While I enjoy traveling with others I also really like exploring on my own. So, if I’m with other people and I can sneak a couple of hours out on my own I get very excited. That is exactly what happened today. My Dad and his cousin were headed to play golf. I was going to do something my Dad’s cousin’s wife but knew we would not be leaving until lunch time which left me a free morning to explore!
I started the day with a massage at the famous Turtle Bay Resort. Many movies have been filmed there including Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The spa was lovely and had a cool entryway which included some Hawaiian history. The waiting area a/k/a the “relaxing area” overlooked the ocean as did the treatment room I was in. There was a slight mishap with my reservation and they comped me part of the treatment without being asked. It was a lovely way to start the day.
From there I started heading back to the house but I had planned a few stops along the way. This was the same route we took yesterday on our tour and I was taking notes. First, breakfast at Ted’s Bakery. A friend had mentioned it when she heard I was in Hawaii and I also read about it in one of the books I read. It was very crowded with a mix of tourist and surfers. Not only does Ted’s have a wide variety of delicious pastry, it also serves breakfast and lunch. I got a breakfast sandwich and some donuts for tomorrow (although I tested one this morning). It was all good and fresh cooked. Fun little place to check out.
Next I stopped at Waimea Valley. There is a waterfall somewhere in this park but I did not have time for the 3/4 mile hike it required to see it. I did have time to peruse the visitor center and check out the scenery. They had a display of all the movies and tv shows that had been filmed there. Most notable – Joe vs. The Volcano but also included Catching Fire again so I was having a Hunger Games kind of morning. The park does look like something very prehistoric and is right between two mountains (hence the valley). It was very green and lush.
It was then time to head back to the house to start the rest of my day. When I got back I went to check out what was going on with the surf and to my huge delight saw a giant sea turtle sitting on one of the rocks. I dropped my bags and practically ran down to the beach. Luckily I had been warned that the moss covered rocks were super slippery and the only sad thing was he was way out on the moss rocks so I could only get so close. But it was pretty darn cool!
I met up with cousin’s wife and our first stop was the Dole Plantation. It’s right up the road and if there was every a place that screams tacky tourist destination this is it. But we all love those every now and then. I have to hand it to Dole they have you walk in the store first, and last. It is a huge store and they make pretty much everything in pineapple flavor, shape or color. I can only resist so long and ended up falling under the spell and may have a few pineapple souveniers in my bag now. In the store there were also some individual stalls and one was selling koa wood items. Koa wood is very popular here in Hawaii and they make a variety of items. This vendor had a Nativity set that was contained in a real coconut shell. It is really unique and will be lovely addition to my collection. I was able to catch a “pineapple demostration” where a Dole worker teaches you everything you wanted to know about peeling, slicing and serving pineapple. It did include a free sample. We ate lunch at the cafeteria and lunch included the famous Dole Pineapple Whip. It’s basically soft serve ice cream with pineapple juice and it quite tasty. After lunch we took the train which rides through the actual plantation where the pineapple is grown. They also have several other crops on the land but the tour did not mention any of those. It was cool to see the pineapple growing in the field. We then explored the world’s largest maze for a short time. There were lots of fun activities for kids but each had a ticket price and it can add up quick. If you are looking for crazy, touristy fun don’t miss the Dole Plantation!
Our last stop was at Kukaniloko Birthing Stones. This was about 1 mile from Dole and made sense after taking the train tour and learning that had all been Hawaiian royalty land. The birthing stones were used by royalty to given birth in hopes of producing royal children. They are arranged in a circle and some believe it was it a Hawaiian Stonehenge. It’s just off the main highway and on a dirt road. Again, signage is always lacking over here so I trusted my maps and found the stones. There is a plaque reminding people that the area is considered a sacred area by the native Hawaiians. It does have a certain reverant feel about it.
After all that is was timem to come home and while we were out the surf had swelled due to an incoming storm and as I type I can hear it roaring loudly. The waves were huge and the sunset was beautiful. It was a perfect last night in Oahu. As a side note, the sports here crack me up. I just watched the Univ of Hawaii men’s volleyball team play on live tv in front of a packed arena and with cheerleaders. Off to Kona in the morning! The turtle says good night to all!