So Long Oregon, Aloha Maui!

If you’ve been keeping up with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you’ve probably figured out that I’m spending two of the most exciting weeks of my life in beautiful Maui, Hawaii with my mom.  Our flight landed in Kahululi just yesterday, but I’ve already made enough memories to last a lifetime!

After a looong night’s rest (12+ hours of travel spent in closed, confined spaces can make even the most determined jet-setter tired!) we woke up refreshed and ready to face the day ahead.

Once we’d finished a leisurely breakfast on the lanai (Hawaiian for “deck”) we took a stroll through the neighborhood, stopping to admire the abundance of plumeria bushes. After a detour to gaze at the sparkling azure ocean waters, Mom and I returned home to enjoy snacks and games on the lanai.

17991804_481530482238298_6866030522071825394_nWhile laying out by the pool and warming our frosty Oregon bones, we scanned several visitors magazines and discovered an article on the Island Cream Co. Located only a short jaunt up the road from our condo, this local shop serves only the finest icy treats–namely, “Island Cream”. Billed as a cross between ice cream and gelato, these luscious ice creams are all made in-house with fresh, local ingredients. And imagination is the name of the game! Although the company produces over 60 different varieties of ice cream, the daily selection is limited to a generous 36 flavors–more than enough to choose from. Mom and I would have to make some tough choices.

Fortunately, several signs plastered throughout the shop reassured us that requesting free samples is not only accepted but encouraged. We eagerly sampled several flavors each before deciding to split a combo of Peanut Butter Pie and Salted Caramel–yum!  True to its word, the Island Cream Co. creates delectable desserts with impossibly creamy texture and deliciously rich flavor. I can guarantee I’ll be back to this award-winning, Hawaiian-style take on an ice cream parlor before the trip is over 🙂

After savoring our scoops of ice cream, Mom and I took a stroll along a busy main road until we crossed over onto a crumbling seawall (our version of a walkway…) and began the perilous crossing to the other side. Some might laugh at our adventurous spirit, but there was a method to our madness.

First of all, we were hoping to spot Maui’s resident sea turtles frolicking in the surf below and, secondly, one of the island’s best beaches was only a five-minute walk away! Our wish was granted and, halfway across the wall, we paused to exclaim over a particularly playful turtle. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me–otherwise I would have been sure to snap a picture.

And, if I’d had my camera with me, I would have been sure to get photos of what happened next…

Once Mom and I reached Ka’anapali Beach and dove into the crystalline blue waters, I spotted something only a few feet from where we were swimming: another turtle!

We paddled out a bit further and, before we knew it, we were swimming with a sea turtle. The three of us frolicked in the waves for over an hour before Mom and I caught a wave and bodysurfed back to the beach.

IMG_1373After returning “home” to the condo and freshening up for dinner, Mom and I convinced our quirky rental car to carry us up the coast to the beloved Hula Grill for dinner. Although I’ve dined at this outstanding eatery during both of my other trips to Maui, the restaurant’s stellar service and fantastic food never disappoint.

This experience was no exception. After devouring several hunks of the Hula Grill’s signature focaccia bread (don’t forget to dunk it in the restaurant’s signature sweet/spicy chili water dipping sauce!) we were stunned by our entrees.

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Mine consisted of grilled, spice-rubbed chicken and amazing savory pan jus, served over a hunk of gooey jalapeno cornbread–superb! The cornbread soaked up every drop of the jus and the combination’s effect on my taste buds was nothing short of magical.

 

And that’s exactly the word I would use to describe this entire first day: Magical.

From tranquil hours spent strolling along the shore to amazing encounters with some of Hawaii’s most popular locals–sea turtles, of course–this day was a fabulous start to what is sure to be a picture-perfect vacation.

I hope you enjoyed my random ramblings about Maui, turtles, and…okay…a lot of food. I’m a foodie at heart! If you liked what you read and my pictures made you long for a tropical escape of your own, make sure to check back here tomorrow as I explore Front Street, one of Maui’s most beloved shopping boulevards.

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