Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Maui Day By Day: On Top of the World June 30, 2013

Filed under: Family Time,Hawaiian Adventures,Travels — Amy Scott @ 7:32 am
Chilling at 10,000ft!

Chilling at 10,000ft!

On Wednesday morning, we drove to the top of Haleakala before the clouds officially set in and blocked the view. Many tourist will crowd around the small gazebo at the summit of the mountain to watch the sunrise. It’s supposed to be pretty awesome and pretty cold, but honestly, I didn’t need to see the sunrise with 200 strangers. We opted for the 8:30ish time range and we had the place mostly to ourselves. It was like another world up on top. My grandma mentioned it looked like mars which I can understand because the dirt is kind of red, but Dad made a joke about how would she know what mars looks like. With almost 80 years to her credit, I believe my grandma knows a lot of things! The temperature was the coldest we saw on the trip – it was in the mid 50’s up top. That is right up this northwesterners alley. However, I didn’t really dress for the temp, so I’ll admit I was bit chilly. At the same time it was kind of a nice to be cold.

Once we scaled back down the mountain side, we stopped at a local lavender farm with some beautiful grounds. I tried a sample of lavender fudge sauce. Surprisingly it wasn’t bad, but then again it wasn’t super lavendery (if that’s a word). All the lavender products smelled good. I think I prefer lavender as a fragrance more than a flavor. We had a lavender cookie at the luau and it tasted like eating a flower. I’m not a fan of eating flowers. Just a little too strong. I do understand that it’s a popular food trend right now. Sadly, I’m not on the bandwagon.

Maui sunsets never get old!

Maui sunsets never get old!

After the lavender farm, we took off for the University of Hawaii botanical gardens. They weren’t extremely impressive, but it was free. We ended up eating a picnic lunch under the big banyan tree there and the shade was quite delightful.  Plans were quickly made to head back to the condo so my parents and the boys could prep for hiking the lava flow they discovered the day before. April, Grandma and I stayed home. Since we’d been it the condo for a week, I took the time to give everything a wipe down and vacuum. I even emptied some of the trash cans and shook out the rugs. After a week of not cleaning, it felt good to do something of a tidying nature.  From there I went into my room and took a nap and played on my phone. It was nice to lie down for a bit and not feel bad about resting. The hikers returned with many stories about beach combing and wild goats. Sounds like they had quite the hike!

As you guessed, Jeremy and I spent another sunset down at the beach in our new favorite spot with the lawn chairs. It was always a great time to connect and just talk about what we thought about the day and what we hoped for the next day. When we got back to the condo, we hopped into our mini-van and went to get gelato (a treat that had been on my sister’s wish list for some time). Ono Gelato is supposed to be the best on the island so we trusted the books and went there. I enjoyed a chocolate hazelnut gelato, but not without sharing some with my shirt and pants. I know, I’m smooth! Chocolate was a good way to end the day!

 

Maui Day By Day: Snorkeling June 29, 2013

Filed under: Family Time,Hawaiian Adventures — Amy Scott @ 8:26 am
The Four Winds II - ready for action!

The Four Winds II – ready for action!

Tuesday was our big snorkel trip! Originally it was supposed to be just us four kids, but mom got the itch to see the fish up close and personal. I know that boats are not her thing, so this was a big deal for her. My grandma decided to join us and stay on the boat and watch. We set sail on the Four Winds II. Breakfast and lunch were provided. I skipped the boat breakfast and ate a larger meal at the condo. I wanted to make sure I was full before we set sail in hopes that it would help any seasickness. The ride out was a little bumpy, but the ride back into the harbor was a lot better for my tummy. Lunch was pulled pork sandwiches and very much welcomed after a morning of snorkeling. We saw lots of sea turtles on the way back to shore and the captain gave us a tour of all the house owned by famous people along the way. Very interesting stuff!

I had a minor panic attack when stepping out of the boat and into the water for the first time. I think my mom and sister did as well. Of course, Jeremy and Andrew are fish and had no issues getting into the water. Andrew even went in with no flotation device! I used both a floatation belt and a boogie board. I’ve always attempted to use a snorkel mask correctly before but this was the first time I really understood how it worked! Lucky for me, I didn’t drink any salt water on this trip! Not like my first beach day! It was great to be in the water and look at all the fish. There weren’t as many fish out as I had thought, but we did see a good variety. This was one of those activities where I had to conquer my fears and I am glad I did! I might never be an avid snorkeler, but at least I can say I did it (and survived)!

The youngest lava flow on Maui!

The youngest lava flow on Maui!

While the family had been out snorkeling, my dad drove into upcountry to find a bakery that was well known for their cream puffs. He bought a dozen cream puffs as well as three pies for the group. My afternoon snack after snorkeling was a cream puff. It was very large and I enjoyed it for the most part. They were a bit soggy from the moisture in the fridge, but still a nice treat. After dinner, we dove into the pie assortment – coconut, apple and apricot-peach. All were very good! I was reminded how much I love peaches and the coconut pie tasted like a macaroon cookie. The apple was good, but didn’t shine in comparison.

We really didn’t make any afternoon plans since we weren’t sure how much energy we would all have after the snorkeling. April had a coffee place she wanted to check out so we drove down to Wailea to get her and Andrew a beverage.  Dad wanted to explore further south, so we drove down through the youngest lava flow on the island. It was almost like another world. We found a small beach with a cove where spinner dolphins like to rest. It was pretty neat. There was a hiking trail that half the family would take the following day. April and I didn’t wear the right shoes and I was tired from snorkeling, so I didn’t jump at the chance to hike. Plus, let’s admit it, I’m not much of a hiker anyway.

Again the day ended with sunset on the lawn chairs and then a silly movie.

 

Maui Day By Day: Water World June 28, 2013

Filed under: Family Time,Hawaiian Adventures,Travels — Amy Scott @ 10:51 am
The boys catching a wave!

The boys catching a wave!

I’m sure by now that you are wishing my trip was shorter! So much to blog about! It’s amazing how long this series can go on! I promise though that we are the tail end of things!

Monday we spent the morning at the Maui Ocean Center learning about fish and turtles and whatnot. It was fun to see  the turtles being fed – that would be a highlight of the morning. Honestly, the ocean center was smaller than I had figured so it was a bit of a disappointment to me for the cost of admission. Then I think about the sea turtles and I think it might have been worth it… maybe! We walked over to the shops near by and got a Hula Cookie. It’s a company that makes fresh baked cookies and ice cream sandwiches. I had a chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie that was pretty good. I like it when the chocolate is still soft and this one was like that!

After lunch at the condo, we headed back to Makena Beach. We had purchased some better boogie boards from Costco and the boys were anxious to use them. Sadly, my dad’s boogie boarding career was cut short when the ocean decided to blow out this contacts! Jeremy and Andrew, however, boogie boarded for almost 4 hours straight. I sat and watched them from a beach umbrella. It was very entertaining. There is a lot of thrill in watching boogie boarding – will they catch the wave, will they biff it, will they ride it all the way to shore? So many questions each time a wave comes. Plus, you can’t beat the huge smile on their faces when they ride a good wave.

For me, this time on the beach just sitting and watching the boys was just what I needed! I needed some down time for the constant going and doing. It was a bit mindless sitting there for a couple hours, but it was perfect. Sitting on the beach doing nothing was one of my hopes for this Maui trip.

After dinner, Jeremy and I made our walk down to the beach. This time went over to the lawn of a near by condo and sat on their very comfy lawn chairs. No one was using them so we decided to make ourselves at home! It was great! There is nothing better than watching the sunset with your feet up on a comfy chair! We ended our day by watching a silly movie from the condo’s collection and eating leftover huapia cake. The family had already started a Star Trek movie while we were out, so it was movie night at the condo. Again, it was nice to rest and just do something brainless! Gotta love vacation!

 

Maui Day By Day: Father’s Day Island Style June 27, 2013

Filed under: Family Time,Hawaiian Adventures,Travels — Amy Scott @ 7:18 am
Dragon's Teeth

Dragon’s Teeth

Sunday was Father’s day, so we let the men make the plans. Our first stop was at the Maui Tropical Plantation. We took a very educational tram ride there and learned all kinds of things about pineapple, coffee, coconuts, macadamia nuts and avocado. The tram driver stopped and gave us a presentation on how to crack a coconut. She started with the coconut in the husk and I was amazed at how big it is when you don’t buy a store bough coconut. I also learned that it’s illegal for coconuts to grow past a certain size in Hawaii. They are “self-harvesters” which mean they fall whenever they want and can cause lots of damage depending on how big they are and where they land. Crazy!

From the plantation, we took off north along the coast. We wanted to see a few spots along the road. The first place we went was called the blow hole. It was a spot down by the shore where water would push up through a hole in the rocks. The hike down looked a little steep and there were all kinds of signs warning us that the blow hole is dangerous… so we watched it from a distance at the top of the hill. Our next stop was a site called Dragon’s Teeth where a lava flow at hardened in a cool way when it hit the ocean. It looks like dragon teeth, go figure! This spot was interesting because you had to walk along part of a golf course to get down to it. Once on the lava flow, it was fun to explore around.  The walk back up to the car from the Dragon’s Teeth was really warm, so we stopped by McDonald’s and got $1 ice cream cones which were a welcome cool treat!

Happy 1st Father's Day, Jeremy!

Happy 1st Father’s Day, Jeremy!

We got back to the condo in time to clean up for dinner. We were all a bit hot and sweaty from the days travels and we had some red dirt on us – at least I did! I changed quickly and then we headed out for our Father’s Day dinner location which happened to be a short walk from the condo. Cafe O’Lei was highly rated by many books and it had a good Zagat rating. On the outside, it doesn’t look that impressive, but inside it was very nice! We all had very nice meals and I would order mine again! I had honey macadamia nut covered roast pork with some awesome mashed potatoes on the side. Jeremy ordered a huge piece of prime rib which is a favorite of his. Because we plowed through our dinner, we decided to share dessert. My dad has chosen this restaurant specially because it was supposed to have good pineapple upside down cake which was a treat he was looking forward to. Jeremy and I went for the pineapple upside down cake and were not disappointed. The cake itself was a smidge crumbly, but the flavor made up for that!

Like most nights, this day ended with us watching the sunset! Jeremy and I diverted from the group to watch the sunset in Kam I’s park. It was great to have some time with just Jeremy and make sure that his 1st Father’s Day at gone well! I do believe it did! Any day where Jeremy can play on a lava flow and eat prime rib is a good a day!

 

Maui Day By Day: Stone Dragons in the Iao Valley June 26, 2013

Filed under: Family Time,Hawaiian Adventures,Travels — Amy Scott @ 7:14 am
Jeremy makes friends everywhere!

Jeremy makes friends everywhere!

Saturday was a free day. We didn’t really go into it with a lot of plans. We made a yummy breakfast of banana pancakes with coconut syrup and fresh fruit. I had never made banana pancakes before so my sister explained the process – mash bananas and then make the mix in the same bowl. Simple and tasty! The coconut syrup was really good, but it slightly got lost in the banana flavor. After breakfast, we did some local shopping around Kihei and Wailea. The local shopping looked a like used junk – especially in Kihei. We stopped at the Shops at Wailea as our second stop and they were very upscale, so we saw both sides of the shopping scene. We stopped by the Honolulu Coffee Company – Jeremy got a Nutty Hawaiian Latte and I got a coconut creme drink that was amazing!

The Iao Needle

The Iao Needle

The morning was spent looking around the shops and then we headed back to the condo for lunch. I ate a lot of PB&J sandwiches in Hawaii which I know isn’t tropical, but it was good for the budget. We ate the condo quite often. The only downside is the condo kitchen was pretty tiny. 3 people was about the max it could hold, so we all made our meals in shifts. At this point, we had no plans for the afternoon so Jeremy pulled out the Maui Top 10 book we had brought and started to look for must see sights that weren’t already on our to-do list. This led us up the Iao Valley. The scenery got greener and more tropical which I know my mom and grandma really appreciated. We stopped at a Cultural Garden and saw some beautiful plants. You could tell this was a local hangout because all the barbeque areas in the park were packed. It looked like multiple parties were going on. The food smelled awesome! I almost pretended to be a part of the group just to get some of that food. At the gardens, Jeremy found many stone dragons and of course, he had to have his picture with them!

Sunset on the roof!

Sunset on the roof!

We drove up a little further from the gardens and saw the Iao Needle and a lovely view of the valley down to sea level. The needle is believed in Hawaiian culture to be a demi-god who got turned into stone. Not a great fate if you ask me, but a nice area to hang out. The great thing about going up the valley is the temperature was cooler so it was the perfect trip for the middle of the day.

Once we got back to the condo it was dinner time! We made tamales and flautas with beans and rice. It was very tasty! The evening ended with sunset on the roof and then Huapia cake (a Hawaiian coconut pudding) for dessert. We had huapia at the luau the texture was a little a weird, so we were curious to see what it was like in cake form. The haupia layer on top of the cake was not as firm as the luau and the rest of the cake was a white cake with coconut flakes around the side. Very good! When you first took a bite it seemed tame, but as you kept eating the sugar caught up with you! It was fun to try another Costco pastry that we don’t have at home.

And that was how Saturday ended!

 

Maui Day By Day: The Discovery of Boogie Boards June 25, 2013

Filed under: Family Time,Hawaiian Adventures,Travels — Amy Scott @ 7:37 am
The perfect way to start the day!

The perfect way to start the day!

Friday was our beach day! Jeremy and I met up with April and Andrew (my sister and brother-in-law) for an early morning stroll on the beach. Jeremy ended up talking Andrew into swimming after sea turtles. I’m pretty sure they didn’t with swim the turtles and ended up really wet. The turtles are kind of leery of tourists and they don’t like having their photo taken (trust me I tried and they always won).

On our drive to Wailea the day before, we discovered Makena Beach called Big Beach by the locals. The boys really wanted to come back to swim there and my mom wanted to make a sand castle. I got in the water right away thinking I was going to be bold and “swim” in the ocean. The surf at this beach was very different from our morning walks at Kamaole Beach I (Kam I for short). The wave would almost suck you out as it grew and then would hammer you. It was perfect for boogie boarding, but not for swimming. Since I’m not much of a boogie boarder, I decided to watch after a while. The waves had toppled me one too many times and I ended up drinking salt water a little too much.

Chilling at Makena Beach

Chilling at Makena Beach

We had lunch back at the condo and then we set off to buy boogie boards that were more girl sized so April and I could try it. We went down to Kam I which didn’t have a big enough surf to boogie board. Sadly, I felt like I squished every wave I tried to ride. The trade winds had also picked up so the spray from the water was kind of a intense. The best part of the afternoon was actually swimming off shore (with the help of a boogie board to hold on to). This was a first for me since I’ve never swam in the ocean back here in the Northwest. I felt like it was an accomplishment.

Once all the boogie boarding fun was had, we headed back up to the condo to have tamales for dinner and then later we went and got frozen yogurt as a birthday dessert for my mom. It was fun to have a beach day and time in the water. Jeremy, sadly, got pretty burnt that day and we learned the hard way that the spray sunscreen isn’t good when it comes to the bottom on the can. Poor guy. Everyone kind of a got blotchy burns, but nothing too bad. For me, my left shoulder got burnt and a spot on my left leg. Lucky for all of us our burns faded pretty fast and didn’t effect the rest of the trip.

 

Maui Day By Day: Lahaina & Luau June 24, 2013

Filed under: Family Time,Hawaiian Adventures,Travels — Amy Scott @ 1:05 pm
Exploring the Grand Wailea

Exploring the Grand Wailea

Thursday morning I awoke to the sound of birds singing promptly at sunrise. I quickly learned that this would not be a trip where I would be sleeping in. By 5:45am, Jeremy and I were out the door and down to the beach. The early mornings right around sunrise became my favorite time of day – only on island time, this didn’t translate back to the mainland. Plus, 5:00am on Maui is really 8:00am in Washington this time of year. So it wasn’t a big deal getting up between 4-5am every day. Jeremy spotted sea turtles right away and then continued his sea turtle streak the entire trip. Not a day went by when my hubby didn’t spot a turtle. He is a bit of a nature guru! Jeremy “talked” me into walking waist deep in the ocean by pulling me in. It was crazy to be in the water so early in the morning and be warm. In fact, the temperature in the morning was perfect. It was in the 70’s and less humid so it was right up my alley.

Once we got back to the condo, we waited for the rest of the family to stir and we started to get ready for our day. We knew our plans would take us to Lahaina, but we didn’t want to get there too early and run out of things to do before our luau later that evening. We decided for the morning that we would drive further south and explore Wailea. We ended up on the beachfront path and diverted to explore the Grand Wailea Resort. It was beautiful. The wedding chapel (which I had seen on an episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8) was delightfully chilled with AC. I could have lived there and contemplated sleeping there at night, but they probably lock the doors so stuff like that doesn’t happen… oh well! We took pictures by waterfalls and looked through their lobby and shops. It was a fun morning. After our exploration time, we headed back to the condo to make lunch before heading north to Lahaina.

How would I describe our trip to Lahaina? In one word… HOT! The afternoon heat had picked up and their was no breeze. It made for a very warm walk around Front Street. We stopped by the Banyan Tree which was amazingly huge. We ate our fair share of samples at the Honolulu Cookie Company (we did this twice because we hit their second location in Lahaina later that afternoon). Because of the heat, my dad decided to treat us all to shaved ice which abounds in Hawaii. I had the “Lahaina” combo which was coconut, pineapple and banana! It was super tasty and a nice chill.

Luau time!

Luau time!

The luau was that evening and I was excited to receive my first Hawaiian flower lei. It was one of the reason I wanted to go to this specific luau. Some other luaus give you shell leis which I know are easy to take home, but I wanted a flower lei really bad! The time before the meal started was filled with activities – hula lessons (which my hubby did so he could play with the noise sticks), professional photographers and painters, they had island crafts and of course, an open bar. You could watch them unearth the piggy that would be dinner that night. Because of the crowd I only saw the mound of dirt which our meal was buried under. The food was really good. Our server, Randy, was super nice and reminded me of a friend back home. He encouraged us to try everything, but I didn’t do that. I skipped a few items and took multiple dinner rolls and slices of a banana bread. I’m a carb girl, what can I say! For the most part I liked everything that I took with the expectation of the pork wrapped in taro leaf. The leaf was icky. After our meal, we watched a traditional Hawaiian hula that explained the history of the islands. Overall it was a very entertaining and satisfying experience.  The only two downsides would be – I spotted two cockroaches on the lava wall by us (GROSS) and the time change made it really late night. Poor Randy didn’t have a rowdy crowd to work with because we were tired from the long day and time change. Thankfully we made it back to condo safe and sound and slept with full tummies!

Thus, ends our first full day on Maui! More adventures to share tomorrow! Woo hoo!