice family picture!



And here is the resort pool.  Nothing too special but it is right next to the ocean.  We didn’t spend a lot of time here.


And – the final sunset at our resort.  I will miss these Maui sunsets so much!

lastsunset2 lastsunset

Off to dinner.  We decided to try something close and went to Mulligans on the Blue which was on the golf course.  They had two guys playing some kind of blues type Hawaiian Music (if there is such a thing) which was really nice.  Sat outside on the lanai overlooking the golf course which was a beautiful setting.

Drinks were good.   Joe had the girlie drink below.  I had a pineapple mojito which was really good!


Joe had ribs and Carter had mac and cheese (with gluten-free noodles!) and they both really liked it.  I ordered a steak and it was not very good at all.  Oh – and I got the lobster tail for $8 extra for Carter to eat – he LOVES lobster!

After dinner we went back and finished packing, had some popcorn and watched some TV.  Feeling a bit sad that we are leaving Maui tomorrow, but have had a wonderful glorious time.

Next installment – killing time and savoring our last bit of Maui before the long flight home!


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 7 – Tsunami Advisory, Whales, Dolphins, and a Flying Fish!

Wednesday, April 2 – Beaches and Whale Watch

Our plan for this morning was to explore the south beaches for some snorkeling and relaxing, but the Earthquake in Chili delayed our plans a bit. Although no damage was expected on Maui, for safety reasons they issued a Tsunami advisory last night as a large wave was expected to hit at 3am, and they closed the beaches on Maui until noon.

We got up early and drove by a couple of snorkel sites as the waters looked fine to us but did not see anyone out so decided it was best to head to breakfast first.

We had breakfast at the Kihei Caffe again – this is our 2nd time this week eating here and we’ve decided it really is one of the best breakfast places around!

We wandered around an open air shopping market to kill some time, and decided to try to hit “The Dumps” for snorkeling.    The view here is gorgeous!


The water was not real clear and not a lot of fish so we did not stay long.

dumps1 dumps2

We headed back to hotel and swam there (at Maluaka Beach) for awhile.  Tried to snorkel and saw quite a few fish, but the water was a bit choppy so we did not snorkel much today here either.  The water was much clearer here!

makenafish2 makenafish1

I did see what I believe is a trumpetfish which was pretty cool.


We relaxed a bit at the resort.  I enjoyed the beautiful views from our lanai again.


And then I took Carter mini-golfing at the resort.  It was really more of a 9-hole putting course than a typical mini-golf course but it was still fun!  Carter said we tied 🙂


After getting our fill of beaches and relaxation, we headed to Lahaina for our sunset whale watch with Ultimate Whale Watch.  Although we did not see as many whales as others have reported (it is late in the whale season) we saw a variety of wildlife.

On the way to the whales we saw a large pod (hundreds?) of spinner dolphins.  Joe got some awesome pictures of them and I think we enjoyed these almost more than the whales!






After watching the dolphins play, we headed out and found a mama whale and her calf.  According to others on the raft with us, they were not extremely active, but we did get some partial breaches.




And lots of tail slapping and waves






While watching the dolphins a bottlenose dolphin came over and tried to play with the calf.  Mamma didn’t like that and she stopped the playing and we did not see them again for awhile.

On the way back to Lahaina we saw a flying fish that went about 100 yards!  I have never seen one of these before and it was really cool!  Unfortunately that happened very fast so no pictures.

The sunset coming into the harbor at the end of the tour was very nice as well.


After the whale watch we headed to Cheeseburger and Paradise for dinner.  I love the location and building they are in.  It looks really cool next to the water.




The maitai was great as well!


The food was okay – atmosphere was better.  While waiting for our food we had fun listening to live music which was decent and reading all of the license plates on the wall.


Another fun day on Maui.   No specific plans except lots of beach time our last couple of days!



Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 6 – Zipline Fun and More!

Tuesday, April 1 – Zipline Fun, Makawao, Lunch in Paia, Turtles and Surfers, and a bit of beach time!

Another busy day.  We don’t generally like two back-to-back but we had scheduled in advance and changing other things around due to weather kind of dictated our schedule.  Oh well – we just roll with it.

Day started early – leaving at 6:30 to get to a 7:30 check-in at Northshore Zipline in Haiku.  Got there in plenty of time.  This was a first zipline experience for all of us and we had a blast on the lines and learning to zip.  We had expected a bit more of scenery but it was still fun (we zipped from treetop to treetop in an old army camp area).  Northshore is working on getting a permit for a zipline that goes over the ocean – I think first one in Maui.   I think that would be a blast!


Carter was really happy that he just made the 70 pound weight minimum so we could ride by himself without a guide (he weighed in at 70.5!).


Joe proved to be the most flexible.


And I tried to do the hang loose sign but had trouble concentrating on which fingers to put up while flying through the air!


After the zipline we spent a bit of time exploring Makawao and Paia.  We like exploring new small towns while traveling.  Didn’t spend much time in Makawao so no pictures there – just poked in a few shops.

In Paia I think we stopped in pretty much every shop there – but didn’t buy anything.  Wasn’t really in a shopping mood today.


And of course we had to take a picture of the surfboard fence.  I love how they have these all over the north shore!


For lunch we checked out the menu at the Flatbread Company as we knew they had gluten-free flatbread, but it was $6 extra for the gluten-free crust.  It always costs more but that was a bit ridiculous!  Walked down to Rock & Brews which was a GREAT decision!

Loved the open air dining with all of the rock memorabilia.  It was really neat!

rock1 rock2

They had gluten-free options for pizza, and Joe always gets excited when they make fries in a dedicated fryer (french fries are gluten-free but many restaurants make them with other stuff that is not which sucks).  Anyway, the food was great!  The gluten-free pizza had a square crust that they make themselves and freeze in their LA store – and both Joe and Carter said it was really good.

Yes – our kid eats jalapenos AND hot red peppers on his pizza.



The burgers were good too.  This is mine (Joe had without the bun) and it was juicy, lots of cheese, and on some kind of home-made bun from a bakery in Paia somewhere.


After lunch we headed down to Hookipa Beach to watch the surfers and windsurfers.  The waves were not too big today but it was still really fun to watch.

surf1 surf2

Our tour guide at Northshore had given us a tip that there were always turtles resting on the beach at Hookipa.  We headed down there and sure enough they were all over the place!  I was glad to see there was also a volunteer there watching over them and asking tourists to keep their distance.  We saw at least 8 turtles there!

turtle1 turtle2

After watching the surfers and visiting the turtles, we headed back to our hotel.  We decided to keep driving a little South of the hotel to see what was there.  We found a coconut stand and decided to stop as Carter wanted to try the coconut water.

We got to watch her artfully crack the coconut without losing the water first.



Then we all got a drink.  Carter decided as much as he loves coconuts, he did not like the water.


He also did not like the fresh coconut.  He said it didn’t taste like coconut.  Weird kid 🙂


Back to hotel to relax a bit – went to the beach for a quick swim – Joe and Carter played in the waves and the sand.

day6beach2 day6beach

After the beach we decided we were hungry for steak but wanted something reasonably priced.  Headed to Stella Blues in Kihei.  Joe got his steak and it was really good (he shared a bite with me).  Carter had shrimp cocktail.  I stuck with a salad which was also good – decided I’d been eating way too much the last few days.

Unfortunately we missed the sunset today (it was during dinner).  After dinner went home and crashed again after a couple of pretty long but fun days exploring!  Rest of the week plans are pretty laid back – planning for lots of beach time!


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 5 – Road to Hana, Pipiwai Trail, and Rain

Monday, March 30 – Long and beautiful (but wet!) day on the Road to Hana

We had originally planned to do the Road to Hana yesterday, but the weather did not cooperate.  Although today some clouds/rain were predicted, we decided to chance it as we were getting concerned we may not get a better day on this side of the island – so on the road we went leaving the hotel around 6:30am.

Joe and Carter ate breakfast in the car while I waited to get to the famous Aunt Sandy’s banana bread stand!.  We made a quick bathroom stop in Paia and off we went!  Our plan was to make 1-2 quick stops on the way but pretty much drive direct to the Haleakala National Park/Pipiwai Trail as early as possible, then do whatever stops we felt like and had time for on the way back.

The drive started out wet – and pretty much stayed cloudy and wet most of the day.



The sites were still beautiful although I expect we would have gotten better photo opportunities on a sunny day.


Our first planned stop was supposed to be between MM 5.5 and 6.0 – the rainbow eucalyptus trees.  We looked really hard for the landmarks we had heard about – trees on the left and open field on the right – and could not find them – we will look again on the way back!

Next stop – Keanai Peninsula and Aunt Sandy’s banana bread!



The peninsula area was very pretty.

Keanai3 Keanai2

There was this unique rock formation there that Joe had to take a picture of – he thought it looked like a penis.  I guess I have to agree.


The best part of this stop – the banana bread!  It lived up to it’s name and fortunately for me (or unfortunately for my diet) Joe and Carter can’t eat it since it has gluten.  I will admit that by the end of the day I had eaten the whole thing.  I accidentally smashed it with my arm when I got in the car but it sure did not impact the taste!


We took a few photos of waterfalls along the way – with all of the rain they have gotten the water was flowing EVERYWHERE!  Just gorgeous!



I think we counted at least 8 waterfalls flowing from the place we took the picture from.  It was amazing!




And I got a shot of one of my favorite trees.  We saw these everywhere in Maui.  Everytime I saw one it reminded me of one of my favorite places to drive through on the North Shore of Kauai where these trees formed a tunnel/bridge.


I think we took a quick potty break here.  I just love the hand made signs all over Maui.


Last stop before turning around – our destination (not Hana!) but the Pipiwai Trail at the National Park.  We were a bit worried we may get there and find the trail closed due to the heavy rain.  The trail was open but no swimming was allowed (and it was obvious why).  It was extremely muddy!

Pipiwai11 Pipiwai17

The trail is about 2 miles (4 miles round trip) and well worth it despite the mud puddles!

Pipiwai10 Pipiwai14

They had these “danger” areas.  The signs were placed a bit weird I thought as most places with a sign did not appear any more or less dangerous than others – but I guess some people need to be told to be smart.


There was a banyan tree on the trail.  Not as big as the one in Lahaina but I liked it better just because there were not so many people around and it was in a beautiful place!




The trail was beautiful and the highlight of our day!




We thought this (below) was the O’heo Gulch (a.k.a. Seven Sacred Pools).  With all of the water flowing it did not look like any pictures I had seen before – definitely no swimming here!  We found out afterwards this actually was not the O’heo Gulch and we needed to visit a different area of the park to see it – so sorry we missed this site I guess another reason to come back to Maui!

Pipiwai3 Pipiwai4

Right after the O’heo Gulch comes the Bamboo Forest.  It was really neat!  It was so quiet but when you stopped you could hear the bamboo knocking together.  It was very cool to see and hear!






We found a piece of bamboo that someone had split open (looks like with a knife).  The inside was interesting.


I thought this tree looked really out of place in the middle of the bamboo forest.


About half way through the forest, it started to drizzle.  By the time we got to the end of the forest and to the next part of the trail, it was POURING!  We were soaked but determined to get to the end of the trail, hoping it was a traditional Maui rain that was just “passing through”.  Well – we got to the end and peaked around the final corner (still raining like cats and dogs), and had a total OMG moment.  The waterfall at the end of the trail was the most amazing waterfall I have ever seen!  I’m sure it’s neat at any time but with how heavy it was flowing it was absolutely gorgeous.  All I could do was stand there and stare.  It was hard to get good pictures in the rain, and honestly no picture could do this justice.  It does not look as tall nor as pretty here.



After standing in awe for about 10 minutes, we crossed back over a raging creek (probably not to smart to cross in the first place – but we just had to get closer to the waterfall) and headed back – a bit faster than the way there.  Back in the parking lot, we were soaked, muddy, but extremely satisfied with our adventure.

We were starving at this point and decided we would start the trek back and stop at the Wai-anapanapa State Park to see the black sand beach and have our picnic lunch of cheese, meat and gluten-free crackers.  This is our staple “bring along” lunch when out on adventures.


The Black Sand Beach was cool but we were out of energy to explore too much here.  Watched some of the kids play in the waves but Carter was cold and just wanted to rest after our long hike.

black3 black4

There was kind of a different looking cemetery at the park.



And some more beautiful views of course!

black1 black3

After the Wai-anapanapa State Park/black sand beach we did not make a lot of other stops.  We were pretty exhausted and it was raining fairly steadily.  Stopped at a few falls along the way but did not explore or stay long at any one thing.

We did have have dessert of course – and made a stop at Coconut Glen’s Ice Cream – another famous and highly recommended place that lived up to it’s name.  We talked to Glen’s uncle a bit who was working the stand while he told us about the dairy free ice cream made with coconut milk (while we waited for some more rain to pass).


He let us mix flavors and Carter had Pineapple-Banana and Coconut.  I shared Carter’s (a bit full from all of my banana bread!) and I can’t remember what kind Joe had.


Glen had some unique signs on his property as well.

glen3 glen4

Our last little detour was a quick decision to take the detour down a road about two miles to a community called Nahiku.  The “guidebook” said it was worth the drive down and a beautiful place with jawdropping views.  We were underwhelmed and did not feel it was worth it, although I can see how the sites and especially the coastline would be beautiful on a clear sunny day.



My last mandatory stop/site was to try once again to find the Eucalyptus trees.  I started looking them at MM 7.5 as I wanted to make SURE we did not miss them this time.  Well – we found them!  First I saw the open field (on your left if heading back) around what I recall was about MM 6.5.  We quickly drove by that and at the last minute – I SAW THE TREES ON THE RIGHT!  Unfortunately, we had already passed the pull off, and there was someone else behind us and nowhere else near that we could stop – so we missed the photo op – but at least I got to see them!

Our Road to Hana adventure was now complete – we were definitely DONE and decided we needed to call it a day.  Stopped in Paia quick to check out the Natural Food store as we heard it was good and might have some good gluten-free eats for Joe and Carter (we did pick up a couple of things – I think some donuts and muffins for more breakfasts for them).

We were too tired to stop anywhere for dinner – so we made a quick stop at Mcdonalds – fries and strawberry shakes for dinner which we ate on the road.

Back to the hotel around 7:30 or 8:00 – showered and crashed!

It was a great day despite the clouds.   I would like to do the Road to Hana again some day but would probably spend more time on the actual stops and not do the hike (since we have now done it once – although it was great!).  Lastly, we would make sure we picked a good sunny day!



Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 4 – Kaanapali Beach/Blackrock, Star Noodle, Relaxation

Sunday, March 30 – Headed West again to avoid the rain and murky waters, and rest up from yesterday!

It rained in Kihei and there was a murky water alert in the South so we headed West to checkout Kaanapali Beach and Blackrock.

We slept in.  Ok Joe and Carter slept until 7:30 and I was up at 6:30 enjoying the beauty of daybreak over the ocean.  At home I am not a morning person but I love this quiet time on vacation!

morning lanai

We headed for breakfast at the Kihei Caffe, one of the highly recommended breakfast spots.  Waited in line about 10-15 minutes to order, and the food came quick after that.  According to Carter they had the best bacon ever.  Joe had the basics – eggs and sausage I had the French toast with bananas and macadamia nuts which was okay but I thought a bit overrated.  I want to go back and next time I want one of their yummy looking cinnamon rolls!



As we drove up to the West coast the weather looked pretty grey on the other side of the island.  I believe some of this came South today also so good reason we headed West!

am weather over mountain

We got to Kaanapali Beach area around 10am.  Too late for parking near Blackrock so we parked in Whaler’s Village.  It was a bit of a walk down the beach down to Blackrock but it was nice to explore the area a bit.

Maybe it was not a good day there – but personally we thought Blackrock was a bit overrated for snorkeling.  The water was not very clear, there were only a few fish, and it was just WAY too crowded for our tastes.





I think there were more people at Blackrock than fish!


We did see a turtle right at shore a couple of times but did not even try to take pictures as he was getting surrounded by the crowd.  I felt sorry for him and decided I did not need to join in that circus.  We have had enough other opportunities to photograph turtles when they are not “trapped” on the beach by over-excited kids, so we decided to move on.

Joe/Carter played in waves for about an hour.  I joined them once to cool off quickly, and then I read on the beach and enjoyed the sun/beach/people watching.


Many people really like this area of Maui and the total beach scene.  We agreed this was definitely not a place we would ever stay – just way too many people for us.  We prefer the smaller more secluded beaches.  These crowds remind me more of Spring Break (I know that is what we are on but I don’t want to feel like it!).

kb3 kb2

After we had enough sun and beach for the day, we headed back South and stopped at Star Noodle, another highly rated restaurant for a late lunch.  We knew they had gluten-free options and Carter is a huge noodle lover.


We only had to wait about 5 minutes for a table (it was a pretty late lunch – around 2).  I started with my first local Maui beer.  It was frosty cold and good!


The waiter was really knowledgeable about what was gluten-free, and he actually highlighted the items for us on the menu with a highlighter!  We decided to share and he suggested two appetizers and 2-3 entrees.  Carter just wanted buttered rice noodles so we ordered Roasted Mushrooms, Vietnamese Crepes, Pad Thai, and Singapore Noodles.  The crepes were the best!  You eat them kind of like lettuce wraps.


The two entrees were really good too.  Carter even liked them especially the Pad Thai.  We now have another dish we know he likes which is always a good find!


After lunch we did a quick trip to Costco to get some crackers (they have big boxes of the gf crackers we like) and a couple of other snacks.  We had planned to stop at the Ululani’s near Costco for a Shave Ice but we were still too full from lunch!

Relaxed for awhile back at the hotel and did a load of laundry.  Took Carter to the pool and watched the sunset.  It was a beautiful one tonight.  I love the view of Molokini Crater from our hotel!


We were not hungry for dinner so decided to just relax, have popcorn and watch a movie in the room.  Went to bed early to rest up for our Road to Hana day tomorrow!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 3 – Honolua Bay, NW Coast Sites, Lahaina

Saturday, March 29 – Great snorkeling and sites – fun long day with a bit of sunburn!

Up early again (5:30) – love sitting on lanai in the morning looking out at ocean.  I could do this every day!

Today we are going to explore the West/NW area of the island, since weather looks good up there and potential rain in the south where we are.  Breakfast and lunch/snacks were packed in the cooler and left around 7 to head up to Honolua Bay for snorkeling.  First ones in the parking lot.  We weren’t sure we were in the right place but the guy selling woodwork out of the van said we were – so off we went down the trail!  It was a beautiful walk – Joe’s exact words were “Now this is Hawaii”.

IMG_0067 IMG_2227 IMG_2229 IMG_0093 IMG_0102

I also loved the local signs along the way.   These kinds of signs seem to exist around many of the popular sites on Maui.


And of course – I had to have a picture of another rooster.  Cock-a-doodle-doo!


Local guy down at the bay warned us (nicely) that if we started to feel ANY current at all while out there to “get the hell out fast” as thunderstorms were predicted.  Snorkeled for over an hour – beautiful coral and saw a few fish that we had not seen before.  No turtles today.  I have not been very successful this trip with our underwater camera – could be because it’s been cloudy outside and not extremely clear water – or it’s just me:)

DSCN0502 DSCN0494

After we walked back to the car and got back on the road, we were treated to the beautiful views of Honolua Bay from the top of the road.  Gorgeous!

IMG_2233 IMG_0113

Next step was the Nakalele Blowhole.   The short hike down was very pretty.


Once we got to the blowhole we saw it shoot off – hard to predict when it is going to blow and it can be very dangerous if you are too close.


We kept our distance – although there were some others that were a little too brave (or stupid) for my taste.

IMG_2249 IMG_0131

As we headed back up, we found some cool rock formations.


The heart was really neat!  Joe seems not so sure about having his picture taken here for some reason 🙂


Next stop was the Olivine Pools.  This is another area you need to be extremely cautious, and can only visit when the ocean is calm (which is was on this day).  We really wanted to visit as they were advertised as being similar to what is known as the Queen’s Bath on Kauai, which was our absolute favorite place on that island.  We were not nearly as impressed with these pools and we did not stay long, but they were still a nice diversion today.  This was another hike down the lava rocks.


DSCN0522 DSCN0527

Next stop had to be to find a place to eat the lunch/snacks we brought as we were starving!  We had to turn around after the Olivine pools as the road was closed soon after that.  Even if it had not been closed, this stretch of road is known to be very treachourous and you are not supposed to take rental cars there, so we turned around to start heading back down the coast.

We stopped at a place called Slaughterhouse Beach (not sure how it got it’s name).  It was a really nice beach down about 100 concrete steps.  Didn’t know until we got there but a great beach for bodysurfing.  After we ate our cheese, meat, and crackers (a lunch staple for us while out and about) Joe and Carter played in the waves for about an hour while I relaxed on the beach.

IMG_0227 IMG_2294 - Version 2 IMG_2276 IMG_2262 IMG_2315

It was partly cloudy and I was comfortable just sitting in a nice shady spot watching the birds eat our lunch crumbs on the beach.  I don’t know what kind of bird this is but this pretty little guy really enjoyed our lunch crumbs!


Started the drive back South slowly, took the road from Kapalua to Kahana (I think?).  Stopped at the general store in Kapalua for a t-shirt for Joe.  ABC stores seem to be like Target for us – we go in for one thing that costs $15 and spend $50 every time!

Stopped to see the “Dragon Teeth” in Kapalua.


Kapalua is a beautiful area and I know many enjoy staying in this area.  We decided that as much as we like the beauty of this area we do really like being South where we are better.

IMG_0237 IMG_0231 IMG_2322 IMG_2317

It’s been a long day so far and we’ve seen so much already – but there is more!  We kept heading back south towards “home” and arrived in the town of Lahaina about 4pm.

This car was parked on the street – I thought it would be really fun to drive this around Maui!


Saw the Banyan tree – impossible to get the whole tree in one picture – very cool!



Explored the shops a bit – bought one small souvenir for someone back home.  Joe was amusing himself by taking selfies in a mirror while I looked around.


Found the Cool Cat Cafe for dinner (really yummy burgers and great people watching looking over the street).

Ate quick and then rushed out to catch the sunset by the harbor – beautiful!

IMG_2347 IMG_2352IMG_0265

Stopped at Local Boys for Shave Ice.  Good but we all agreed Ululani’s was better.


South Maui had quite a bit of rain today (we had none!) and there was a flash flood watch due to downpours they had in Kihei – we didn’t see any sign of rain or flooding on our way back.

Back to the resort around 8:00 and we were all totally exhausted – very long but fun day!  Took showers, examined our sunburns (we didn’t do a great job remembering sunscreen today – need to do better rest of the week).

Tomorrow plans were to stay South, maybe try a bit of snorkeling, and just relax and do what we feel like.  Not sure what that is what will happen yet as the Maui News reports have indicated there is some murky water in the South due to heave rains (shark alert!).   Since I don’t like to swim with sharks we will have to be flexible with our plans:)

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 2 – Molokini Tour, Relaxation, Kihei 4th Friday

Friday, March 28 – Wonderful first full day on Maui – some relaxation and  fun! 

We knew we would be up early due to the time change so booked a snorkel tour to Molokini with Redline Rafting for our first full day.   I was awake at 4 and out of bed at 4:30 – sat on the lanai in the dark and listened to the waves waiting for Joe and Carter to get up – so peaceful!


We checked in for the tour at 6:30 at the Kihei Boat Ramp.  Carter was excited and ready to go!


Before the 1st stop we saw our first whales of the trip.  They were pretty far away but I was proud of myself for getting at least a partial picture of a tail before he/she went down!

DSCN0412 - Version 2


It was a nice tour and our guides (Sean and Kiki) were really good.  The snorkeling was not the best but it was good.  There were 4 stops which actually got to be a little much maybe because it was a bit cloudy so it got chilly.  Most of my pictures did not turn out too well – not sure if it’s me, the camera, or the fact that it was a bit rocky – probably all of the above.  Here are a few from the front side of Molokini, which is where most tours go.

DSCN0444 DSCN0476  DSCN0439 DSCN0475


We also went to the backside of Molokini which was unique with a few different fish and a large drop off into the deeper sea.


There was then another stop near La Perouse Bay.  Much of the same we saw at Molokini and then “Turtle Town” which was actually right out in front of the Makena Beach and Golf Resort where we are staying.  Got a nice shot of our resort from the boat.



There were quite a few turtles at this site.  Not sure if we will be able to snorkel out this far from our beach but we may try that another day!

DSCN0464 DSCN0468

Our tour guide Sean blew some “dolphin circles” for us (and then he swam through it!).  I guess the dolphins actually do this when they are playing so he must be part dolphin!


When at La Perouse Bay they took us to see the lava rock area which was pretty cool!

IMG_2154 IMG_2156

Then we got a real special treat – we saw a monk seal in the water!  He peaked his head up a couple of times to say hi to us – he was adorable!

IMG_2161 - Version 2

After the tour we went back to the hotel, relaxed a bit with a short nap, and checked out the beach at our resort (I’ve learned the name of our beach is NOT Makena Beach – it’s called “Maluaka Beach”.  It’s really a gorgeous beach and nice for relaxing, playing in the waves, and has a snorkeling area as well which we will try out at some point when we are around in the mornings (too many waves in the afternoon).

IMG_2178 IMG_2190 IMG_2186

After swimming we headed into Kihei as we wanted to check out the the Kihei Fourth Friday Town Party.  They have these in different towns around Maui on different Fridays.  They have local vendors, food trucks/vendors, and music later on.


We shopped at the local vendor booths for a bit, and bought some macaroons (3 different flavors – they were yummy!), banana bread for me to eat for breakfast the next day (Joe and Carter can’t have it since it has gluten – more for me!), and I got a cute little piece of inexpensive sea glass jewelry.  Love the little whale tail on it!

IMG_2200 IMG_2203

We decided not to wait around for the music so found dinner at Maui Brick Oven.  This is a dedicated gluten-free restaurant.   This was a great find and not only was the pizza good (crust did not taste gluten-free at all and I’m picky about that!), but we ordered beer battered mushrooms which were AMAZING!  Carter is one of the pickiest kid in the world but for some strange reason unlike most kids he likes mushrooms and he said these were better than the pizza!

We missed the Maui sunset today – I think we were inside at dinner – but I’m sure we will have many more to enjoy.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel and were in bed before 10.  Tomorrow is a beach and explore day – can’t wait to see where that takes us!


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 1 – Maui Arrival, Iao Needle, and the Condo Debacle

Thursday, March 27 – A bit of a rocky start but all is well on Maui

First – a bit about us.  Skip this part if you want to get to the fun stuff first.

Joe, Lisa, and youngest son Carter (10) are headed to Maui for our long awaited Spring Break 2014 vacation!  It’s been a horrid winter in Minnesota making this trip all the sweeter.  The only thing better would be to have our entire family along, consisting of our oldest son Rob (25), his girlfriend Jo who is expecting our first grandchild in August (had to slip that in we are so excited to see our baby grandson soon!), our daughter Stephanie (24), and her husband Jimmy.  This is our 4th trip to Hawaii but our first to Maui.  We went to Oahu with all 3 kids about 8 years ago, and the past two years Joe, Carter, and I have been to Kauai and the Big Island.  So far Kauai has been our favorite island by far – loved the beauty and the laid back culture.  Let’s see what Maui brings us!

Our flight from Seattle after an extended 2 night planned layover (see previous post if you want to see what we did there) was long but pretty uneventful.  It left about a half hour late and did not make up time so we arrived on Maui around 12:15pm.  Waited about 5 minutes for bags and headed to Alamo to pick up our car, which also went smoothly.  We did the online check-in so no lines to wait in!

Check-in time for our condo in Kihei was not until 3pm, so we stopped at for Shave Ice at Ululani’s near the airport for our first Hawaiian treat!  I had Pineapple, Banana, and Tiger Blood with vanilla ice cream and it was heavenly!  Joe and Carter both had some kind of coconut concoctions with coconut ice cream (they love coconut – me not so much).  Our only regret was forgetting to ask for a punch card as we know we will visit Ululani’s on the island many more times during our trip!  It’s always our special treat in Hawaii especially for Carter.

With time to kill, we decided to get a jumpstart on the sights with a short detour to Iao Needle State Park before heading to our condo.  It was cloudy with some light rain showers so not the best views of the needle today but it was still a great intro to Maui and beautiful.

IMG_2128 IMG_2123

I don’t know what these are but I loved these red plants and also the little hut they had in the park.


And of course – I had to take my first rooster picture.  When we were on Kauai a couple of years ago Joe and Carter gave me a lot of crap for taking pictures of so many roosters.  I just love them – yes even when they are waking you up in the morning!


After the park we drove through a bit of a downpour and onto Kihei.  It was sunny and time to check-in to our 2BR condo at the Royal Mauian by the time we got there around 3:30.

Warning – this gets a bit long but it explains our debacle – wasn’t exactly how we pictured our first afternoon on Maui!  

We went up to check out the condo – and here is where our first day on Maui started to go downhill.  As we were searching through the kitchen to see what they had, several roaches came crawling out of the kitchen drawers where the utensils were.  At first I just saw one on the floor and kind of blew it off.  Then Joe saw a few more in the drawer and we were not too worried yet as we did not even know for sure what they were, but they kind of creeped us out.  We went down to get the rest of our luggage and talked to the condo manager and they told us yes they knew they had roaches, it was normal because of all the rain they had, and they would be coming to spray tomorrow.  YIKES!!!  We started to get worried.  I know we are in a tropical climate and I can handle bugs – but roaches on silverware just don’t go well for me.  We started to get swimsuits on and Carter was ready to head to the beach, while Joe and I pondered on what to do.  We had rented the condo through VRBO, it got great reviews and the owner seemed really nice, but we had also paid the entire thing in advance (I think normal for VRBO?) so felt somewhat stuck.  At one point I broke down in tears because I think we both knew we would not be comfortable staying there but did not know what to do.  Even if we could get our money back it is Spring Break so could we find anything else?  There are literally HUNDREDS of places to stay on Maui but since we booked this a year ago I really didn’t know where we should even start looking if we decided to leave.  We felt we would need to wash dishes before we ate, and I really don’t think I could have slept thinking they might be crawling around.  Ants, mosquitos, even spiders I can deal with – but roaches I believe are a health issue.

Anyway – I’m rambling.  We called the owner but she did not call us back right away.  Decided at that point to call around to see what else was available.  Not sure why but I checked the Makena Beach Resort (maybe 3rd place I tried) and they had rooms available for entire 9 night stay, at a super saver rate (meaning you don’t get to pick your type of room – they assign when you arrive) that seemed reasonable considering our situation.  It got good reviews so we decided to book it, not knowing yet if we would even get a partial refund on the condo but deciding we would rather write it off vs. ruin our vacation.  About 10 minutes after we booked at the Makena, the owner called back.  She offerred to put us up for a night at hotel while they sprayed, etc. but we told her we just did not feel comfortable staying at that point.  She was very understanding, and agreed to give us a full refund!  It just goes to show that if you are nice people will understand and provide good service.

Although a bit sad about leaving the centrally located Kihei, the 2BR condo for a hotel/resort-type atmosphere, and a beautiful property on the Kam beaches (here are the views) – off we headed to the Makena Beach Resort.


We drove through Wailea to get to the Makena Beach Resort – this area, hotel, and the resort property is GORGEOUS!!!  We generally like condos and are not resort-type people as I mentioned, but we felt as soon as we arrived in the lobby we absolutely made the right decision.  Our trade-off is no kitchen and we will miss having a few dinners and most of our breakfasts in our condo, but we are very happy with where we ended up.  The beach and views are beautiful as well.

IMG_2138 IMG_2136


We explored the pool and beach area a bit, let Carter swim in the pool while we relaxed a little, and enjoyed the beautiful sunset on Makena Beach.

IMG_2145 IMG_2141


After the sunset we headed back to Kihei to buy a few snacks, some beach towels (wasn’t sure if we would have some to use at the Makena while not at the resort), and get dinner.   We headed to Coconut’s Fish Cafe for dinner.  Joe had the fish tacos and Carter had the local fish plate and they both really liked it.  I had fish and chips and they were “just ok” for me but probably because I really don’t like fish much.  I know Joe would be more than happy to return so we might.

It was about 9pm by the time all was said and done.   This was Carter about 5 minutes after leaving the Safeway in Kihei. I think it pretty much sums up how we all felt at this point.



We all fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows – exhausted but happy now, and looking forward to finally being settled and looking forward to our snorkel trip to Molokini early tomorrow morning!


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 0.5 – Seattle – the “Rainy” city

Wednesday, March 26 – Exploring Downtown Seattle – Cloudy with a few showers

I call this Day 0.5 since it is an extended layover on the way to Maui.  Maui will be the real Day 1!

Woke up early – headed out to walk to Pike Place Market to find the “Coffee and A Specialty Bakery” for Joe and Carter.  They are a dedicated gluten-free bakery/shop – everything there is gluten-free and according to both Joe and Carter is the BEST gluten-free bakery they have ever been to!  Carter had two cinnamon rolls right out of the oven, and Joe had some kind of egg and bacon pie/tart along with a chocolate eclair he said was awesome!

IMG_2117 969295_10152283616409659_1438509737_n


We wandered around the market a bit but things were not really open yet, so we strolled around town and walked through the Olympic Sculpture Garden/Park on the way to the Space Needle.  The sculpture garden was not quite “art” in our opinion but a nice walk on a cloudy morning. Found the Space Needle and got up on the 1st elevator ride up to the top at 10am.  It was windy and a bit chilly at the top.  I’m sure very nice views on a sunny day but it was cloudy and sprinkling.  I guess you can’t go to Seattle without doing this but on this particular day I can’t say it was worth the $19/adult to go to the top.   Here’s the real picture of us and the one with the “fake” background.


Headed back to the market via the Monorail – did you know that this monorail, which only travels about a mile each way, as gone a million miles?  I wonder how many trips it has taken?


We really enjoyed wandering the shops in the market.  Found one that sold many different types of gluten-free pasta.  Didn’t buy it but planned to come back later in the day and get some to bring with us to make in the condo in Maui.



Lots of odd shops in the market – did lot’s of window shopping but didn’t buy anything.


And of course we visited the famous Pike Place Fish Market – watching them throw the halibut each time someone ordered some!


After wandering the market, we were hungry but had a tough time finding something local Carter would like and could eat, so we headed to the PF Chang we saw near our hotel earlier in the day – pretty much Carter’s favorite place to eat in the world.   After lunch headed to the hotel for a bit of a rest/break.

We had planned to possibly take a ride on the ferry to Bainbridge Island in the afternoon, but the weather was not really cooperating – no downpours but cloudy and light drizzle.   We headed back to the market and walked along the waterfront/explored the piers for awhile, and then decided we had enough walking so headed back to the hotel and ordered pizza for an early evening.

IMG_2120 IMG_2119


Just relaxed, ordered a pizza, and watched a bit of TV.  To bed early – shuttle coming at 6:10am to pick us up for the airport.

It was fun exploring Seattle for a day since we had never been here before but looking forward to sunshine and beauty in Maui tomorrow!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at