Thursday, May 7, 2015

So long Hawaii...for now...

Our travel back home didn't begin until 5:30 at night, so we soaked up some final rays, enjoyed one last tasty lava flow, and one last drive in our Jeep. All good preparation for the looooong trip ahead. 

We rode on three different airplanes, traveling nearly 8,000 miles back to good old Virginia. We made the most of our journey, with a nice dinner and some shopping in the Honolulu airport, free cocktails on our flight to LA, and watching golf on the flight from LA home. 

Of course for as tiring of a trip as it was, the greeting we received from Adam and Liddy when we arrived back home made it all worth it. Adam loved the goodies we brought back for him - especially the lava rock we scooped up for him on the beach where we wrote his name in rocks. Boy was it good to be home with our family. 

Though I know we left a little piece of ourselves back in Hawaii - all the more reason to return someday. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Our last night in Hawaii...

Our week in Hawaii went fast but at the same time we really felt like we made the most of everyday, we found plenty of time to just relax, and did everything we could to fit in as much of the beauty of Hawaii as possible. That said - our final night was upon us so we dawned our leis and set out to live it up island style one more time. 

Going to a luau is definitely one of the things you hear as a "must do" when you say you're going to Hawaii, however with the steep price tag and the thought of a buffet dinner we weren't really keen to partake - though on the other hand I really did want to see the show portion of a luau. So you can imagine my delight when we learned that our resort puts on a free hula show every Thursday evening - right during happy hour at the tiki bar. I knew from the minute we checked in that this was going to be a perfect last night event. We weren't supposed to take photos - but after seeing nearly every one else break that rule - I did sneak a few. The show was perfect - festive, colorful, traditional, and only 45 minutes - the perfect amount of time - Andy agreed. 

After the show it was off to catch the sunset. Sadly the clouds got in the way a bit, but it was still a gorgeous view and I took probably way too many pictures - but that sky just kept getting prettier and prettier every minute! 

We capped off the evening by signing the check book (they actually give you the check in a book) and leaving our mark on what will no doubt be one of our favorite vacation spots! 

Foodies in Hawaii...

Wow did we have some delicious food and drinks on our trip! I think we had ahi tuna at least once a day the whole time we were there - I mean, why not? I also had a life changing moment with some foie gras sushi - yes, that's right - foie gras sushi. I about died. 

It wasn't just the food that would wow us, but the places where we ate all had their own Hawaiian charm to them. We had lunch at a place called Bamboo one day - came highly recommended - and while the food was certainly delicious, the highlight there was the random hula show we got to watch while we waited for our lunch. 

Just one more reason to love Hawaii! 

The Big Hilton on the Big Island...

Since we were staying at the Hilton Grand Vacations property we had full access (and free parking!) at the Hilton resort just two miles down the street. While we loved where we stayed, it was fun to have the resort to visit from time to time. It is a massive property with gorgeous views everywhere you looked. It was fun just walking around and snapping photos. 

We also loved the lagoon the had where we were able to go snorkeling a couple times. The Big Island is the only one in Hawaii that doesn't allow beach front hotel properties, so the Hilton built a lagoon - with water flowing directly from the ocean - so we got to swim with these beautiful fish and sea turtles! I had never been snorkeling before but I just loved it. I wish we had a GoPro so we could have taken pictures of what we saw, but I suppose the images in my memory will have to suffice. 

Another cool feature of the hotel was their dolphin lagoon. Talk about up close and personal - these dolphins were just hanging out showing off their tricks right in front you and for as long as you wanted to watch - which I sat there and watched a ton! We also got to FaceTime with Adam a few times while we were in that area and he got such a kick out of seeing them. I could swear one of them was even playing with and smiling at me. They are too cute!

You could tell this was definitely the resort to stay in if you had your kids with you - pools galore, water slides, a train that takes you from building to building & a boat you could take as well, parrots in the lobby, flamingos hanging out poolside, sharks (eek) etc. etc. etc. Maybe next time we'll bring Adam ;)