Maui – August 24th

After a busy and exciting Wednesday, everyone slept until 6:30AM the next morning. It was incredible! 

We made a late-start to breakfast (well, at least for us), and I enjoyed another omelette and fruit combination.

break

After breakfast, we got set up with some loungers and umbrellas and relaxed for a bit.

lounge

After a while, we frolicked on the beach, both in the ocean and on the sand.

beach

To our delight, we spotted a sea turtle not far from us. I wasn’t able to get close, but George was dying to get closer. We promised him that we would try again later.

We ended up spending more time in the family pools. At this point, I started to get lots of texts from friends about Hurricane Harvey and our plans for getting home. I honestly have the best friends and family – so many people offered to check in on our home and to stock our house with necessities, especially since we left a barren fridge when we left for vacation.

With all the sun we could take for a while, we walked back to our room and ordered room service for lunch. We had a nice little spread on our lanai and did some people watching during lunch. I especially enjoyed devouring this pizza.

lunch

After a bit of relaxing, John and George took a nap and I went down to the gym for a workout. After my run, I did a bit of shopping in the hotel spa and then went back up to the room to do some work while the guys finished their nap.

Later, we all got ready for the evening and made our way to the lobby for a hula show and musical performance. George looked adorable in his Hawaiian shirt.

g dinner

Afterwards, we walked over to Ferraro’s for our last nice meal of the trip. To our delight, we were given the best seats in the house with a table overlooking the ocean and sunset.

view

We drank wine (except G), and shared a cheese and meat plate for an appetizer.

meat

George had homemade pasta for his entrée, while I had the chicken piccata (again) and John had ahi tuna.

pasta

We were so impressed with our meals, yet again. For dessert, we all shared a chocolate tart.

dessert
After dinner, we did some packing in the room before crashing for the night.

Maui – August 23rd

G slept until 5:30AM that morning. Once he was up, we began getting organized for our day to the Haleakala National Park. I mean – did you think we would come all this way and not visit a national park?

We were downstairs at Duo right when breakfast service began at 6:30AM. We kept things simple and I went with my standard omelette and fruit breakfast.

break

Once we were packed, we picked up our pre-ordered picnic lunch at the bell station while we waited for valet services to bring our car around. In addition to beautifully packing our lunches in coolers, the staff also put a blanket, snacks, ginger candies (for car sickness), and cold bottled water in our car. Talk about customer service!

minyz

It took us about 45 minutes to make the drive from our hotel to the Haleakala National Park.

np

Once we arrived in the Park, we began utilizing our Gypsy app – a GPS-oriented narrated audio tour. This was awesome, friends. This was a great way to get insight about what we were seeing and when we should stop for a view. It was also a great distraction from the never-ending hair-pin turns that we encountered on our climb up the crater. However, we were so lucky – there wasn’t a cloud blocking the road, a typical frustration and view blocker for many a traveler up the mountain.

Near the top, we stopped at the second Visitor’s Center to make use of the facilities and to take in the views. Once there, we made a short trip to higher ground to take in the views from up there.

jg ckimb

See the clouds ll rolling in? Unbelievable! 

climb

Since we were feeling pretty amazing at this point, we decided to follow our Gypsy app recommendations and hike part of the Sliding Sands Trail. We basically walked 1 mile down the path and the vistas were unbelievable.

ss walk

We really wanted to hike further into the crater, but with a three-year old in our party, that would have been asking for trouble. So we turned around and hiked up the mile-long path back to the trail head.

me ss

Once we got to the parking lot at the Visitor’s Center, we set up a little picnic in the back of our Jeep. No one was more excited than George.

g lunch

For lunch, we had a mini buffet of cheese, crackers, sandwiches, fruit, carrots, dip, hummus, pits chips, chips, drinks, and desserts.

picnic

Afterwards, we made the quick drive to the Summit to take in the spectacular “in the clouds” vistas.

summ

We got back into the Jeep for the drive back down and George was instantly asleep.

sleep

Meanwhile, John and I were nervous about the hair-pin turns and the clouds and rain that had settled onto the roadway. We made it down with relative ease and made the easy drive back to the hotel.

Once we got back to the hotel, George woke up and immediately began asking for pool time. So, we spent about 1.5 hours at the pool before hurrying to get ready for dinner.

pool

It was “Burger Night” at Duo – which made getting dressed for the evening very easy.

dinn

George had multiple items from the kid’s buffet for dinner, and I had a fried chicken sandwich that was incredible. My meal was served with one of my favorite sides – grilled pineapple.

bur

John and I both passed on dessert, but George dug into her complimentary cotton candy.

cott

Once we got back into the room, we all crashed (HARD) for the evening.

Maui – August 22nd

G slept until 5:15AM, but John and I each woke up several times throughout the night. Adjusting to the time change was brutal.

While G was still sleeping, I snuck out for a run along the beach line. It was glorious. The path was cemented, safe, and beautiful. There were a few runners out and about, but I basically had the world to myself for about a half hour.

morning run.JPG

After my run, I started stretching outside at the hotel and realized that I was near an empty perch of chairs overlooking the beach. When I was done stretching, I sat in one of the loungers and watched the sun come up. John and George came down and we reserved the chairs for later use. See – now this is a happy coincidence that I can get behind. No crazy wake up calls for the sole purpose of reserving chairs. 

We went back up to Duo and had a nice family breakfast. I couldn’t resist the made-to-order griddle station and ordered a blueberry waffle. It was delicious.

break

After breakfast, we changed clothes and went down to the beach to begin our day of sun and fun.

view

The water was super cold, so I didn’t last long in it. While G and John enjoyed the surf, I sat and read. From our perch, I could see the guys in the surf.

After a while, George came up and sat with me while John took a turn with a paddle board.

Afterwards, we all hit the family pools for some fun. George and I also spent some time in the hot tub.

We ordered lunch to our chairs and, true to my word, I didn’t order a salad. I ordered a kid’s nugget and fries meal, and ordered some fresh chips and Maui onion dip to share. Everything was good, but my stomach hurt immediately afterwards. See how I can’t win? Salad? Eh. Brown food lunch? No buneo. Sigh. 

lunch.JPG

Post-lunch, we did a little shopping in our hotel. Then, we all laid down for nap time. Except, I couldn’t sleep. So, I did the next best thing. I walked next door to the Grand Wailea to do some shopping. The hotel had a cute kid’s store and I was able to pick up some cute things for George and my nieces.

I also walked to the beach path and visited a Whale’s Tale, a cute beach coffee shop. I drank some iced tea while watching the sea.

whales tale

When I arrived back in our room, I showered and started to get ready for the evening.  Like many families, we have very few photos of our entire family together. We have many photos of variations of groupings of us, but there are very few photos with all three of us together. So, when we planned this trip, I had an idea to hire a photographer to take pictures of us on the beach. Enter Steve Strand Photography.

Steve is a nice and professional photographer who met us in the lobby of our hotel. We had some fun for about an hour, shooting in several places around the hotel property. However, my favorite location was on the beach during sunset. The light and the views were amazing. Here’s an amateur picture from my iPhone.

g beach.jpg

I plan to share some of these photos in a separate post…once I have organized proofs to share.

Major kudos to Steve for not only being great to work with, but for being so kind and patient with George.

g pics.JPG

After our photo session, we dined at Spago at our hotel. We have been to other Spago and Wolfgang Puck restaurants before, and this variation was truly fabulous. Everything about our experience was phenomenal. George and I shared a peach and prosciutto appetizer that was divine.

din app.JPG

George had the infamous cheese pizza for his entree and I had the impeccable beef ragu tagliatelle.

z pasta

Our meal was over the top delicious. For dessert, we all shared the popular baked Hawaii dish.

din dessert.JPG

Once back in the room, we did some light packing for the next morning’s day trip and ordered a picnic from room service for the next day. After all that, we all crashed for the night.

Maui – August 21st

George slept later – until 5:15AM.  I guess we were slowly adjusting to the new time zone?

Anyhow, while John drank espresso and George watched cartoons, I went down to the gym for a quick workout.

Later, we all reunited at the hotel’s Duo Restaurant for breakfast. As readers of this blog know, I am not a big fan of buffets. Well, with exception. I do like made-to-order egg and griddle stations and our hotel delivered in this area. For breakfast, I had an omelette with cheese and fruit.

breakfast

George had “snow donuts”, fruit, eggs, bacon, and hash browns.

g break

John went with an omelette and a freshly made smoothie. We were all very pleased with our meals.

After breakfast, we made our way to the beach/pool area to set up camp for the better part of the day. Fortunately, we were able to snag a nice spot overlooking the beach and near the family pools.

chair view

I say fortunately because apparently some families woke up at 5:45AM to snag the “best” cabanas and loungers – towel service begins at 7:00AM. Friends, I don’t vacation like that. I won’t purposefully wake up to “snag” anything. If I am up and it’s convenient, well…great. But I don’t have the mental space to deal with any of that mess. So, we were able to sit and relax without having to play the “put-the-flip-flop-on-the-lounger-game-at-an-ungodly-hour” game.

We spent the morning on the beach – both swimming and playing in the sand.

beach

We also spent time in the family pools.

g swim

When I needed a break, I sat in my chair and read this great book.

book

I highly recommend this read, friends.

When we got hungry, we ordered lunch to our chairs. George had a cheeseburger and fries and John had the mahi mahi tacos. I had a Greek salad with chicken. My salad was good, but I pledged that this would be the last pool-side salad that I will ever order – they are usually just good and nothing to write home about. I can eat salads at home. Why not live it up on vacation? Am I right? 

After lunch, George and I took a 3 hour nap in the room. While we napped, John worked. Once we were up, George and I relaxed on our lanai.

G and Mom
Once we were showered and dressed, we made our way to Ferraro’s for dinner. Ferraro’s serves an Italian take on seafood and was located at our hotel.

We really enjoyed the ambiance, food, and service. We were also dazzled by the sunset that occurred over the course of our meal.

John and I kicked off dinner with cocktails and appetizers (soup for G and me, salad for John).

soup

For our entrees, G had a simple pasta, I had chicken piccata with homemade pasta, and John had the snapper.

noodles

Everything was perfectly flavorful. For dessert, we shared the pineapple tart and chocolate cake.

dessert

This was a truly outstanding meal.

Once we arrived back in our room, we all crashed for the night.

night

Oahu to Maui – August 20th

We were all up early – 5:00AM to be exact. While John drank coffee and did some work, George played with some toys and watched some videos on his iPad. I hit the hotel gym for a quick workout.

We met at Surf Lanai for our last meal in Honolulu. Fortunately, it was a good one. Another simple, yet delicious meal. The tomatoes were more amazing than I can describe.

break
Post-breakfast we took a relaxing stroll on the beach.

stroll

Once back in the room, we got ready for the day and packed our luggage. After a bit of shopping in the hotel’s shops, we got on the road to the airport.

Because it was a Sunday, the drive to the Honolulu Airport was quick and easy. We returned our car and took the shuttle to the Hawaiian Airlines terminal for our flight to Maui.

We had TSA Pre Check so clearing security was easy.

tix.JPG

We boarded our flight on time and we left early.

plane

Our flight was half empty and took 23 minutes from wheels up to wheels down.

mf

Once we landed on Maui, we rented a jeep, then made the drive to Mama’s Fishhouse for lunch. The restaurant was crowded, but still cozy and lovely.

guac

We all enjoyed our meals – from the asparagus soup to the crab guacamole to the mahi mahi, everything was delicious.

fish

After lunch, we took advantage of the gorgeous setting and took some pictures.

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Then we made the drive to Wailea and checked into our hotel.

I will write a hotel review later, but I want to note that check-in and the welcome at our hotel were exceptional. So much so that I almost didn’t mind when the front desk offered to upgrade us to one of the largest suites on the property…for an additional $1k a night. Ummm…no. 

Once we arrived to our beautiful room, we unpacked and got organized for our stay. Afterwards, we all took a short nap. Once G woke, he was thrilled to see that the hotel had left him a few welcome gifts.

z room

For dinner, we walked downstairs to the hotel’s Duo Restaurant.

z duo

Duo specializes in both steak and seafood, so we knew we were in for a great meal.

z salad

John and I shared a salad, before we each had beef fillets and shared some potatoes.

z dinn

George had some meatballs, potatoes, pizza, and a bit of my steak.

z g din

For dessert, we shared a few ice cream sandwiches before our server surprised us with cotton candy.

z ice cream

George was in heaven! 

z smile

We finished our meal and walked around the hotel to do a bit more exploring.

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We crashed hard once we made it back to our room. George was tickled when he saw that housekeeping set up a bed for him (our couch made into a bed).

z bed

Oahu – August 19

We all got 8+ hours of blissful sleep on our first night in Oahu. Ahhh.

While John ordered coffee and George watched cartoons, I made my way to the gym for a workout.

Post-workout, we walked down to the hotel’s Surf Lanai restaurant to eat breakfast. John and George had the amazing breakfast buffet and I ordered something off the menu. Friends, my breakfast was simple, yet amazing. The ingredients were so fresh – local bacon, local tomatoes, local potatoes and local eggs.

my break

Simply delicious. The pineapple juice was also incredible.

g juice

After breakfast, we explored the hotel. There are many shops and nooks around the hotel and it was great to check everything out.

nook

Once we got changed, we went down to the beach for a morning of fun.

john and G on beach

We rented beach chairs and an umbrella and frolicked in the water, built sand castles, and relaxed.

beach

For lunch, we made the mistake of ordering from from the nearby bar. John and George thoroughly enjoyed their lunches (burger -John; chicken strips – George), but I was woefully disappointed in my Cobb salad. Specifically, the lettuce was unhealthy looking and was basically the stem of every lettuce leaf. I sent the salad back and asked for a full refund. Blerg.

After lunch, the guys swam in the ocean while I relaxed for a bit more on the beach.

j anf g beach

After a while, we made our way back to the room for nap time. I took nap duty and George and I took a glorious three hour nap together. While we napped, John did some shopping in the nearby mall, then relaxed in our living room.

When we woke up from our nap, we did some relaxing before getting ready for dinner. It was during that time that we decided to change our dinner plans. Instead of keeping our reservation for a super fancy restaurant (I know – don’t say anything), we decided to go back to Il Lupino. After we took a look at the menu for Orchid’s (where John and I had an amazing dinner the last time we were in Oahu), we decided George might struggle finding multiple items to eat, and that was a nonstarter. So, off to Il Lupino we went for another al fresco dinner.

g dinnner

We started off with a meat tray, then had two wood-fired pizzas for our entrees.

meat

The Margherita pizza was on point, but the arugula pizza was only okay. It seemed there were too many ingredients on it for it to be good. In other words, there were too many strong flavors.

pizza

After dinner, we watched another live show in the Royal Hawaiian Center courtyard. That night, a lovely group from the Cook Islands performed. They were truly incredible.

stage
We had some fresh banana cookies back in the hotel room (courtesy of the hotel) before crashing for the evening.

rh night

Oahu – August 18th

On the day we left for Hawaii, I woke up at 3:45AM and made my way to the gym for a long workout. Sweating and exercising always help me minimize travel stress, so waking up early didn’t bother me one bit. Well, that was true until I got a camera alarm notice from George’s room and realized that he was standing up in bed at 4:30AM. I saw John grab him just after George shouted,” It’s time for Hawaii. I am so excited!” Oh my. 

I finished my workout while John tended to George. Once I arrived at home, John and I finished packing our bags. Once I was dressed and ready we loaded the car and made our way to our neighborhood donut shop to pick up some treats for George.

packed car

We were on our way to the airport by 7:30AM and arrived at IAH at 8:30AM. We parked in the Sure Park area of the Terminal C garage and made our way to the Terminal to check our bags. The TSA PreCheck security lines were nonexistent and we sailed though. After bathroom breaks, we hit up Cibo to get some water and some last minute snacks.

g ready for flight

Then, we made our way to the gate.

c7 gate

We boarded on-time and had an on-time departure.  Amen!

g in seat

We were seated in the first class cabin and thoroughly enjoyed this part of our travel experience.

Shortly after take off, lunch service began. I had a salad and butternut squash ravioli.

my lunch

George had a burger, fries, and fruit. George loved his food, but mine was only so-so. They also served sorbet for dessert and George loved it.

We spent the next hour or so watching videos via the plane’s direct television system. Before I knew it, George was asleep.

g sleeps

Once he was out, I fell asleep too. Two hours later, both of us were up again. John watched movies while we slept. We spent the rest of the flight relaxing and watching videos.

Right before we landed, we were served snacks – either fruit and a hamburger or a salad with chicken. George had fruit and John and I went with the salads.

my snack

Our flight crew was friendly and went out of there way to accommodate George on our flight. And just like that…we were landing in Honolulu.

hi from sky

Once we landed, we rented a car and made the drive to the Royal Hawaiian.

royal

Once we arrived at the hotel, we had both great and less than ideal news – we were upgraded to a one bedroom suite, but it wouldn’t be ready for 30 minutes. But this wasn’t really an issue because we ended up walking down to the Mai Tai bar for drinks and a quick snack.

mai tai bar

drinks

Before we knew it, our room was ready and we were unpacking and getting organized. After some time relaxing, we changed and walked over to Il Lupino for dinner.

l lupino

Since we were exhausted, we made dinner a quick affair. I had the rigatoni and it was so good.

pasta

George had meatballs and mashed potatoes and John had squid ink pasta. Everyone was pleased with their meals.

singers

There was a small band playing in the nearby courtyard, so we picked up some shave ice and enjoyed it while listening to the music.

shave ice

Once we got back to the room we passed out for the evening.