Well, I just got back from Maui where I celebrated a big birthday and got married. While I only asked a few questions on this forum, I was a long-time lurker and obtained tons of great information. So a big thank you to those of you who answered my questions and to all of the regular posters!
My (now) husband, Tim, and I were in Maui for ten days and had such a great time! I will try to remember all of the details . . .
We left Minneapolis on a Wednesday morning. We hired a driver to take us to the airport since my then fiancé and I were eloping and I was carrying my wedding dress on the plane. We flew through Phoenix on US Airways and arrived in Maui in the afternoon. We picked up a Mustang convertible from Alamo at the airport and were off to the Kaanapali Beach Hotel (www.kbhmaui.com). Both the flights and the car rental went smoothly.
Upon arrival at our hotel, we learned they had given us a free upgrade. While the rooms there weren't the fanciest rooms in Maui, they were still very nice, the grounds were beautiful, the staff was friendly, and we loved it! We also loved Kaanapali beach, snorkeling at black rock, strolling on the boardwalk, and shopping and eating at Whalers Village (well, I liked shopping and eating at Whalers Village; Tim may have just liked eating there).
Our first night there, we strolled over to Leilani's Beachside Grill for dinner (www.leilanis.com). We both enjoyed our meals, as well as the sunset.
The next morning we woke up early (as we would every morning after that) and went wake boarding and wake surfing with Ryan from Wake Maui (www.wakemaui.com). What a great time! It was supposed to be a group trip, but nobody else signed up that morning, so it was just me and Tim. After that, we had appointments to get our marriage license in Lahaina and meet with our minister in Kahului (we made several trips into Kahului/Wailuku during the week to attend to wedding matters). In between, we had lunch at the Cool Cat Cafe in Lahaina (www.coolcatcafe.com). Delicious salad and burgers. When we got back to our hotel, we had some time to play in the surf at Kaanapali beach and snorkel at black rock. Fun. Tim jumped off of black rock; I took pictures/video from the water. We put our snorkel gear on in water that wasn't even waist deep, and as soon as I put my face in the water, there was a big turtle right in front of me. Aahhh, one of my favorite things to do in the world is swim with turtles. That night, we walked around Lahaina a bit and had dinner at the Lahaina Pizza Company (I can't find a web site). The pizza is Chicago-style deep dish, and we thought it was great.
After a few hours of sleep, we got up at 2:00 am and drove to the top of Haleakala Crater to watch the sunrise. The sky was covered with clouds and we were above them all. As everyone says, it was COLD. Not only the temperature, but it was also really windy. Luckily, we were armed with long pants, layers of tops, gloves, and a blanket from the hotel. A shout out here to trip adviser because when Tim started to park at the visitor center parking lot, I told him to keep going. He said, "but why is everyone parking here" and I said "because they haven't been on trip advisor." We parked at the summit.
After watching the sun rise, we spent the morning making our way back down the crater. We had breakfast at Kula Lodge (good food, beautiful view) (www.kulalodge.com), strolled around the lavender farm (www.aklmaui.com), and walked through the cowboy town of Makawao. That night, we went to Warren and Annabelle's (a comedy/magic dinner show) (www.warrenandannabelles.com). It was a lovely evening. At dinner, we chatted with another couple who informed the hostess that we were about to get married in Hawaii. They were there on their "honeymoon." They had been married for three years and had a child, but the husband was in the military and had been deployed three times since their wedding. After dinner, all four of us were asked to assist in the show.
The next morning we were off on a snorkel/sail trip with Trilogy (www.sailtrilogy.com). The wind was gusty and the surf was big the entire first week we were there. All things considered, I thought the water was pretty calm. But a couple of people were not feeling well on the boat. While we motored out to our snorkel spot, we were served pineapple juice and cinnamon rolls. We were supposed to snorkel in Honolua Bay, but the conditions weren't good there that day so we anchored in another bay instead (I can't remember the name of it). The snorkeling was great there. After about an hour or so (maybe longer), we swam back to the boat and were greeted with a feast of barbequed chicken, salad, corn on the cob, and rolls. All were delicious. We had time to get back in the water after lunch, but I was dry and had warmed up by then and wasn't up for another dunk into the cold water. We sailed on the way back, which was very relaxing. After a quick shower, we headed back into town (Wailuku) to pick up Tim's tuxedo. We used Sandy Barker (www.thetuxlady.com) and she was great. Everything fit perfectly and no alterations were needed (of course that may have had something to do with my meticulous measurements :)). But she was also very nice and accommodating. Since we were half way there, we took a drive down to our wedding site, Makena Cove, to check it out in person (we chose it over the internet). It's a beautiful little cove - every bit as cute in person. Afterwards, Tim wanted pizza again, so we went back to the Lahaina Pizza Company for dinner. This time we also shared a caesar salad, which was really good as well.
The next day was another early start for us! We caught a 6:20 am flight to Oahu. We flew on Hawaiian Airlines and everything went smoothly. Arriving at about 7:00 am, we picked up a rental car from Avis, and we were off to Pearl Harbor. I had reserved 10:00 am tickets online for the USS Arizona memorial because we weren't sure how long it would take to get to Oahu, get the car, get to the memorial, park, check our bag, etc., and they say you have to be there an hour ahead of time to pick up your tickets. As it turned out, we were there by 7:45 am. At the ticket counter, we were originally told the earliest tickets we could get were for 9:30 am, but somehow we ended up with 8:00 am tickets and went straight to the line for the movie and the boat trip to the memorial. I had been there before, but Tim hadn't. While I still found the experience to be moving, I felt rushed at the memorial this time. They definitely did not give us as much time there as they did when I was there years ago. Next we purchased our tickets ($22 pp) and took the shuttle over to the Mighty Missouri battleship. We took the tour given by a live person which was included in the cost of the ticket. I found it to be very interesting. Then we strolled around the rest of the ship on our own.
I can't go to Oahu without going to Waikiki beach, so that's where we spent the afternoon. We had lunch at Duke's, which was good, and then Tim took a surfing lesson with JoJo, the owner of Gone Surfing Hawaii (www.gonesurfinghawaii.com). Tim thought JoJo was great, the waves were great, and the location was great. She even had a photographer out there on his own board photographing the whole thing. There was no pressure to purchase the photos, but they turned out great and we found the cost of the photos to be reasonable. After a long day in Oahu, we headed back to Maui at about 8:15 pm.
The next morning was the first morning we could sleep in without setting an alarm. Unfortunately, one of Tim's friends called at 4:00 am Hawaii time, not thinking about the time difference. Oh well. We got up and started our day. We went to breakfast at The Gazebo (no web site, but it's located at the Napili Shores Resort). As expected, there was a line to get in, but we were not in a hurry. I had macadamia nut pancakes, Tim had banana pancakes, and we split the fried rice. All were excellent. Between the two of us, we ate about 1/6 of the fried rice (the plate was huge!).
After breakfast, we drove along the west coast. The drive itself was gorgeous. First stop was the Nakalele blowhole. We hiked down the cliff to get a good view. The waves were crashing wildly against the rocks that day, so we were expecting to see the blowhole erupt. And it did. What a beautiful setting and a fun-to-watch natural occurrence. After that, we backtracked to Honolua Cove, which we had passed on the way to the blowhole. We wanted to snorkel here, since we missed it on our Trilogy trip. I had read that the entry was difficult from land, but we did not find it that difficult (although it is all rocks; no sand). We loved snorkeling here. The water was very clear the day we were there and there was an abundance of fish. After another quick shower, we headed back into Kahului to meet with MaryAnn from Ha'awina Farms to pick up our wedding leis (no web site, but Ha'awina Farms has a facebook page, or her phone number is 808-264-4949). She did a fantastic job on our leis - exactly what I asked for (it's hard to communicate what you want over the phone). I could not find anyone else in Maui who would make Pikake leis because Pikake is difficult to work with, but MaryAnn did. And the price was extremely reasonable.
After putting our leis in the refrigerator for the night, we got ready for our last dinner as an engaged couple. For this, we went to Merriman's (www.merrimanshawaii.com/maui.htm). The view was gorgeous and the food was excellent. The service was fine, but nothing special. Tim had a steak, which he really really liked (it is sometimes very hard to please him at restaurants, so I am always thrilled when he likes his steaks), and I had scallops and lobster. Also very, very good. For dessert, we ordered the famous chocolate molten purse. It doesn't look very appealing when they bring it out to you, but it is very tasty!
Tuesday, June 26, was my birthday and the day of our wedding! We set the alarm for 3:30 am and I got up and showered and did my makeup before Shelly, the owner of Mariah's Mane, arrived at 5:00 am to do my hair (www.mariahsmane.com). We kicked Tim out of the room for just a few minutes while Shelly and I discussed my hair and then Tim took some pictures and then he got ready himself. All of a sudden, Shelly was done and I had a very short amount of time to get my dress and jewelry on and gather everything we needed to take to the ceremony.
We drove about forty-five minutes to get to our chosen wedding beach - Makena Cove. It was worth the drive. When we arrived, our minister, Pia Aluli (www.piaaluli.com), and our photographers, Greg Hoxsie and his assistant (www.amauibeachwedding.com), were there waiting for us. Greg put a microphone on Tim, they set up our video, Pia blew the conch shell, and the ceremony began. Well, almost. Right after Pia blew the conch shell to signal the start of the ceremony, a large wave came in right up to where we were standing, which caused us to have to move the whole operation toward drier land. But then the ceremony began. I cried, of course. And afterwards one of the bystanders on the beach told us she cried too. We don't have our pictures back yet, but both Pia and Greg were great to work with!
After we got married (whew), we headed to Gannon's (www.gannonsrestaurant.com) for breakfast. Another restaurant with a gorgeous view. All was good there except for the one tiny sparrow who wanted Tim's breakfast so much that she tried to take it right out of his hand. Haha. We stopped at Tommy Bahama's in Wailea (www.tommybahama.com) on the way back to our hotel to pick up a piece of their infamous Pina Colada cake. Yum. We took an afternoon nap and then went snorkeling out at black rock for a bit and then back to our room to eat our cake. That evening, we went to the Old Lahaina Luau (www.oldlahainaluau.com). Another lovely evening. Neither one of us is adventurous in the food-eating department, but we both found lots of food we liked on the buffet there. The service was good and the show was good as well.
The next morning, we packed our things and checked out of the Kaanapali Beach Hotel (after attending their departure ceremony where we received Kukui nut leis). We were headed to Hana. But before we could start our trek, we stopped and shipped my dress back to Minnesota so I wouldn't have to travel with it again, we returned Tim's tuxedo, we stopped at the grocery store to load up on groceries for our stay in Hana, and we filled the car up with gas. Needless to say, we go a later start than we had anticipated. Oh well, we were staying in Hana, so there was no worry about getting back to town before dark. Once we hit the Hana Highway, it rained on and off the rest of the day. We still had a nice trip, stopping at the Garden of Eden (www.mauigardenofeden.com), which we really enjoyed, and numerous waterfalls and pools. Tim swam in Ching’s Pond. Luckily, our camera was waterproof.
We had rented a cute little cottage in Hana called the Bamboo Cottage (www.hanaparadise.com/bamboo.html) and we slept really well that night. The next morning, we woke up to more rain. Pouring rain. We looked at the weather forecast and they were expecting rain for the next several days. So, we spent the day in Hana, visiting Oheo Gulch (popularly known as the seven pools), hiking the Pipiwai trail through the bamboo forest all the way to Waimoku falls and back, and stopping at Hamoa beach and the black sand beach at Wai'anapanapa State Park. Then we headed back to Kaanapali where the sun was shining bright.
We were originally going to stay at a cheap hotel in Kahului for the last three days since we couldn't get our money back from the cottage we rented, but upon second thought, we decided to go back to the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. Since we were now returning guests, we were given a free upgraded room and two free drinks at the bar. It was good to be back. That night we strolled down the boardwalk, shopped a little in Whalers Village and had dinner at Leilani's Beachside Grill again. Since we were returning diners, we got a free piece of Hula Pie for dessert. Yum.
Our last two days were two of my favorite. On our second to last day, we got up early and drove all the way down south to La Perouse Bay, where the last lava flow on the island occurred. The black lava fields against the blue ocean was a beautiful scene. We were hoping to see dolphins there, but didn't. Then we worked our way back up the coast, stopping at several spots to snorkel along the way; Ahihi Cove, Maluaka Beach, and Olowalu. Ahihi had an abundance of fish and Maluaka had a good amount of fish as well as numerous turtles. Olowalu was ok, but overrated as I had read. We also stopped at our wedding spot, Makena Cove, and checked out Big Beach, Po'olenalena Beach, and the Kam beaches. Also very nice. Tim had hoped to surf at the Kam beach in Kihei, but the surf that day was tiny and everyone was sitting out on their boards waiting for any bit of a wave to appear. Or else they were being pushed into shore by instructors. Tim decided to skip it. We had breakfast at the Kihei Caffe (www.kiheicaffe.com), which was big, filling, and tasty. We especially loved the caramel rolls.
So we were having a nice, relaxing day, and we were on our way back to Kaanapali. We were almost back, but decided to pull off the road at Olowalu to snorkel. There were about twenty other cars pulled off the side of the road, so we didn't think anything of it. After snorkeling, we got back into the car to leave and suddenly we were stuck in the sand. Really stuck. One guy tried to help at first, but he eventually gave up. I called AAA, but the representative was "very sorry to tell me" that they would not come and help us because we were not on a road. Finally some local guys helped us and they were able to get it out (after letting out the air in the back tires, sitting on the trunk of the car, digging sand out from under the car and pushing). Whew. Relieved, we went back to our hotel, cleaned up and went into Lahaina for dinner and some shopping. That night was the most beautiful sunset of the trip. We watched it on rock wall off of the pier. Then we had dinner again at Cool Cat Cafe and I bought a necklace on Front Street (I know the stores are overpriced there, but I found what I wanted at a price I was willing to pay).
On our last day, we paid to keep the room until 6:00 pm, as our flight home did not leave until 9:45 pm. We rented chairs right on Kaanapali beach and spent the majority of the day in them. We left for an hour to have lunch at Hula Grill Barefoot Bar (www.hulagrillkaanapali.com), where we both liked our sandwiches. We went snorkeling one more time at black rock and this time, there were several turtles on both sides of the rock. The south side was crowded with people by on the north side, Tim and I spent a lot of time hanging out with the biggest turtle we had seen the whole trip, and we had him all to ourselves.
Sadly, our time in Hawaii was coming to an end. We went back to our room, packed our things, and checked out. Before we went to the airport, we had dinner at Mama's Fish House (www.mamasfishhouse.com). The food was very good and our server was excellent. It was expensive, as expected, but it was a nice way to end our trip. As we ate our dinner, we reflected on the ten wonderful days we spent in Maui. Sad to leave, but we will be back some day.