jon's 30th birthday is march 11, and as we looked at the calendar we decided to take advantage of 2 empty weeks that i would have off of work in mid-february and take a trip to celebrate. we talked about locations that have been on our travel list (the less expensive list, mostly west coast spots). it was between vancouver bc, san francisco, and san diego. problem was- we were craving warmth and sunshine. and we had just spent 9 days in sd back in august, so we were a little indecisive. i was browsing around on airbnb for fun one night and found the cutest tiny cabin in kauai. just for kicks i walked into the bathroom and said to jon "hey wanna go to hawaii". he laughed and sarcastically said "oh yeah lets do it!" but as time went on and we wanted to nail down plans for a trip to celebrate his big 3-0 we talked more and more about how we could possibly make a trip to hawaii happen. the big things to consider were 1) costs (obviously) 2) it was super last minute to plan, like literally 6 weeks in advance and 3) i was (am) still trying to overcome some intense flying phobia + the thought of a transoceanic flight wasn't comforting to me at all.
after some research and tweaking our budgets, we decided to go for it. you only turn 30 once and we had always dreamed of seeing hawaii- neither of us had ever been. i started working on my flying fears (i found some amazing resources that helped me immensely, message me about this if you want some info!) and we scrambled to book tickets and activities.
before we knew it 6 weeks passed and we were jet setting off to maui! (we ALMOST went to honolulu but i'm so glad i read tons of travel blogs first and realized we would likely be happier in a less crowded place, taking a break from the fast pace and crowdedness of seattle.) the flight was smooth and doable for me, and i felt more confident than ever by the time we arrived. the flight home started out suuuper rough since we were taking off during a typhoon and there was a ton of turbulence but i managed the rest. shoutout to my freaking amazing husband who let me squeeze the crap out of his leg during this death ride (we weren't actually ever in danger but in the moment i believed that. baby steps i guess.)
i'll share a series of photos we snapped (not many food ones- i'm terrible at this). enjoy!
these were the first views of the west maui mountains when we were driving to our hotel- we were mesmerized!
we stayed at a historic hotel built in 1901 called pioneer inn, right in the heart of lahaina. we totally lucked out with this location, it was right on front street, a huge tourist attraction in maui that features art galleries, museums, shops, and tonnns of food. we walked this strip lots of times while we were here. we both agreed that we'll likely stay in lahaina on our next trip to maui!
first beach sighting the afternoon we got in. we were running on 4 hours of sleep and you can see it on our faces.
we stopped by "baya bowl" a few blocks from our hotel for breakfast the next morning. they serve amazing acai bowls and fruit smoothies. 5 stars for baya bowl!
more first morning wanderings.
it rained quite a bit our first day and a half. we kept ourselves entertained with bananagrams. the crazy weather made for some equally crazy sunsets!
we headed north to ka'anapali beach and napili bay beach. the beaches were GORGEOUS but the swimming was more challenging than we had anticipated. neither of us have much experience with ocean swimming so we played it pretty safe here.
we grabbed lunch at the famous "gazebo" restaurant on the water right next to napili bay. they're famous for their banana macadamia nut pancakes (pic by jon) so we opted for the brunch menu. this ended up being one of our favorite food spots on our trip, not only because it was delicious but we had some major whale sightings here. lots of food joints that we went to were open air restaurants which i loved- so beautiful and relaxing.
after lunch we headed up for a little more exploring and stumbled upon this beautiful secluded beach tucked down below the highway that runs along the coast. it was called slaughterhouse beach. weird name- amaaazing beach. there were maybe 10 people here - it was incredibly pretty! i said that literally everywhere we went on this trip- "IT'S SO PRETTY!!"
the next day the weather forecast wasn't looking great, so we checked out the beach park nearest to our hotel, called "baby beach" because there are virtually no waves here. we were the only ones here for a good while- and we had great views of neighboring islands!
the next day the weather was looking much better, and lucky for us we had a fruit farm tasting scheduled in the morning. the farm was further up towards the mountains and the drive was breath-taking. the farm was absolutely beautiful. we were led by some young guys who were running the tours through a work exchange program and they were fun guides! we tasted some tropical fruits, saw tons of plants, and sweeping views of the ocean and mountains. all of this for 13$/person. highly recommend!
on one of our exploring drives, we pulled off at a "1000 ft lookout" sign thinking we'd just snap some photos from the parking lot. once we got out of the car we could see that trails led from the parking lot all over the side of a grassy, rocky slop. the rock looked like red lava rock and contrasted so interestingly with the lime green grasses sprouting out of them. past the slopes you could see the rocks drop off as cliffs into the water.
we got the most spectacular sunset view here and it was magical. sunsets for me are super meaningful and i make it a point to watch from a wide-open vantage point (preferably next to water) whenever i can. on this evening, heavy clouds covered the sky except the last little edge of the horizon. when the sun peaked down below the cloud cover, it drenched everything in golden-orange light. it was something else.
the next day we headed south to makena/wailea area to check out "big beach". super popular, for good reason. we were delighted that the waves seemed to be the calmest we had seen so far at any of the beaches. wished we could've stayed here longer, but we had to make it up in time for the engagement shoot we had scheduled (this blog post coming later!)
we checked out the infamous coconuts fish cafe (pics by jon) and we were dazzled. it was freaking amazing. i would go right now if i could. jon ordered coconut fish + chips and i got fish tacos. also we had to stop for a little bird family crossing on the way!
that's all for part 1! if you made it through all of that - i give you a huge high five. thanks for tuning in to my travels as well as my work :)
til next time,