Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Molokai-Day 2

So, I told you about Day 1 of our visit to Molokai about 10 days ago. It was only a three-day trip (Fri-Sun), but at this rate, you all get a month's worth of Molokai!

Just a reminder that Amber (@tiabla)worked to set up a promotional weekend retreat at Aqua's Hotel Molokai, so our stay there as well as our dinner Friday night at the Hula Shores restaurant was free. Woohoo!

Saturday morning we decided to grab some breakfast at Hula Shores before exploring the island. I ordered the three-egg omelette, but with two eggs, and my husband ordered the short stack of pancakes. While we waited for our food, we enjoyed the peaceful ocean-front setting, with a great view of Lanai. Again, I didn't get any good pictures of the food, but there was lots of it, enough that Amber didn't need to order anything when she came down and joined us later. We had enough left over that she had a whole meal of her own! Luckily, @Melissa808 was more on top of things, and she got some good foodie pics for her blog, Urban Mix Plate. Please visit her post, Unplugging on Molokai (Part 2) to get an idea of what we were dealing with. This is no place for amateurs!

After all that food, it was time to visit the Farmer's Market! Where we could go look at more food! So, seven of us piled into a van and drove into Kaunakakai, which is the place to be on Saturday mornings. You can buy fresh produce and see wonderful arts and crafts from local vendors. Again, I failed to get any good pictures-morning's not my best time, OK?-but, again, Melissa came through! Without any coordination on our parts, she managed to get all the pictures I would have taken, so I'm going to send you back over to her blog, this time for Part 3 of her Unplugging on Molokai series. I particularly liked the painted gourds and coconuts-they're very whimsical. I grabbed a business card from the lady running the stand with the intention of putting in a link to her web site but somebody threw it away. I won't name names, but I think it was my husband. I did, however, manage to get a picture of what might be the cutest dog in the world. (Here I will dazzle you with cuteness and hope that you will forget about my lack of journalistic skills).

You can see how I might have been distracted, no? Now, I can't guarantee that you would see this same dog if you went to the Farmer's Market, but it might be worth a trip just to check. And now you forgive me for not having pictures of eggs, right?

After the Farmer's Market, we returned to the hotel so that people could drop off their loot and to reassemble for the afternoon's activities. Some people decided to lounge in the bar for the afternoon, others decided that a hammock was the perfect location for a nap. We (me, my husband, and Amber) decided it was time to drive around and check out the island. We jumped on the road and headed east, for a beautiful drive toward Halawa Valley. The road from Kaunakakai to Halawa Valley is 28 miles, the last seven of which are narrow, one-lane and winding. (Coincidentally, Hawaii's longest continual coral reef, just off the south shore of Molokai, is also 28 miles and accompanies you for most of the drive, even though you can't really tell from the car.) Since there aren't too many places where you can really stop and take pictures-narrow one-lane road and all-I was just snapping pictures through the open top of our Jeep. So, this picture is a little blurry, but it gives you an idea of where we were in relation to the ocean-not a lot of room for error here.

There are a couple of places that you can stop on the way to Halawa Valley. Puu O Hoku Ranch has a little store where you can grab a snack or some locally-crafted items. The thing that most intrigued me was the Pepsi Natural-I had no idea such a product existed, so, of course, I had to try it. It was good, but it reminded me more of a root beer than a Pepsi.

After our stop at Puu O Hoku Ranch, we continued on to the Halawa Lookout, a place where you can pull over and get some pictures. See the waterfall waaay at the back of the valley?

Now that we could finally see our destination, we were even more happy about our decision to take this drive. After the obligatory tourist stop to "Oooooh," and "Ahhhhh," and take pictures, we continued on down to the beach area.

From there you can hike around the valley, up to the waterfalls, but it is recommended that you coordinate with a guide as much of the land is privately owned. I've seen and heard a couple different pieces of advice regarding guides, so it would probably be best to check with the locals once you arrive on island. If you are staying at Hotel Molokai, you should be able to arrange a tour through them, and I would expect to pay up about $75/person.

We didn't hike around the valley, as we had plans for the evening and didn't want to be out too long, but we did ford the stream to walk along the beach for a little while, enjoying the beautiful setting and trying to keep our pants dry.

You might think I'm holding a fish in my mouth. I'm not. It's a Peppermint Patty, but it's not even my Peppermint Patty. My husband foisted it on me half-way across the stream, and it was already open, so I couldn't just put it in my pocket and it was too hard to hold it in my hand without getting chocolate everywhere and keep my pants out of the water. Sheesh.

After a beautiful day out in nature, it was time to return to civilization and check out the Saturday night jazz at Coffees of Hawaii, but first we had to make an airport run to drop someone off and stop to take some sunset pictures.

Just as Hula Shores at the Hotel Molokai is the place to be on Friday nights, Coffees of Hawaii is the place to be on Saturday nights between 6:00 and 8:00. Everyone gathers here to listen to some great music and visit with friends. There is a limited menu available and, of course, coffee, but you can BYOB. We listened to Molokai Jazz, perused the Coffees of Hawaii gift shop and enjoyed some red wine. The music was great, the female vocalist has a wonderful velvety voice and seemed to know almost everyone in the audience, and we walked away with a whole lot of coffee. Everybody out there knows about Kona coffee, but we've been fans of Molokai coffee for a few years now, so we were stoked to visit the mother ship of one of our favorite products. Bonus! Coffees of Hawaii is a member of 1% For the Planet, a group of businesses that have pledged to donate part of their proceeds to environmental causes.

While the menu at Coffees of Hawaii looked good, we were holding out for pizza at the Zagat-rated Molokai Pizza Café. While we were waiting for our flight to Molokai, we met a woman who lives part-time on Oahu and part-time on Molokai, and she works at Molokai Pizza Café and invited us to stop by during our visit. So, we did. Although the restaurant looked like it was in near-closing cleaning mode, we were greeted like family with big hugs and enthusiasm by our airport buddy, B. We ordered a pepperoni pizza and a BBQ chicken pizza, both of which were really good. The crust was light and crispy, and the BBQ sauce had an odd sweet flavor which might not be for everyone, but I liked it. We told B we were planning on a big hike the next day, and she said they could wrap up some sandwiches for us. So we ordered some sandwiches, which were huge! Also, they wrapped all of our pickles separately, which we very much appreciated when we opened up our non-soggy sandwiches the next day.

After an early breakfast, Farmer's Market, driving along the coast, hanging out on the beach, an airport run, jazz and wine and a pizza dinner, you'd think our day would be done. Wrong! We still had the Saturday-night bread run. The what? The late-night bread run for fresh bread from Kanemitsu's Bakery. You saw pictures of their day-time operation at Melissa's blog. This is the other place to be on Saturday nights. We had heard from several locals about the drug-deal-like quality of walking down a dark alley in the middle of the night, knocking on a door, and waiting for someone to appear to take your order, but until you actually go, you're a little skeptical. And then you drive into the middle of Kaunakakai, where all the shop owners have long since closed up for the night, and you start walking. And you think, Seriously?

Yeah, seriously.

Now, we had just gorged ourselves on pizza, and we weren't particularly hungry, and we were really doing this more for the experience than anything else (except Amber, who was trying to avoid being beat up at work on Monday for returning from Molokai without any Kanemitsu bread!), but when we got back in the van and decided that we should at least taste this stuff...you know how sometimes something is so good that all you can do is laugh with joy? Yeah, that's where we were. It's worth staying up until 10:00 for the bread run.

After that, it was finally time to return to our room at Hotel Molokai to rest up for our big hike the next day. We were afraid that we were going to have a repeat of the bar noise from the night before, but everything seemed to die down pretty quickly, and we were left with a quiet, relaxing night's sleep.


Mike said...

Love the wrinkled dog! The valley area looked really nice. Probably a lot of fun to hike around there. Sounds like a place I could handle unplugging in. Not sure I could do it anywhere else. :)

Wendy said...

what an adorable puppy!!

Sounds like such a fantastic trip, and pretty packed fun too. I can totally see how LOST would be filmed in Hawaii. I don't know what island, but...

Heather J. said...

I think I'd take a trip for the bread alone!

Dreamybee said...

Mike-Molokai is definitely a good place to unplug-depending on where you are out there, you simply have no choice!

Wendy-You should have seen the dog when it was lying down and all the wrinkles got smooshed up even more! I tried to get a picture, but I didn't act fast enough. LOST is mostly filmed on Oahu, in fact we stumbled onto one of their sets by accident the other day. I mean, we were there on purpose, we just didn't realize that there was going to be a set and a crew there. No star sightings though-they were just packing up for the day.

Heather-I think it would be worth it!