It pains me a bit to write this blog post…it’s rainy and 60 degrees outside here in Portland, which makes it hard to shuffle through the gorgeous photos from our trip to Maui and remember the awesome times we had with Rob and Amy. (Sigh.) It was sooo much fun.
Jeff, Rob, Amy and I booked our first trip to Hawaii to celebrate our anniversaries – our third anniversary was August 22, and Rob and Amy’s fifth was October 26. Jeff and I made a pact to take a trip for each anniversary in lieu of exchanging gifts. First anniversary: Nashville, Tennessee. Second anniversary: Astoria, Oregon. I have a feeling it’ll be tough to top this year’s anniversary trip…
Our home base for six days in Maui was the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. It was a perfect location, tucked in the warm Maalaia Bay and surrounded by resorts, golf courses and swanky shops. The best part: the coast-hugging sidewalk that runs the entire distance of the Wailea shoreline. It was amazing – and it’s how I discovered the neighboring Grand Wailea Resort’s free 7 a.m. beach yoga class. Sweet! Somehow Maui makes you want to get up early and work out. 🙂
The sights were ridiculous, and so was the food. Pricey, yes, but insanely good. Our first taste: a delicious $18 monster basket of mahi-mahi fish & chips at Da Kitchen Cafe in a strip mall near the airport. We adored Star Noodle, an Asian small-plate restaurant captained by James Beard Award nominee Sheldon Simeon, and Mama’s Fish House, home of the best seafood (caught the same morning by fishermen listed on the menu) I’ve ever eaten. Surprisingly, the ahi poke from the supermarket Foodland was delish (we got that tip from our bike tour guide). Monkeypod Kitchen – named for the unique, broad-canopied trees that dot the landscape – was great for dinner, and Rob and I slurped up key lime pie gelato at One Gelato Company in Paia. The drinks and ambiance at the Four Seasons lobby lounge were also pitch-perfect.
We spent a fair share of our time lounging by the Marriott infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean, but we also packed in activities such as an evening Te Au Moana Luau with a smoked pig buffet, tropical cocktails and Te Au Moana (“The Ocean Tide”) luau show. The Haleakala Bike Company‘s summit deluxe tour took us to the tippy-top of Mt. Haleakalā, towering 10,023 feet tall and forming more than 75 percent of the island, before dropping us off for a 23-mile bike ride zig-zagging down the volcano. We spent most of our last full day driving the switchback-filled Road to Hana, 60 miles of highway carved into ocean cliffs that cut through lush rainforests, hidden waterfalls and breathtaking beaches.
And the snorkeling! We waded into the ocean just outside our hotel and found coral formations, tropical fish and tons of sea turtles just like Crush from Finding Nemo. No need to pay for an expensive snorkeling boat tour! I’m a weak swimmer so I snagged a pool noodle from our hotel and paddled around just fine. I might even be developing a snorkeling addiction.
It was a perfect vacation, and we loved getting to spend it with Rob and Amy. With flights to Hawaii cheaper and more plentiful than flights back home to Michigan, we might have to take advantage of the islands’ proximity a little more often!