Day 5 – Hitting Up Our Go To Spots

I was up early to soak in the morning calls of the birds and watch the day begin.

Our plan today was farmer’s market at 8 a.m. return to the house and revisit some of our favorite places, our go to spots.

We had breakfast of an omelet with toast smeared with locally made guava jam. After breakfast I had my second attempt at making johnny cake. I used a smaller pan, lowered the oven temperature and lessened the baking time. It worked I made johnny cake without a burn! It came out of the oven just before we left for the farmers market, perfect timing.

Well the farmers market today was not bustling, only a few vendors were around and not much food stuff. We picked up a papaya, starfruit jam, onions and passionfruit! We thought we would drive by a little later to see if more vendors would come. Well they didn’t.

View from the farmer’s market parking lot

We unpacked the few items and then packed up for the day. Our first stop was Dean’s Blue Hole, the world’s second deepest blue hole. On our first visit here, I was too chicken to swim over it, in it or near it. When we returned home, I was upset with myself and vowed next trip I would get over my fear. Yup over that fear. We snorkeled the hole and around the area. It was a workout as the current was very strong. We spent about an hour here, finding sand dollars and sea biscuits. We left our sea treasures behind and headed off to our next destination.

We drove up south to Ford’s Landing. We always walk to the right (amazing shelling here) but today we turned left, as there was more sand to walk on, hopped in the water and floated. The blues here always take my breath away.

After all that sun and water, we needed lunch. We turned towards the north and went to Galloway beach because we knew the casuarina pines would provide us with shade. We found a shady spot and enjoyed our sandwiches and my yummy johnny cake. After lunch we were beat and returned to our home base.

I had hoped to go for a snorkel when we landed at the apartment, but the tide was way out, so a snorkel wouldn’t work very well. Instead we went for a float. In certain spots the water was hot today, not warm but hot. You could compare it to pedicure soaking water hot.

After the float, we made a papaya lime no bake cheesecake. By then I was spent, I needed a nap and I took one. Mike researched our adventures for tomorrow. Dinner was leftover casserole and broccoli salad. We wondered why the horizon looked so hazy and come to find out it might be the Sahara dust blowing over us.

After dinner and cleanup, Mike went for his sunset swim, bringing me a gift from the sea while I sat absorbing all the beauty.

Today we revisited three of our go to spots for snorkeling, views and shade. It’s always good to have a few go to spots.

Day 13 – Simple Treasures

taken above the water, the water is that clear!

Today seemed to have the theme of simple treasures.  Mike and I had a leisurely 40 minute stroll on Cannon’s Beach, while the nephew slept in this morning.  It was low tide, which we always enjoy because there are sea creatures to be spotted and admired in the water.

Mike’s greatest treasure he discovered this morning was a sea urchin spine. We marveled at nature’s engineering of it.


The views this morning, as usual, were beautiful and a perfect way to start our morning, being very zen like.

After our beach walk, we headed back to make breakfast burritos and plan the day.  We desperately need some more fruits and greens so off to the Hanalei Farmers market we went.

After this market we decided to go check out the market at Anaina Hou in Kilauea.  This market had less crowds and a good selection of eats.

On our way home we stopped in Hanalei to pick up a few more items at Big Save.  Once home we lunched on leftovers.  Our next outing was Limahuli Gardens in Haena.  This is one of my favorite places on the island, I find it very spiritual and calming.

As we walked the upper terrace of the gardens, a gentleman was gardening.  I started chatting with him, discussing my favorite plant Alula.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe provided me with tidbits of information, about how the plant in ancient times was pollinated(by a night moth now extinct), how they are studying currently how it pollinated and how they are saving this plant.


We moved on to sit and take in the views.


While sitting here he came over and gifted me with a Hawaiian White Hibiscus Flower.  It was that simple gesture, that came from his heart, endeared me even more to this sacred place. Talking story with Tom, the volunteer gardener, made my day. I don’t think he realized how much this simple act of giving meant to me.


After an early afternoon of walking in the sun, we returned to the house. Mike and I started to plan out the next few days, while the nephew enjoyed a few hours in the shade at Tunnels Beach. This isn’t our normal style of travel, to write out and plan each day, our nephew’s time visiting is limited, so having a plan will help us utilize time better for him.


After a dinner of burgers and salad greens,  I explored the yard and took a few new pictures of the orchids in the yard. I was excited to find a new one blooming. I love finding these small treasures throughout the yard.

Sunset viewing tonight was a colored cloud fest. It was another simple treasure that reflected the day, reminding us to enjoy the small gifts nature provides us with.


Day 10 – An Uninvited Visitor, an Unanticipated Hike and an Unexpected Note


Mike was greeted by this uninvited and unintentional guest this morning in the kitchen sink.  Welcome to Hawaii friends, where spiders the size of your hand just drop in. Happily I didn’t see this guest, but on our morning beach walk, Mike provided me with a play by play of how he killed it before it killed him.  Good thing our beach walk was relaxing, just wanted he needed after the battle.

After our jaunt, we went back to the house, gingerly approaching the kitchen just in case a counter attack had been planned while we were out. Phew, we were safe. This allowed us to make breakfast of naan pizzas and fruit.

Over breakfast we decided on our day.  As usual we had to plan it around a farmer’s market, we were out of papayas.  The closest market to us was the one in Kappa at 3 p.m.  We decided to visit some falls, stop at the Keahua Arboretum, go out to lunch and then hit the farmer’s market.

The first official touristy spot was stopping at the Hanalei Overlook.

Our first non touristy stop was the egg place by mile marker 18. Every time we go by in the afternoon the sold out sign is out. Today we scored, I was able to grab the last dozen eggs and hang out the sold sign!

The next official touristy stop was the Opaeka’a Falls.


Our next destination was the Arboretum.  One of our books described a one mile loop trail. We didn’t find that, but we did enjoy kids jumping in the water.

We wanted to stretch our legs a little more after not finding the 1 mile loop, so we decided to take a little hike, very unanticipated. We weren’t totally prepared the way I like to be to hike any distance. On the Kuilau Ridge Trail we set off on.  Due to this being unanticipated we only  hiked the 1.5 miles to the little picnic shelter.  This was not planned, but once again, we just kept going.

We spent more time here than we thought, so we skipped our second falls visit and went straight to lunch at Kauai Beer Company.


Finally it was 3 p.m. and we could attend the farmer’s market.  Mike spied his favorite vendor from years ago, the lady with the red pickup truck.  She always gave Mike a good deal and would add in freebies for him. Some things never change.

After a long day it was nice to arrive “home”, unload and rest.  The day tired all of us out, more than expected. A note greeted us at our doorstep, from our friend Cheri, her night blooming cactus might bloom tonight and she wanted to make sure we witnessed it. What a great unexpected note to come “home” to.

Dinner was quick and light. Mike seared up the fresh ahi from the neighbor and we placed it on greens.


After clean up we hustled to the beach for the boys nightly swim and sunset viewing.

We capped off our night, waiting for the cactus to bloom.






So today was a day full of “uns” , not welcomed, not anticipated and not planned.  We just let island life happen.

The final shot of the evening


Poke, Nuts, Beer and Connecticut Connections

Our day started with the last cup of the coffee we brought with us, so we knew today would be a “seek out coffee day”.   Our first stop was the KCC Farmers Market, a little over a mile from the house.

We knew this market gets crowded and were there shortly after it opened at 7:30 a.m. The hordes of people were insane and most of them were in line for breakfast meals.  We knew not to get breakfast here, just get some coffee, fruit, nuts, chocolate and quickly escape the masses.

We picked up coffee from Aikane Plantation from the Big Island. One of the workers asked us where we were from and he chuckled saying he spent his summers in Hartford as a child. His only memory is of his grandmother’s majestic house in Hartford.

We  were on a chocolate mission also here. We were hunting down  a local chocolate company, Madre Chocolate, a bean to bar chocolate company. They grow their own beans in Hawaii.  Scored on that one, they were there and we picked up a few bars.

Next stop was the lilikoi, or passionfruit hunt.  I have an obsession with this fruit and luckily one vendor had some.  Then we found Akaka Falls Farm jellies and they had passionfruit flavored goodies galore.

Oh and we can’t forget macadamia nuts, yup picked up a few bags from Ahualoa Farms.  There were a few mac nut companies here, but for some reason this little farm beckoned to us.

As some readers know from past years, we pick up a few extra goodies and randomly select a friend or two to receive a gift box, hmmm whom might that recipient be this trip?

the goodies from the market

One of the best parts of the market today was watching the people scurry like ants when a downpour hit. Luckily we were already secured under a tent purchasing the papaya and arugula, so we stayed dried and chucked at the mass exodus.

After the market, we were famished, off we went to breakfast at Sunny Days on Montserrat Ave. I had the “egg slut” dish and Mike devoured the tropical fruit pancakes.  What’s in the mason jar on the left you ask?  Potatoes with sprouts topped by a poached egg.  I was told to mix it together and spread it on my toast.  Who would have thought of that? OMG this meal was so ono!!IMG_8362

After dropping off the farmer market goodies at the house, we had a few more food errands to run.  First stop was Tamashiro Market for poke. The selection of poke was mind boggling and we decided on four to try. There will be another trip here before we head home.IMG_8373

We hit up Costco for more Mac nuts, our pile of nuts at the checkout quickly identified us as tourists.  Next stop more coffee to purchase. First coffee place we sought out was Downtown Coffee, a local micro roaster and when I say local, he was outside the little shop roasting away.


While there I enjoyed a Kona latte and picked up two small bags of his roasted beans.


Our last coffee stop of the day was Honolulu Coffee.  I had more coffee here to try and let’s put it this way, after all the coffee I had so far, I was jetting beyond belief. We only picked up one small bag, as this was the most expensive coffee ever.

Back home to drop off the loot and grab some lunch from leftover meals out.  One last outing for the day was to Lanikai Brewing Company in Kailua. Finding this place was not easy, tucked back in a small industrial area, which to us, felt right.


This place only had three stools at a small serving bar.  The three seats were occupied, but the kind people gave them up to us. We started to chat and the man in the group was from Southington, but grew up in New Britain on Ellis Street.  I really did get goosebumps when he said that.  What a small world.

They only had three beers on tap, but all were excellent.  We picked up six bombers, but why I don’t know because there is no way we can drink six bombers before we leave.  Anybody want to fly out and drink some with us? Please….


We arrived home  with rain showers still following us and I napped, shocked I could with the amount of coffee I consumed today, but I believe the beer helped to neutralize the caffeine jitters!!

After napping time and writing a portion of today’s report, we dived into a poke dinner.


We were unsure if we would get a sunset or not tonight. Rain showers kept popping up and the gray sky loomed nearby.  At the last second we decided to chance it and see what the sky looked like down by the Outrigger Canoe Club Hotel.  We quickly jaunted across Kapiolani Park, racing to get to the sunset before it completely disappeared.

Once again the clouds ate the sun, but who cares? The view was still amazing.


We walked a little further to the other side of the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial to view the twinkly lights of Waikiki.  Sadly the camera didn’t capture the lights, just the storm clouds hanging over the city.

What a quick day of food, drinking and napping. Until tomorrow’s adventures….

Day 15 – It’s all about the food

We had thought last night we would get up early and hike.  Well that didn’t happen, we slept in.  Then we awoke to more news about Tropical Storm Flossie and thought we still need to get a few items (more seltzer, wine and beer…if we lose power those items don’t have to be cold), so let’s go shopping.  Where can we go?

I know, I know, let’s try another farmers market in Kailua, baked items won’t go bad without being cold, let’s get some jelly…you can always make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Off we went to the market.

IMG_2712From the North Shore it was a drive, but worth it.  It reminded us of the Haleiwa Sunday Market we loved.  It had character, not crowded, food vendors with awesome cooked food that balanced out the fruit/produce vendors.  We ate a breakfast burritos that was killer (sorry forget a photo), had a lilikoi drink that was so fresh and then a green smoothie that had the lovely bite of ginger in every sip.  You could pick up fresh meat, fresh greens, wholesome doggie food for your four-legged friend and it wasn’t overly crowded.  Can you tell I like this market?

IMG_2713 IMG_2711 IMG_2710 IMG_2709 IMG_2708We picked up a bag of kale ($3.00), lilikoi jam, some scones and a hand of green bananas(by the time we got home, the bananas were already yellow). But let me tell you about Naked Cow Dairy Hawaii.  OMG you want honest, good cheese, find this place, buy their product and savor every ounce of it .

OMG amazing fresh cheese
OMG amazing fresh cheese

Our next stop was Foodland in Kailua, wow that was the nicest Foodland outside of Princeville,Kauai we’ve been in.  Picked up a few items, but forget to get extra water.

After that we decided to take the long way home and drive the coast up to the North Shore.  Our first stop was  Kailua Beach Park.  Pretty beach.

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As we drove along, we stopped at one more beach for a prime viewing spot of Chinaman’s Hat. It was Kualoa Beach Park.  The locals were here and we didn’t stay long.

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The view looking makua was just as beautiful.


This was the last beach stop as we drove along.  I grabbed the camera and snapped a few pictures along the way, enjoy the show.

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If you wonder what I mean by weekends are local time, this is what a beach looks like on the weekend.  I love to see it because it is family time.

P1230186 P1230187 P1230189We kept passing low rider and high rider trucks on our route.  Guess if you had a truck it was  time to join the convey.  I told Mike we should have grabbed the truck at the rental place, we might have fit in for a bit of fun.

We needed to get to Haleiwa for 1 p.m. had to get our luau tickets for the Liluokalani Protestant church luau next Saturday (shh we were raised Catholics, but I don’t think they mind, if we hang out with them). We were a bit early so off we headed to Green World Farms coffee.  We were out and needed a new bean to try.  Had a lovely talk with one of the growers. We were concerned about TS Flossie stripping the trees of beans.  He told us the trees producing beans right now could withstand the wind.  Good news.

With our beans purchased time to head into Haleiwa, what a traffic jam.  Luckily we know the backroads that avoided some of that congestion.  We parked right at the church, picked up our tickets and talked our first story of the day.  We were invited back for the days before the luau to watch the “preparing and baking of the pig”.  We were also invited to come help out with the preparation for the luau.  Guess we need to do it, give back to the community that has welcomed us.

We grabbed a quick lunch and listened to a wonderful singer.


We then went to see our favorite poke vendor, BKs Big Boys.  The woman who helps sells the poke with her husband, is lovely and come to find out while talking story we are both in education.  We chatted for a while about our careers, the politics, common core and the pay scales.  We really loved chatting with her and then she tipped us off to the best place to find pickled mango.

Off we go to find the mango.  In Haleiwa, across from the harbor is a little house that sells pickled mango.  We had a fine time chatting with the gentleman and his wife about everything.  These are the moments that last in a memory, of what a vacation is about.  His pickled mango is the best we’ve had so far.

IMG_2731By the time we arrived home, unpacked the car with all our goodies of food, it was late afternoon.  We had our float in the ocean, read a little and decided on dinner.  That was easy, fresh cheese and poke…not together, cheese first, then poke. Mike also made dessert.  He took that strange fruit, from yesterday and made a frozen dessert.


The frozen concoction had the black sopate, pineapple, banana, vanilla and agave syrup.  He served it with a crushed macadamia nut cookie, we picked up at today’s market and a lilikoi.  I will say this was one of my top 10 desserts I have ever had.


The evening sunset tonight didn’t disappoint.  We picked up some great food, taked story, meet amazing people and ate very well, yeah our life is food centered.

Tomorrow we begin serious storm prep, gas the car up, get water, fill the bathtub with water, take all outdoor items in, charge all electronics and we wait.

Tomorrow or Tuesday’s post might be a little dull, sorry folks, but we have to be safe, or if we lose power…no post at all.

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Day 14 – Frenzies

P1230140A frenzy of fruit? No, today was about crowds and the frenzy they create.

We began our day heading off to the KCC Farmers Market.  We were looking for fruits. On Kauai,  the farmers markets provide lots of fresh fruits. Here on Oahu, we haven’t found just the right market for that.  Our Saturday Waialua one has lots of fresh produce, but little in the way of exotic fruits.

We decided to hit up the KCC Market.  What a mad house.  There were lots of food vendors for prepared foods, all kinds, they outnumbered the local produce/fruit farmer.


see the guy in the Waipa tee shirt? That is our favorite market in Kauai.  Didn't know he was in the picture till i started writing this.  hmmm a sign?
see the guy in the Waipa tee shirt? That is our favorite market in Kauai. Didn’t know he was in the picture till i started writing this. hmmm a sign?

IMG_2662Mike and I had to make a plan, if we got separated, where we would meet up.  We both were getting trampled in the crowds. Mike is tall and that is not easy to trample him.  Finally we found a fruit seller. Jackpot!!

dragon fruit
dragon fruit

red pitay
red pitay

we picked up one of these
we picked up one of these

thought it was interesting, but didn't get any
thought it was interesting, but didn’t get any

hmmm, not today
hmmm, not today

We escaped the frenzy of people and headed out to the Waikiki Artfest. All items are handmade in Hawaii.  I was a little nervous the crowds would be thick and we wouldn’t be able to move again, without being jostled.  No fear, the booths were spread apart and the crowds weren’t there.

for all my teaching friends, thought this was fun.
for all my teaching friends, thought this was fun.


Being so close the beach we had to walk over and check out the Waikiki scene.

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After the excitement of the morning, we were ready to head home to the north shore.  As we were walking to our car through Kapiolani Park, Diamond Head was just beaming in the sun.

Diamond Head
Diamond Head

I had to post it to facebook and when I did, I noticed He’eia Kea Pier General Store and Deli posted their lunch special.  Off we go to Kaneohe for lunch.  Mike had their shrimp sandwich and I had their fresh caught opa.

opa fish
opa fish

We finished up and noticed  a local boat was unloading their catch to a truck.  The fisherman had a bounty of  aku. I am sure in the boat it was a frenzy of fish.

IMG_2685 IMG_2687 IMG_2688Time for us to head home.  Of course on the way home we had to stop at BKs Big Boys Poke for some fresh poke.

Once home, we read, swam and had dinner.  Our neighbors had a little party, which upset the neighborhood peeps.  Again another frenzy of people in our day.

So let’s cap off the night with a throng of people.  We ended the night going to our first Bon Dance.  We had never been to one before.  We stayed for 45 minutes, the crowd was intense and even though they were doing the lantern float, there was no way we could make it down to the water to see it, the crowd was so thick.

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It wasn’t a busy day, but a day full of people in large amounts, all being swept away by something, whether food or music.  Hopefully tomorrow will a day of less frenzy for us.

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