Things to do on the windward side of Oahu- Part 3

When you exit The Valley of the Temples you’ll turn left onto Kahekili Hwy which will merge onto Kamehameha Hwy.  This highway will literally take you all the way to the North Shore. Keep heading down the road for about 3.5 miles and you’ll see …

**Waiahole Poi Factory**

If you’re looking for some authentic yummy hawaiian food, stop your car and get some of the best on the island right here.

**Kualoa Beach**

Chinaman’s Hat is located 0.3 miles from the shore.  And the beach park is huge, making it a great place for camping or weekend BBQ’s with the whole family.

**Kualoa Ranch**

Right across the street you can visit Kualoa Ranch.  The ranch offers horseback riding and ATV riding through the most beautiful valleys.  You can take a Movie Tour and visit some of the sites of where movies like Jurassic Park, 50 first dates, Mighty Joe Young, Lost and if you’re lucky a filming in progress.  They even have a cafe to purchase lunch or a snack.

**Ka’a’awa Beach**

This is the beach that I grew up going to with my family.  We’d wake up before the sunrise, stop off at the store and buy all the foods and drinks we need for the entire day that we had planned for the beach.  We’d meet up with my dads family and have the best time from sunrise to sunset.

**Polynesia Cultural Center**

The PCC is probably one of the most popular tourist destinations to visit here on Oahu on the Windward Side.  Here you’ll be able to experience the different cultures of the Polynesian people.  They’ve built a park where within they’ve designated “villages” to represent Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti etc.  It can be an all day activity by doing all of this, or you can just attend the Luau and evening show called “Ha- breath of life”.  Even if this is a tourist attraction, me and my kids love to spend the day here.

Well, that’s it guys.  I hope you enjoyed these post on the Windward Side of Oahu. It’s very laid back in comparison to the other side of the island where you’ll find the hustle and bustle of life and I couldn’t see myself living anywhere else.

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Things to do on the Windward Side of Oahu- Part 2 Kaneohe

Hi guys!  It’s a beautiful Friday morning and in just about 4 hours It’ll be the weekend for me!!!!  I hope you all enjoyed Part 1 of these posts, I love where I live and am so excited to tell you of some of the beautiful places in my hometown of Kaneohe.  I truly believe that I live in the most beautiful town on this island.  We have the Ko’olau Mountain range on one side and then Kaneohe bay on the other.  I’m grateful (no matter how hard it is financially to live here), that I get to wake up every morning to the sun kissing the mountains. To really see the whole beauty of our little town head on up to the Pali Lookout.

***Pali Lookout***

Going up to the Pali Lookout will give you the best view of Kaneohe, and even further actually.  The gates open at 8am, and I recommend going at this time because the morning sun along with the low clouds will give you such a calming feeling.

***Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden***

We have a botanical garden, which is really a beautiful place if you have kids.  There are huge grassy areas to picnic and for the kids to run around, a pond where you’re able to fish and feed the ducks and some times you’ll even come across peacocks and pigs.  Another place that provides relaxation.

^^ My daughter and niece fishing^^

***The Stairway to Heaven***

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve never been to the top.  In high school and right out of high school I’ve tried to get up pretty far but never did.  I know tons of people that have done it and say that it’s the best feeling and that it is one of the most beautiful views they’ve ever seen.

Here’s the view from the bottom.  It goes allllll the way up!

***Kaneohe Sandbar***

The sandbar is a popular destination for locals.  It can get pretty crowded on holidays but even on a typical weekend you’ll find locals with their boats, hibachis and jetski’s out there having a great time. If you’re visiting you’ll have to find a way out there and when you do you’ll be in heaven.

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***Valley of the Temples***

I love visiting this place.  A few loved ones are buried here so it’s nice to visit and leave flowers and then visit the temple.  Definitely another serene place that I recommend.

Image source for the above 5 photos

It’s been great sharing some of the beautiful places from my home town with you all.  I’m glad I did because sometime it’s easy to take for granted all of the beauty in the world.  You get so distracted by the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take a look around and breath and relax.  I’m very fortunate to have these places to run to if ever I need a nice break from all the chaos.

In part 3 I’ll be finishing up with the remaining cities on the windward side of Oahu.

Things to do on the Windward side of Oahu- Part 1

Hi everyone!  Hope everyone is having a great week.  It’s almost the weekend and I’m so excited!  Besides the scheduled baseball games that we need to attend, we really don’t have any plans.  One thing I know I don’t want to do after going to a game on the other side of the mountain, is to go home and take another long drive.  Maybe we’ll check out the mall or even catch a movie.  Living on the Windward side we’re pretty limited on things to do when it comes to theme parks, big malls and big events.  I thought this would be a great place to share just some of the things there are to do if you ever find yourself on the Windward Side of Oahu. So…. Here are just a few things to take into consideration.

If I could give one “must-do” in my opinion, it would be to start your day off by ordering out from Cinnamon’s Restaurant in Kailua (order out or you’re looking at, at least an hour wait) and having breakfast at Lanikai Beach.  It’s so pretty in the morning and not crowded (on the weekdays).  Here are some of my favorites from Cinnamon’s.

^^ The Crabcakes Eggs Benedict is my absolute fave!^^

^^ These guava chiffon pancakes are the perfect breakfast dessert^^

Now on to some other suggestions…

Hike the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

This really is a beautiful hike.  I DON’T HIKE, but this hike is an easy one.  I’d say that if you plan 2 1/2 hours around this you’ll be able to hike both ways and have lots of time to take in the view and get some great pics.

Image Source

Sea Life Park

You can do this right after the hike. You get in your car and literally drive 5 minutes to the entrance of the park. I have to be honest though, unless you’re planning to actually swim with the dolphins or do other activities besides the free shows, this may not be worth it.  We went a few months ago and were a little bored because the show schedules are catered to those who pay for these extra perks.  So there is a lot of downtime between shows and really nothing much to do with that time. But still a beautiful place to visit.

Kalama Beach

I’ve already mentions having breakfast at Kailua or Lanikai beach but the shoreline in Kailua is long and beautiful.  In addition to these pretty beaches you’ll also run into Kalama Beach.  This beach is good for beginner surfers, they often have youth surf competitions here. but also just a great beach to lay out at.  The parking is limited and you may have to find road side parking but once you get to the sand you’ll see that the trouble was well worth it.

^^ This is my favorite beach in Kailua. That’s the Marine Base there in the distance.^^

Maunawili Falls

The Ko’olau mountains offer us some beautiful waterfalls but if you want to see one up close you can drive just 5 minutes from Kalama Beach to the Maunawili Falls. I used to go here all the time in High School.  You’ll have to be careful on this hike and avoid it if it’s rainy weather which is pretty common on the windward side.

Island Snow

 And don’t forget to grab some Shave Ice from Island Snow.  You may have heard of this place because Barack Obama would stop by while vacationing in Kailua. My recommendation is to get the snow cap on any flavor you decide on!

As you can see the Windward side has a lot of natural beauty to offer.  You won’t find too many tourist attractions or a lot to do indoors but if you love beaches, waterfalls and nature we have some of the best.  In part 2 we’ll be heading over to my home town of Kaneohe as well as the rest of the windward side cities.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and that I’ve provided some exciting adventures for anyone visiting soon.

SOME WEEKEND PICS

On Sunday we celebrated 2 of our nephews (Kanaloa and Kahaku) birthdays at Kailua beach followed by a BBQ at Kahele’s parents house.  I was able to capture just a few pics at the beach. It was so hot and crowded that while everyone was swimming I stayed in my nice breezy spot under a huge tree where I was able to read my book.

Rock Island Cafe Waikiki

For years I’ve walked by this cafe and I’ve never tried it.  Today Kahele picked me up for lunch and I told him that I really wanted to try it out, so without knowing what to expect we headed over.  The minute I walked in I loved the place.  I didn’t even know how the food or the service was, but the decor and feel of the restaurant totally won me over.

  I mean how cool is this place!  It’s like walking into a time machine and heading right back to mid-century.  All of the Elvis, Audrey, Marilyn, I love Lucy… amazing!  And they played the Grease soundtrack while we ate.  Now I think that all my meals should be eaten with the Grease soundtrack playing in the background 😉

Everywhere you turn there’s just some random piece of furniture, stuffed animal, quote, picture that you can’t help to smile at.  I mean, this chair right next to the popcorn machine?

This cute little bar that sits about 5 is located at the very back of the restaurant, sort of like… “hey we need a bar, but don’t have any room for one so let’s just stick baby in the corner”.

Not too sure if this stage is just for show or if they actually have live entertainment.  OMG if I find out that they have Karaoke and you’re able to perform on this stage I’m going back!

Another random bar/podium.  Not sure what it’s purpose is but it oddly fits right in with the restaurant.

All of the vintage posters made me want to watch some oldies.  I think this weekend I may have to make some time for Audrey or Marilyn.  Maybe, Seven Year Itch?  That sound good to me!

Our table had the retro decor and even had Trivial Pursuit cards to keep us busy while waiting for our food.  I wish we had more than an hour but I had to get back to work.

The food was really good. Nothing fancy but really tasty.  I had the Pizza with a Plantation Iced Tea and Kahele just had to have the Diner food- Bacon burger, french fries and a chocolate malt.

Be prepared that this restaurant is a little pricey for the simplicity of the food.  We ended up spending $43 on just what’s pictured above.  But for the experience, I feel like it was worth it.

Rock Island Cafe

131 Kaiulani Ave

Honolulu, HI 96815

 

Tsujita- Yokocho Gourmet Alley

A few months ago the bottom floor to the Waikiki Shopping Plaza was turned into a food court decorated to replicate the alleys of Yokota, a lot of locals are referring to it as Ramen Road.  I’ll be doing a post of the entire floor a little later because it really is a cool looking place that offers so many different Japanese dishes. But for now, I must focus on one of the restaurants that I’ve tried there.  Tsujita, known for their long lines in their L.A. and Japan locations and frequented by many celebrities, has gained popularity because of their thick broths simmered down for hours.  I don’t know what they put in their broth but from the first taste I was hooked.  I love the style of the “dip” noodle, the noodles presented separately from the broth and dipping, slurping, chewing and savoring every flavor.  So yummy!

I love the earthy, woodsy feel of this restaurant.  It definitely transports you to Japan for the duration of  your meal, which it nice when you’re eating there on your lunch break from work.

I was pretty hungry so I went for the Ajitama Tsukemen (Tsukemen with soft boiled egg) as well as their Spicy Tuna Bowl.  I enjoyed both! If you ever get around to visiting this Ramen Road it’ll probably be hard to decide between their 16 vendors, but I can honestly say that this place is good and worth a try.

2250 Kalakaua Ave.

Honolulu, Hi 96815

Thursday Throwback- When Maui met Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Maui used to be the biggest WWE fan when he was a little boy and his favorite wrestler was The Rock.  My best friend Hina worked on the movie set of The Rundown and called one morning saying that he was going to be on site and to bring Maui down to meet him.  Maui was soooo excited the whole ride there and made sure that he brought his wrestling figure of The Rock with him.  When Dwayne started walking towards us Maui all of a sudden got so shy lol.  When he asked his name Maui replied “Maui” and Dwayne said “That’s one of the coolest names ever!”  It’s funny that he actually played “Maui” in the movie Moana!

This weather calls for some ramen

The weather here has been pretty gloomy lately.  Not that I’m complaining,  I love this cozy weather, it’s the closest we get to feeling like winter so it’s really nice.  I also love that it gives me a reason to eat some good ramen.  Yesterday I walked out of the office  and the sky was gray and the air had a little chill.  Instantly, I knew that I wanted something nice and warm and headed over to Goma Tei in the International Market Place.  I was really hungry so I ordered the Tan Tan Ramen and the mini Curry rice bowl.  Big mistake!  I was sooooo full.  I could’ve easily been satisfied with the Ramen alone but it’s a bad habit to order too much. I’ll learn someday 😉

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2330 Kalakaua Ave
Ste 318
Honolulu, HI 96815

Waikiki