Monday, July 22, 2013

Maui - Day 3

Maui Day 3 – January 11, 2012 (Ambers Tour Day/Beach Day)
Another beautiful day in paradise and an early wake up call from the birds. No real plans for today so we took our time leaving the house. Made coffee and breakfast at home and played with the adorable Emma for a while.
Amber suggested that she show us around South Maui and her favorite spots. So we let her be the tour guide for the day. It was a little cloudy when we started out for the day so our first stop was down to La Perouse Bay.  La Perouse Bay is located south of the town of Wailea at the end of Makena Alanui Road, just keep driving till you cannot drive any further and you will end up at the parking lot for La Perouse.

After taking in the beautiful lava formations we loaded up in the car and slowly worked our way back up to Kihei. We stopped at many beaches along the way and I wish I could remember all the names but it is amazing what you can find just by pulling over to the side of the road. We would not have found half of these beaches by ourselves. Here are some pictures showing the beautiful South Maui beaches.
Amber and Kevin
We then decided to hit a couple farmers markets in the area and got some great fruit and vegetables for the week. We also bought the sweetest basil and fresh tomatoes to make a caprese salad for dinner. We dropped off Amber and Emma at the house so the baby could nap. Kevin and I headed back down to the beach for a couple hours until Amber's husband got out of work.

After some beach time we decided to stop by the Shops at Wailea to check it out. What a cute shopping area. We stopped at Longhi's for happy hour and had our first Mai Tai's of the trip.

We headed back to Amber's to cook dinner and watch the sun set from their driveway.
Emma loves watching the sunset
Most amazing sunset
Steve, Amber, Myself and Kevin
After the beautiful sunset we headed back down to the house and cooked up some dinner along with our caprese salad made with all local Maui ingredients.
Another early night to bed to rest up for Day 4 in paradise.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Maui - Day 2

Day 2 – January 10, 2012 (Beach Day)
We had a great night sleep and woke up around 6AM to the sound of the birds and the fresh breeze through the windows; such a gentle way to wake up.  We could not wait to really see Maui in the daylight and start enjoying all that it has to offer. We decided to get up and explore their house and street a little in the daylight before they woke up with the baby.
View from their driveway

Another shot

Their house

Tram that you have to take down to the house

View directly from their deck

As we still had slight jet lag we decided to take it easy on our full first day. So we did a beach day; packed up a cooler, the baby supplies, towels and chairs and off we went to Keawakapu beach.

Beach Day

We enjoyed a full day at the beach and then headed back to shower up for dinner. Taco Tuesday was in order at Fred’s Mexican Café in Kihei.

Maui - Day 1

We are finally getting to our Maui posts! This was by far one of the best trips we have been on. Now it has been a year and a half since the trip so I will slowly be posting each day as I do not want to leave anything out. So it begins....

Maui Day 1– January 9, 2012 (Arrival Day)
Finally Maui! We have been talking about going for about 2 years to visit a good friend of mine who had moved there and recently had a beautiful daughter. Then American Airlines released too good of a flight deal to pass up. So with cheap airfare in hand it was off to Maui to 10 glorious days.
We flew out of New York City, as we do with most flights, because it is significantly cheaper than flying from Albany. I am lucky enough to have a great friend that lives in Queens that lets us crash at her place and also watches our car for us. So off to the airport we go, bright and early on January 9th.  Well not so bright out but around 5am the car arrived to bring us to LaGuardia, which was only about a 10 minute drive from her apartment. We had a 6:50am flight out of NY with no issues. I know many people complain about NYC airports but I have to say that we have flown out of LaGuardia many times with no issues. We checked our bags and bought some coffee and food from Dunkin Donuts and just started to relax before our flight. Tried to let the Aloha spirit enter us before we even arrived on Maui. We had no issues on our first leg and arrived at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on time.


We had about a two hour layover and decided what else to do when in Texas but get some BBQ for lunch. We shared a mixed plate which was definitely enough for the two of us.
BBQ Mixed Plate at Dallas Airport
We boarded our flight on time but were delayed off the runway. We ended up leaving DFW about 45 minutes late but we made that up in flight time. Our scheduled arrival time on Maui was 4:35 PM and we only arrived about 10 minutes late.
Haleakala from the plane on arrival
My friends were meeting us the airport and showed up right on time. We had to wait for our bags but we didn’t mind. As soon as you step off the plane the coastal Maui air waves over you and you immediately feel refreshed and relaxed.
We booked our rental car through Discount Hawaii Car Rental and they were great. We will always use them for our car rentals for all of the Hawaiian Islands. Even up to two days before the trip they were searching for the best rate for us. We rented a 2 door Jeep Wrangler from Alamo. No issues with the car rental and we loved having the Jeep.
Loved the Jeep
After getting our luggage and rental car we followed our friends to the town of Paia. Although it was dark and we were exhausted we could sense what a cute surfer town this was. They took us to Flatbread Pizza for dinner and it was excellent. We shared the Mopsy’s Kalua Pizza and the Pepperoni Pizza. The Mopsy’s was so good! Highly recommended and a great first impression of Maui. After dinner we drove to Kihei, stopped at Safeway to stock up on some food and beverages and then back to their house. Once we settled in and caught up with our friends we just crashed. It was a long travel day but I am thankful to my friends to getting us adjusted right away to Maui time.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hidden Pond - Kennebunkport, ME.

Instead of our usual Cape Cod vacation we decided to go to Maine and we are very glad we did.  We chose to stay at the Hidden Pond resort and below is our review.

Upon arrival you drive down a long winding driveway that sets the mood for the entire property.  Lovely trees and landscaping surround the whole property everywhere you turn.  The main lodge is the check in point.  Smiles are seen as soon as you walk in the main entrance.  To the left is a great sitting area with a large fireplace and comfortable couches and chairs.  Just off the main lodge are the family pool and a bar.  Because we arrived early (12:15 and check-in is 3pm) we grabbed a drink from the bar and took a walk around the property.  The weather gods were looking out for us this weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday called for 60% chance of rain each day.  It was a slight sprinkle but nothing that would make you want to seek shelter.  We sensed the sun coming out so we walked back to our car, grabbed our swimsuits, and changed at the main lodge. 

Entrance to Hidden Pond

Family Pool off the main lodge

Sand Bar Grille off of the maine lodge

With our suits on and drinks still in hand we made our way to the adults only pool.  The sun came out and we were able to lounge there for 3 hours before check-in.  I heard my phone ringing (front desk calling to let us know the room was ready) but we couldn’t drag ourselves out of the pool.  We finally did and got the check for our drinks.  As we hadn’t officially checked in yet we didn’t know our room # and we wanted to charge it to the room.  The waitress said she would find out our # and when she came back she let us know that the front desk was bringing us our keys to the pool.  That was a great first impression.

We check into our bungalow number 40 and wow, we were very impressed with the accommodations.  The screened in porch was great for our morning breakfast and for a nightly glass of wine and a game of scrabble.  As you walk through the porch you open up a sliding glass door to the main living area.  A floor to ceiling stone fireplace catches your eye right away and it is hard to look away from it.  A very comfortable couch faces it with a chair on each side of the fireplace.  Since we don’t have a fireplace at home the wife loves having them whenever we travel (yes, even in summer).  To the left of the sliding doors is your king sized bed.  After an exhausting day of doing nothing on the beach, the bed is the perfect end point to the night.  The first night we were exhausted and slept like babies.  I often wake up in the middle of the night and didn’t wake up once.  A solid 8hr sleep and I was ready to take on the next day.  The bathrooms are gorgeous and the outside shower is a great touch.  Showering in the mid-day sun after being at the beach or pool all day is very relaxing. 

Keychain to your cottage

Our favorite feature of the property are the “shuttles” that take you to the beach at their sister property called “The Tides” and the “supper shuttle” (a Mercedes Sprinter Van) that takes you into town from 5pm-10pm.  We used both services each day.  It’s great to go into town and be able to have some drinks and not have to worry about driving or trying to get a taxi (I’m not sure they even exist in Kennebunkport).  We must have hit the supper shuttle at the right time b/c both nights we were the only ones in it.  And special note, when Carl (the driver of the shuttle) says he will be at a spot at a certain time, he is at that spot EXACTLY at that time.  He runs the service flawlessly and is great to talk to during the drives. 

Another great feature of the property are the nightly bonfires at both the main lodge and outside the property of their restaurant / adult pool.  If you want s’mores you can only get them at the main lodge fire and we feel that is a must do. 

Now onto the restaurant on site, Earth.  This is a farm to table that was established by well-known Boston chef, Ken Oringer.  We were pretty impressed by the food here.  My wife started with the crab toast and I had the meatballs.  The crab was an official app and the meatballs are considered a starter snack.  Both were delicious.  For our entrée we both chose a half order of their homemade pasta.  She had the “Vermont Ricotta Nudi” while I chose the “Wood Fried Lamb Paperdelle”.  Very generous portion sizes so ordering a full is not necessary.  The pastas were both delicious.  I really have no idea how they made the nudi dish so thin and to hold as much ricotta as each piece did. 

If you have scrolled through this post just skimming here are a list of pros and cons we thought about the resort:

Pros – Gorgeous cottages and bungalows that are all very private.  The supper shuttle and the beach shuttle are great amenities.  Every one has a smile on their face and it seems they will do anything to help your stay be a memorable one.  The bonfires at night are gorgeous and the s’mores baskets are a great treat.  The lounge chairs at the pools are super comfortable making it easy to lounge there all day.  The freshly baked treats each morning with great coffee start your day off right. 

Cons – Slight nickel and diming.  The one-day we were there they offered a cooking class for kids to teach them how to make cookies and it was $25 per child.  We don’t have kids but I feel the room rates are enough to where they could offer this for no additional charge.  There is also a $25 charge for each person to do SUP (stand up paddle boarding).  Again, I feel this could be included in the price of the room. 

Overall we really loved the property and will definitely return next year.  Please see below for the rest of the pictures.

Approach to our cottage

Screened in porch

Facing the room from the bed

Looking back towards the bed


Outdoor shower

Breakfast is delivered every morning at 8am

On-site farm.