Entries in ‘Hawaii’ Journal

Review: Wavecrest Resort, Molokai, Hawaii

Friday October 31, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

If you are planning a visit to Molokai, Hawaii, there are plenty of things to see and do on the island, but not so many hotel choices. There is the Hotel Molokai and several condominium rental options.
 

"Wavecrest Resort"

Beach views at Wavecrest Resort. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 


 

I stayed two nights at the Wavecrest Resort by way of Molokai Vacation Properties. You’ll need to check the website for each individual rental, as condominiums range from clean and basic to recently remodeled. My one bedroom, #107, located in the “C” building did not offer air conditioning, but the full-size refrigerator kept my bottled water and healthy snacks cold during my stay. As an added bonus, there was a washer and dryer inside the condo, as well as beach towels to use at the beach and swimming pool on site.
 

"Wavecrest Resort", Molokai, Hawaii

Kitchen, living room combination. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
"Wavecrest" condominium

One bedroom condominium. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
"Wavecrest Resort" condominium

Wavecrest Building C. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

As I typically stay in luxury hotels, I forgot to pack shampoo and conditioner on this trip – a gentle reminder that condominium stays are different than hotel stays offering those types of amenities. Fortunately, Molokai has several grocery stores on island with plenty of shampoo, fresh fruit and coffees grown on island – try the Muleskinner dark roast, locally grown and produced on Molokai.
 
My condominium required a three night minimum stay and rented for $105 per night. Check the website for current rates.
 

Insider Tip
If you are a light sleeper, bring ear plugs. I slept with the windows open in my bedroom and awoke to the sound of crowing roosters at 3:30 in the morning both nights of my stay. Good thing you are beautiful Molokai, as I do like a good nights sleep. For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and Molokai on Twitter @seeMolokai.
 

If You Go:
Wavecrest Resort
Molokai, Hawaii
 

Condominium review, video and photos courtesy of Lodging Editor Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Molokai Visitors Bureau while researching an article for another publication.

Molokai, Hawaii: Things to Do

Friday October 24, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

Are you visiting Molokai, Hawaii for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do on the Friendly Isle.
 

"Halawa Valley", "Molokai", Hawaii

Halawa Valley, Molokai, Hawaii. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
When I have a visitor from out of town, the most authentic Molokai experiences I suggest are the mule ride to Kalaupapa National Historical Park – a former prison where leprosy patients, also known as Hansen’s Disease, were banished and a visit to Halawa Valley. You must have a tour guide to access Halawa Valley as this is private property.
 

"Papohaku Beach", Molokai, Hawaii

Papohaku Beach. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
If this is a romantic trip, I recommend Lookout Point or Papohaku beach for kissing with a view.
 


 

Good Eats on Molokai
 

If you are looking for typical island cuisine Molokai Drive Inn or Kaulapuu Cookhouse offer plate lunch type specials.
 

The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Coffees of Hawaii – try the Muleskinner dark roast, 100% from Molokai. Stop by Kumu Farms for certified organic papayas and the best apple bananas on island. They also have beautiful flowers and are only five minutes from the airport.
 

pink torch ginger blossom "Kumu Farms", "Molokai" Hawaii

Pink Torch ginger blossom from Kumu Farms. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Looking for cheap food on the island, try Molokai Burger. Be warned, there’s no late night dining on island unless you go on a late night “bread run” to Kanemitsu’s Bakery – a must do!
 

Looking for fine dining on Molokai? You’ll need to head over to Lanai.
 

"Kanemitsu's Bakery", Molokai, Hawaii

Kanemitsu’s Bakery. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Things to do in Molokai
 
Seeing more locals than tourists on island? Molokai is known for having the most native Hawaiians and offers the slow pace of old Hawaii.
 

When you come to Molokai, get your picture taken at Lookout Point.
 

"Gregory Kawaimaka Solatorio" poi, Molokai, Hawaii

Gregory Kawaimaka Solatorio makes poi. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Once on island, outdoor lovers will want to hike Halawa Valley. This is also the place to learn about authentic island culture and how to make poi from the taro plant.
 

Looking for a little exercise? Kayak or SUP (stand up paddle) along the largest fringing reef in the United States. I recommend Molokai Outdoors Activities, as they keep groups small and personal.
 

If you are a museum lover, stop by the Sugar Museum.
 

Looking for exciting night life, take the ferry to Maui. There is live music every Friday at Hotel Molokai  4-6 pm – it’s the elder’s jam (na kapuna). Older residents come poolside and play ukulele and sing/dance. It’s not a nightclub offering loud rock music – it’s more like a family reunion without a cover charge. Paddler’s Inn has live music often. There are many talented local musicians on island.
 

The Molokai Dispatch is the local newspaper and will keep you posted on what’s happening on island.
 

kayak, Molokai, Hawaii

Kayak along the largest fringing reef in the United States. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

In May, Ka Hula Piko celebrates the birthplace of Hula.

In July check out the Molokai2Oahu Paddleboard Race.

The Pailolo Challenge, Maui to Molokai –an outrigger canoe race – takes place in September.

Na Wahine O Ke Kai (women’s 41 mile outrigger canoe paddling competition departs Molokai and ends on Oahu – usually in September and Molokai Hoe the men’s outrigger canoe paddling competition usually happens in October.
 

For the horse lovers, the Molokai Stampede takes place at Kapualei Ranch in November.
 

Insider Tip:

After hiking Halawa Valley, have breakfast or lunch on the way down at Mana’e Goods and Grindz.

What are your favorite things to do on Molokai? For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and Destination Molokai on Twitter @seeMolokai.
 

Photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Molokai Visitors Bureau.

Oahu, Hawaii Like a Local

Wednesday May 28, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience the Hawaiian Islands, like myself, you will certainly feel like you are in no way, shape or form in the United States.

Upon landing in Honolulu, Hawaii, my entire family and I were graced with fresh leis that smelled just as good as the sweet Hawaiian island air.

Our family does not lean toward the all-expenses included resort kind of vacation. We prefer renting a house or villa where we can essentially “move-in” for a few weeks and experience Oahu, Hawaii like a local.

 

"Lanakai Beach"

Oahu like a local at Lanakai Beach in Hawaii


 
Hawaii’s Lanakai Beach
 
We rented a home that was about a half hour away from downtown Honolulu. Our home was just a short walk away from a secluded bay on Lanakai beach. Because the beach was mostly used by the Oahu locals, there were plenty of friendly dogs and islanders that seemed to “catch up” on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

Having a family full of older adults, college students and even an energy-filled two-year old there were plenty of requests for different activities. One place we could all attend was the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Oahu.
 
Polynesian Cultural Center
 
Hearing “cultural center” led me to believe that we were going to walk through a museum filled with artifacts and ancient stories, I wasn’t sure how my little nephew would feel about this. I was completely wrong. The Polynesian Cultural Center was like the Hawaiian version of Disneyland, without all of the mascots running around. Our family opted to experience the Cultural Center like a VIP; our package included daily admission, personal private guided tour, prime rib buffet, HA: Breath of Life Show (front row seats), private backstage tour and Kukui Nut Lei greeting upon arrival.

"Polynesian Cultural Center"

Hawaii’s Polynesian Cultural Center

We were taken on a trip into each of the Polynesian Islands (Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Marquesas). Every island we visited, we learned about the ancient culture and customs accompanied by traditional song and dance. At the end of the day we attended a traditional luau and were privy to front row seats at a Hawaiian cultural show, complete with grass skirts and fire breathers.
 
 
Hawaiian Cuisine

"Honolulu Burger Company"

Honolulu Burger Company

Most of the time spent on the beautiful island of Oahu was hanging out with family and indulging in the classic Hawaiian cuisine. Make sure to check out the hidden treasure of a restaurant, Honolulu Burger. Tucked away in downtown Honolulu, the grass-fed burger joint is a local secret. With burgers such as the Kona Burger, which is rubbed with a coffee spices atop a bed of sautéed onions, beets and chipotle sauce, this place is culinary lovers dream. If the burgers weren’t so filling it’s worth ordering more than one of these unique creations. Besides the local Hawaiian grills and fresh Farmers’ Markets, the fruit on Oahu is something you do not want to miss. We cut up a fresh pineapple almost every day and it was gone by the end of the day. To embrace this cultural fruit, we even visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation, specifically for the Pineapple Whippie Ice Cream.

The Dole Plantation is located on the North end of the Island, where all the real surfers hang out. We ventured up to Kee Beach, secretly called “Turtle Beach” because of the sea turtles that tend to swim right up onto shore in front of you. You might even catch them laying their eggs. But what the North Shore is known for is the 20-80ft waves that happen almost every day. We caught a few surfers toward the end of the day that told us the Nalus (Hawaiian for waves), were supposed to be the best at the end of the week.
 

Whale watching

Whale watching in Oahu

Whale Watching in Oahu

We ended our trip in a possible cliché way by Whale Watching off the West Coast of Oahu. The winds on shore were about 15mph, so out at sea they kicked up to 30mph. This gave us an incredibly bumpy boat ride that felt more like an amusement park ride than a smooth catamaran boat. But the trip was well worth it when we finally saw a female Orca Whale with her calf only a few hundred feet from our boat.

Ocean Joy Cruises was an excellent company that took us safely out in the middle of the ocean. The staff was incredibly accommodating, and cute I might add. Lunch was provided along with some margaritas. While anchored for lunch we also had the opportunity to snorkel atop a large coastal reef. Let’s just say, I have never seen a tropical fish that looked as big as if he could swallow me in one bite.

The small town of Lanakai was a calm and unique part of Hawaii but Honolulu was incredibly busy and even the drive to the north shore was breathtaking.  Filled with local residents and young surfers, the island of Oahu is like taking a break from the hectic world and indulging into the sweet ways of island life.
 
Insider Tip: No matter where you are headed on the island of Oahu and no matter what the forecast says, make sure to always pack a rain jacket. Many of the storm clouds get stuck just above the mountains, which is the pass between Honolulu and the rest of the island.

This is a guest post by Natalie Crandall