|View from our Ko Olina home|
We’d been among those whose mantra was, “Not us! We aren’t timeshare people!” We’d simply taken the sales pitch offer for a good deal on a few nights stay and to prove to ourselves that we’d never buy a place there. Famous last words.
It has become our ‘home resort’ – a place where we are guaranteed three weeks of Aloha Life each year.
And ‘home’ has taken on a new meaning since that initial timeshare purchase.
|Our Ko Olina home|
Doing it DifferentlyAs nice as that bit of familiar was, our goal this year was to do the island differently. We seldom venture into the big city of Honolulu; gateway to the iconic Diamond Head (which really is quite magical) and Waikiki (which really is over-run with tourists and we avoid it like the plague).
We were doing a treasure hunt of our own design – a search for the island’s Hidden Gems . . .those special lesser-known places and those often frequented by locals but overlooked by visitors such as ourselves.
|Our treasure hunt map|
Research began in December while we were still in Greece. I contacted friends who’ve lived on the island and asked for their recommendations. I began reading up on the places they suggested. Then, as we traveled about the island and met locals, I told them of my quest and they also had more suggestions of ‘not to miss’ places.
Since I know many of you didn’t see my article I decided that I’d share a few of our finds in today’s blog post.
I can tell you this was one of our best trips to Hawaii – made so by these special places. I know we plan to return to them in future visits..
I don’t have space to write about them all, but among those places we ‘discovered’ were a naval air museum, a centuries hold Hawaiian temple, an eatery and a rum factory.
The Naval Air Museum at Barber’s Point(91-1299A Midway Street, Bldg. 1792, Kalaeloa Airport, 808-682-3982, nambp.org).
|The Scout with Brad Hayes|
Signage is limited and they keep the security fences locked so you don’t just drop by the Museum at Kalealoa Airport, formerly the Naval Air Station, on Barbers Point, near Kapeolei on O’ahu’s west coast. You have to schedule your tour in advance.
We chose a weekday morning and ended up having a private tour led by Brad Sekigawa, historian and Brad Hayes, executive director.
It was an amazing, simply, amazing two hours.
|Brad Sekigawa, Museum historian|
In leiu of an entrance fee donations are: $15 for adults, $10 seniors/military, $8 under 18.. To avoid the intense mid-day sun on the tarmac, booking early morning or late afternoon tours are recommended.
Pu,u O Mahuka Heiau – Hawaiian Temple(Pu,u O Mahuka Heiau Road, off Pupukea Road [Highway 835], Pupukea, 808-587-0300, nps.gov)
|Views from the open air temple|
And on the day we visited, we had the island’s largest heiau, ancient Hawaiian temple, to ourselves.
The old temple, several centuries old as a matter of fact, is believed to have been dedicated as a luakini, or sacrificial temple, where ceremonies involving animal or human sacrifices were conducted.
|Offerings at the temple|
Manulele Distillers – the Rum makers(92-1770 Kunia Road, #227, Kunia, 808-649-0830, KoHanaRum.com)
|Manulele tasting room|
So tucked away amidst the sugar cane fields was this small distillery that we drove past it on our first try. Ready to give up, we backtracked our route and were certainly glad we’d persevered. This farm-to-bottle rum distillery is making a name for itself with its production of Ko Hana Hawaiian agricole rum; made from sugar cane, not molasses.
The distillery is surrounded by cane fields that are still hand-harvested. It is housed in what was once the Del Monte (cannery) company store. Several tours are offered daily; adults, 21 and older ($25 per person) and children ($15 for ages 6 – 20, under 6 free). At the tour’s end adults taste rum and youngsters are served gelato.
|Tiffany Tubon, assistant manager, explains the types of rum|
Kahumana Organic Farm, Café and Retreat Center(86-660 Lualualei Homestead Road, Waianae, 808-696-8844, kahumana.org)
|Kahumana Retreat Center|
|A late afternoon rain caused us to eat inside the covered patio|
‘Kahumana’ is interpreted as, “Guardian of the Life Forces”, derived from the Hawaiian words ‘kahu’ a spiritual leader, healer, or priest and ‘mana’ life force.
|Our meals were 'broke da mouth' good!|
Alcohol is not served but BYOB for adults is fine. Dining reservations recommended.
This one was a perfect dining spot for those staying out on the west coast. It would be a rather long drive for dinner from Honolulu but they do serve lunch as well.
|Kite surfer on the North Shore|
It is Holy Week, the week before Easter in Greece. Next week, I’ll tell you about how we celebrated it in this village. Until then, safe travels to you and yours ~
Linking this week with some or all these fine bloggers:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday –
Weekend Travel Inspiration
Best of Weekend
What wonderful discoveries! Hawaii is full of hidden delights. Thanks for sharing these. I'd most like to see the ancient temple site.ReplyDelete
Don't think you'd be disappointed Carole. It really is such a beautiful place and so totally ignored by most who just frolic on the beaches below it. Thanks for stopping by!Delete
How lovely to have the long time familiarity with a place and still find new and hidden gems beyond the usual tourist attractions. With as populous a place as Honolulu is, I'd think that the gift of enjoying Pu,u O Mahuka Heiau temple in solitude must have been one of the highlights of your explorations!ReplyDelete
The Hawaiian Temple was the highlight of our drive to the North Coast that is world-renowned for surfing. Solemn and view-ful!ReplyDelete
I love the hidden gems you discovered, especially the distillery. I would have enjoyed that..haha! My favorite memory of Hawaii is Kauai. Loved the relative quiet.ReplyDelete
Awesome that you can visit so often!! I have been to 49 states, but never Hawaii. Soon!! Especially after reading your article!!ReplyDelete
What a fabulous place this must be to visit...our daughter and family went 2 yrs ago and son and wife took the trip last fall...they all had such a great time and want to go back...ReplyDelete
You found some great places. I can see why this was one of your best trips to Hawaii.ReplyDelete