Sunday, August 6, 2017


Landing in Kauai

We were invited to join my extended family for a trip to Hawaii. We don't fly a lot but obviously going to Hawaii was going to involve a few planes. You can't fly directly from Ohio to Hawaii, you have to change planes somewhere on the west coast. And it was going to cost the same to fly from Ohio to Oregon to Hawaii in a single day as it would to fly from Ohio to Oregon, hang around Oregon for a few days and then fly to Hawaii, so staying in Portland for a few days would be like getting a free trip! Of course we'd have to pay for our lodging, food, and car rental, but other than than, it's free!

Scott and Todd checking out some public art in Portland

So we chose our flights based on where we wanted to had those two extra trips. Portland was an obvious choice because we have a friend who lives there and we enjoyed visiting the city the last time we went.

Us at the Chandelier Drive Thru Tree

The second choice was a little tougher. LA? San Diego? San Francisco? Seattle? Las Vegas? There were many options but when we thought about where we really wanted to go back to, the redwoods and Trees of Mystery were at the top of my list. Unfortunately there isn't a big town near the redwoods to fly to, so we ended up flying to San Francisco, renting a car, and driving up to Trinidad, CA. In hindsight, perhaps we should have flown to Sacramento and driven up from there. It would have been about the same distance but we were flying in on a Friday and worried about the San Francisco weekend traffic. Turns out it was fine, and we had a great time in the redwoods and Trees of Mystery.

Because I already blogged about the redwoods and Portland when we were there in 2010, I didn't write additional blog posts about them, I just added to the existing posts: California Coast Attractions,  the California Coast Lodging & Dining and Portland Lodging & Dining

One of the things we did encounter, at least on the CA and OR coast, were Paul Bunyan statues. Here's me with four of them, in the order we encountered them.
   1: Willits, CA, in front of the Lumberjack restaurant. Might not actually be a Paul.
   2: Klamath, CA, at Trees of Mystery. The tallest and my favorite. I'm on his boot.
   3. Seaside, OR, on US 26 going from Portland to Cannon Beach. Oney's Roadhouse is closed.
   4. Portland, OR, in the Kenton neighborhood. Currently being fixed and repainted. I'm in the bottom right of the photo.
Click on the photos to see them larger.

Here are the links to the blog posts about Hawaii:

Maui   |   Kauai   |   Oahu   |   Dining in Hawaii



Old Lahaina Luau :  (Lahaina) My favorite thing was going to a luau. The weather was perfect, the sunset over the ocean, the food, the drinks (I'm now a fan of Lava Flows), and the hula dancing!

The dancers were certainly athletic and their hips moved so fast! It was a wonderful night.

Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm : (Kula) The lavender farm is partway up the mountain and offers spectacular views of the island. They grow more than just lavender there, it's more like a botanical garden. They also sell lavender items. I particularly enjoyed the lavender shortbread cookies and the lavender lemonade.

Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center : (Makawao) This is near both the lavender farm and the pineapple tour. This place also offers great views of the islands and used to be a large family house so it's interesting just to see the architecture. They have a gallery, a gift shop, working art studios, and the remains of an old mill.

Maui Pineapple Tours : (Makawao) This tour was educational and also delicious as we got to eat pineapples straight from the fruit out in the field, and they also gave us some pineapples to take home with us. Did you know that pineapples grow on a stalk, like corn does? And a first generation pineapple will take two years to fully ripen. Some tips: a few hours before you want to eat your pineapple, twist the crown off and set it upside-down so the sugars will spread evenly throughout the fruit.

The Road to Hana : (Maui's North Shore) The road to Hana is only 64 miles long but it has 620 curves and 59 one-lane bridges. Not only can it be a slow drive, there are numerous places to stop including waterfalls (to view and also to swim under), beaches, hiking, and local food (we liked Aunt Sandy's banana bread and Coconut Glen's coconut ice cream). There's not all that much to see in the tiny town of Hana, but there are more beaches there. Since there were seven of us and neither rental car could accommodate all of us, we opted to hire someone with a van to drive us. Our guide also knew the best places to stop, including the fact that the giant sea turtles beach themselves on Hookipa Beach in Paia at sunset.

Beaches : There are many beaches on Maui, some are crowded and some are not. This is a photo of Secret Cove beach just south of Makena State Park. This beach is popular for weddings and when we were there they had two weddings going on at the same time.

Interesting towns on Maui

Lahaina : An artsy town on the western edge of the island (they have their art night on the second Fridays, which was when we were there). They also have a giant banyan tree in the center of town. There are plenty of shops and restaurants.

Paia : some of the locals called it a hippie town, which might be why we liked it. Lots of shopping, including the Maui Crafts Guild which is an artist cooperative, and also great food choices including the Mana Foods market which has a food bar where you can get hot food items including pizza and vegetarian items. 

Makawao : Not only was there a lot of original art for sale, there were at least three artists working in their shops when we were there. They have their art nights on the third Fridays.

You can also check out my posts about Kauai, Oahu, and places to eat on Hawaii.



Waimea Canyon : (Waimea) Also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, this is a large canyon on the western side of Kauaʻi. There are two overlooks in Waimea Canyon State Park (and several other places where you can just pull to the side of the road) and if you keep going down highway 550 there are two more overlooks in Kokeʻe State Park. Both parks also have hiking trails.

Koloa Ziplines : (Koloa) One way to get a great view of a place is to go ziplining! (You can see the line in the bottom of the photo above). Parts of Jurassic Park were filmed here. There were eight lines and the last one was half a mile long. Those of us who were more adventurous even got to go down one line upside-down. While there are several places in Hawaii to go ziplining, I can recommend the place we went to as the guides were great!

Na Pali Coast Sunset Boat Tour : (Hanalei) The best way to see the coast is by boat. The two-hour tour included the boat going into a cave. One interesting note is that somewhere up there is the Kokeʻe State Park overlook that we were at the day before, looking down to here.

Wailua Falls : (north of Lihue) These falls were featured in the "Fantasy Island" opening and you can view them from the road. They are near the airport.

Beaches : There are several beaches in Kauaʻi including Hanalei Bay which is a popular spot for surfboarding in the winter and fairly calm in the summer. Unlike some other places, these beaches can get pretty dark on a night were there isn't any moonlight.

Hiking : In addition to Waimea Canyon, there are several hiking options. Scott hiked along the Okolehao Trail and took the photo above.

Interesting towns on Kauaʻi

Hanapepe : On the south side of the island, the historic district has some interesting shops including the Talk Story Bookstore, which bills itself as the Western Most Independent Bookstore, the coffee shop Little Fish Coffee which did not have fish-flavored coffee but did have lavender iced tea, and a swinging bridge.

Hanalei : On the north side of the island this little town has lots of shopping choices ranging from t-shirts to fabulous art at the Halelea Gallery Kauai and many restaurants although in the evening there aren't as many food choices, although the ones that are open, including the Tahini Nui and the Kalypso are both good options.

You can also check out my posts about Maui, Oahu, and places to eat on Hawaii.



We didn't have much time on Oahu so this post won't be very long or comprehensive.

Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor : The memorial was solemn and educational.

Iolani Palace : Also historically interesting and very grandiose. Nice garden areas outside, also.

Hawaii State Art Museum : I really enjoyed the exhibit that was there "Hawai‘i: Change & Continuity." It opened in Sept. 2015 and the website doesn't list an end date and features artwork by Hawaiian artists. The piece in the center is an art quilt by Karen Gally.

In the same building as the Hawaii State Art Museum is the HiSAM Sculpture Garden which features two interesting art pieces utilizing glass and colors. Above is a pool that has been painting with glass tiles on top of the paint. (That's me "swimming" in it).

This piece is above me in the photo. It's a pavilion with glass on top that has been painted. The colors on the concrete around me are the sunlight shining through the painted glass.

Kuhio Beach Torchlighting and Hula Show : Free shows on the beach on most Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Beaches : There are several beaches on Oahu. In Waikiki we were able to walk a few miles along the beach going by the backs of the hotels.

You can also check out my posts about Maui, Kauai, and places to eat on Hawaii.




Captain Jack's : A fun restaurant and bar on the second floor overlooking downtown Lahaina.


Maui Pie : All of the pies looked and smelled amazing, but we couldn't eat all of them. I can verify that the mango-strawberry is amazing.


Mana Foods : It's a grocery store but it has a hot bar inside where you can get ready-to-eat pizza, chicken, and vegetarian items.



Litte Fish Coffee : Coffee, sandwiches, pastries, and lavender iced tea.


Food Trucks : at 5-5100 Kuhio Hwy in Hanalei, lots of options

Tahini Nui : featured in the movie "The Descendants" but don't try to order an old-fashioned here. Good dinner and drink choices.

Kalypso : Good for dinner, has little private balcony tables. Also has the best Lava Flow cocktail.

Banandi : Savory and sweet crepes.

Chicken in a Barrel : "Surfing an ocean wave isn't the only way to enjoy a barrel." They use a custom made drum barrel to cook their meats.

Hanalei Bay Pizzeria : If you're not that hungry you can get pizza by the slice.

Pink's Creamery : Gourmet ice cream, house-made sorbet, and dairy-free ice cream options. They also make grilled cheese sandwiches with pineapple.



Eggs & Things : They specializes in pancakes, omelets and crepes but are open in the evening, too.

You can also check out my posts about Maui, Kauai, and Oahu.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Red Sox Baseball : My husband is a baseball fan and seeing a game at Fenway Park was on his bucket list. It was no surprise that the Red Sox fans take the game seriously, but what surprised me was how much they liked to sing. "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and "Sweet Caroline" are to be expected. But "Take On Me"? With a crowd full of people trying to do the high note? Anyway, the Red Sox won 13 to 3 over the Oakland As.

Boston Commons / Boston Public Gardens : Having read about the Commons and the Public Gardnes in the Spenser books by Robert B. Parker, we were interested in seeing them for ourselves. The park was even lovely at night.

The Public Gardens is where they have the swan boats, which were also mentioned in some of the Spenser books. Yes, we went for a ride on them.

Boston Duck Tour : The Duck Tour not only drives around town, sharing the history and architecture of the city...

...but it also goes into the Charles River. (So including the Swan Boats and the row boat in Central Park, that makes three boat rides on this trip.)

Mt. Auburn Cemetery : Located across the river in Cambridge, this cemetery is more like a park, and they also have the Washington Tower which you can go up in and see views of the city.


When we were planning our trip to Boston, one of the things we wanted to see was the Boston Public Commons. So I decided we should stay near the commons. The only problem was that the hotels in that area are expensive. Like $400 a night. And if I thought a $400 room was four times better than a $100 room, I might be willing to try it once. But I wasn't sure that it would be.

Instead we were able to rent a whole apartment at Back Bay Beacon for less than that. Kitchen, dining area, living room, and bedroom. In a quaint brownstone just around the corner from the park. And it wasn't even an Air B&B, the whole building is apartments that are short and long-term stays. We were on the 6th floor but the building did have one of those charming, tiny, old-fashioned elevators.

This location was less than half a mile from a parking garage, about a quarter of a mile from a subway station, and 1.5 miles from Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox baseball stadium. This was important as the subway was very crowded after the game so we walked back.

Boston Dining :

Because we had an apartment, we didn't dine out a lot. And it wasn't until after dinner on our last day that we discovered that there were many restaurants that looked interested a few blocks over on Newberry Street.