Wake Up and Smell the Kona

Kona Coffee HistoryWhen you think of Hawai’i, what do you think of? Surfing? Pineapples? Coconuts? Luaus and leis? Us, too. Except, having recently visited O’ahu, we’d add just one more thing to our list: coffee. Specifically, Kona coffee.

Described as a “deliciously rich, medium-bodied and slightly acidic coffee with a heady aroma and complex, winey, spicy taste”, it turns out that Kona coffee is extremely popular among coffee aficionados worldwide and is considered one of the most valued and premium coffees in the world.

With a history that is just as rich and plentiful as its taste, it’s not difficult to understand why. Read more

A Glimpse Into The 50th State In The Nation

Kalakaua Avenue Waikiki Beach HawaiiWe’re featuring “All Things Hawaiian”! Also check out our post on what “The Aloha Spirit” really means, a reflection on our travels in O’ahu, why Kona coffee is the most valued coffee in the world, what makes the Plumeria flower so special, a glimpse into Mark Twain’s “Letters From Hawaii” and the history behind legendary Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

Our travels in Hawai’i brought us to…

  • the popular destination of Waikiki Beach (picture 1 below)
  • the volcanic crater of Diamond Head (2)
  • the historic landmark of Pearl Harbor (3)
  • the Polynesian Cultural Center (4); and
  • the beautiful waters of Kaaawa (5)

We witnessed at least 20 Japanese weddings, experienced an Easter church service with beautiful Hawaiian music (6), dined at the two oldest hotels in Waikiki (the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider) (7), ate Malasadas (Portugese doughnuts) at Hawai’i’s original malasada bakery (8), sailed on a catamaran with Captain Riki and his son Kapono (which means “the righteous way”) (9) and saw some of the funniest, yet deeply powerful t-shirt sayings throughout our stay (10). Read more

Exploring, Dreaming & Discovering in O’ahu, Hawai’i

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” –Miriam Beard

It’s an age-old adage: traveling broadens our perspective, transforming our sense of self in relation to the world at large, challenging us to see with new eyes and deepening our sense of gratitude and appreciation as we gain insight into the culture, customs and traditions of an unfamiliar place.

I was recently reminded of this after a visit to O’ahu, Hawai’i where I was bewildered each time I remembered that I wasn’t in a foreign land, but was, instead, still in the United States – albeit in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, nearly 2,500 miles away from the mainland.

Surrounded by a kaleidoscope of blue and turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, volcanic craters, green mountainous terrain and tourists from all over the world, it was hard to grasp that Hawai’i isn’t a nation of its own. Indeed, never before have I visited another U.S. state feeling utterly transported into a different “realm”, as if I was a foreigner navigating an unknown territory. Read more

Living & Breathing “The Aloha Spirit”

The Aloha Spirit“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” –Rita Mae Brown

Never before have I given so much thought and consideration to the symbolic nature of language as I did during a weeklong stay in O’ahu, one of the four main islands of a state that became the 50th in the nation in 1959.

Having faced various, and at times comical, communication barriers during travels in foreign countries, it seems rather odd thatHawai’i – an English speaking state – would end up having such a powerful impact. But, as was quickly made evident by the hospitality and generosity of a very friendly people, the Hawaiian language is more than just a fun sounding addition for vacationers in a paradisiacal setting: it’s a true representation of the spirit, philosophy and culture of the Hawaiian people. Read more