Sometime you have to get away from your desk and do some ‘market research’. I like to think that I did some good research as I just got back home this past Monday after a two week vacation to Hawaii. We’ve been to the “Gold Coast” area on the Big Island several times already, but this was one of the best yet, with my wife, our 2 year old daughter, my wife’s mother and my parents.
We stayed at a comfortable home just steps from a gorgeous beach (see the sunset photo that I took just steps from the house). We spent almost every morning at a beach, sometimes just walking out the door and sometimes driving a bit. I think the consensus was that the ‘best beach’ on this trip was Kua Bay, but we also visited Kauna’oa Beach (Mauna Kea) multiple times in addition to Hapuna Beach and of course Waialea Bay – where we were staying.
In between beaching it, we got out for some shopping and dining and that’s where I found myself doing my ‘research’. I must say, that I felt the most Aloha that I ever have on this trip, wherever we went, people were incredibly friendly, helpful and accommodating. However, it was a bit disconcerting to see the number of empty store fronts in the resort areas along with the decrease in inventory in many stores.
Here’s a quick list of my recommendation on where to go and what to do from this trip:
- Lodging – 2 Papayas – Mary, the owner/manager was great and the properties they represent are in my absolute favorite part of the Big Island.
- Dining – Blue Dragon Coastal Cuisine & Musiquariam – The interesting name says it all, but this is great ‘supper club without a roof’. Great local foods with local music…I knew we would be eating great when I saw a fellow carrying a huge, whole, fresh from the ocean across the street, fish into the kitchen.
- Music – John Keawe – He played the night we went to the Blue Dragon, and we were lucky enough to have his wife, Hope, perform her Hula with him. He’s a great Hawaiian slack-key guitar guru.
- Dining – Sushi Rock (Google maps link as I can’t see that they have a website) – Hidden way up on the Northern end of the Big Island in Hawi this little coffee house feeling sushi joint is awesome. With local ingredients (sense a theme here) and unique integration of those ingredients into their rolls, this place may not thrill traditional sushi aficionados, but it sure converted me, I’ll be back.
- Shopping – Hilo Farmers Market – Not what most people probably call the best shopping on the Big Island, but I certainly get a kick out of all the funky foods along with the spread of local artisans displaying their wares. Also, since we went on the day after we arrived, we had fantastic local produce for our whole vacation – yummm…
- Dining – Bamboo – Located just a block or two down the road from Sushi Rock, this restaurant seems a bit odd at first, but I found myself quickly sinking into the atmosphere of Hawaii-ana that it conveys so well and enjoying the evening (lunch here is great too). Fun gifts at the shop here too.
- Beaches – Kua Bay, Hapuna and Kauna’oa (Mauna Kea) Beaches – Each of these is wonderful in their own right, Kua Bay has perhaps the most gorgeous azure blue color to the water, while Hapuna and Kauna’oa are both fantastic in terms of being huge sandy stretches of beautiful beach with great spring swimming and snorkeling. Caveat – while I haven’t been to any of these beaches aside from May/June, I’ve been told that they can all be tricky at times, in terms of surf, particularly during the winter.
- Research – the Tripadvisor Hawaii Forum is a fine way to dial yourself in for a trip to the Big Island. Use the search function as a ton of topics are usually in discussion, but always feel free to post asking for recommendations. Be aware that while some of the local experts can seem a bit short at times, they are very helpful.
- Research – Twitter – Another great research resource, I got a number of timely recommendations from @nathankam.
Well, it’s back to “reality” tomorrow – first day back in the office after three weeks off – cheers!
Ok, I don’t get out to see many concerts anymore. Having 2 year old in the house definitely crips the style a bit in terms of nightlight. But, this past Saturday night, my wife and I left little K with a babysitter and headed down to Salt Lake City for a ‘date night’. This date was to go to a concert that we had bought tickets to, well actually my wife bought the tickets while I was out powder cat skiing, with the feeling that the show would sell out. And sell out it did, as The State Room has a limit of just 300 tickets per show, and Brandi Carlile is an artist that could fill venues much larger than that.
Neither of us had been to The State Room before and the venue quickly impressed us as extremely well run as well as a fantastic space for live music. However, that was nothing compared to the show that Brandi Carlile put on for the few hundred people that spent their Saturday evening enjoying her and her band.
If you haven’t hear of Brandi Carlile, please take a peak atthe clip below (from the show we were at) – I’d say that she’s a bit of Patsy Cline mixed up with a dash of Tori Amos, Elton John, some Indigo Girls and a touch of Johny Cash, take a gander and enjoy:
Thanks for the great night Ms Carlile, my wife and I are aleady looking forward to your next trip to the beehive state!
Since the tragic skiing accident that killed Natasha Richardson a month ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about helmet usage while skiing and riding and I’ve finally gotten around to posting after I saw this press release from Vail Resorts. VR have announced that effective next season, “…the Company will require all employees to wear helmets when skiing or riding on the job at each of its five mountain resorts…”. They also will require helmet use for children under 12 in any lesson and any rental package – wow!
I personally wear helmet whenever I ski (as do my wife and daughter), but I am still leery about mandating safety equipment use such as helmets. I didn’t wear a helmet on the slopes until perhaps five years ago and I do think that it’s a personal choice that each person needs to make on their own. As a side note, I’ve seen only a few of our pro-patrollers wearing helmets, even though they are the people that most frequently see the consequences of not wearing a helmet.
As VR is a company a not a governmental entity, I think that their choice to require employee helmet use is a very good stance from a safety standpoint and I do applaud it; however, in light of the fact that their resorts are located on federal land – any thoughts about how federal labor laws may apply in this decision?
Today was a busy day, we had a photo shoot at the resort that ran from 9 until 4, but most importantly I got to make some turns with my 25 month old daughter! I’ve been waiting all winter to ski with Little K, but we wanted to wait until she turned two before putting her on skis. We’ve had her around the back yard on her skis several times now, but finally had nice enough weather to take her to the resort today.
My wife called when she and Little K got to the mountain, and I zipped down to meet them and experience the first runs and lift ride. It’s almost an indescribably cool feeling to see your child smiling and enjoying their first time on a mountain, but it’s certainly a feeling that I’m looking forward to more in the years to come!
I’m hoping that we can get Little K skiing without using a harness and or edgie wedgie as I’ve heard that they can be a bit of a crutch for kids once they get used to them. Any personal opinions on these tools, positive or negative are apprecited!
It was a busy Saturday at the office this past weekend, actually I wasn’t really in the office, but I was busy helping out with the Visa Freestyle International World Cup freestyle competition the Eagle Superpipe. It was a skier event with both ladies and men and it went great (even with having to be at work by 7:00am), the crowds were awesome and best of all, I got to watch a good chunk of the competition. This was great because typically, when we have a big event, it seems like I spend most of my time running around. Although, I did have to sneak away from the men’s final early in order to shoot over to our accounting office and pick up the prize checks. Which is not as simple as it sounds because, with an international competition, there are all sorts of different withholding requirements. And once I got the checks we needed to make sure that we got a filled out W-9 form for each and every check – definitely an interesting process! In any case the winners were all very gracious and we got filled out W-9s from everyone.
Then, to end the weekend, I got to spend all day Sunday with my daughter and watch an entertaining Super Bowl – the only thing that would have made it better would have been winning one of my office pools!
Photo credit: me!
We spent yesterday evening at a wonderful dinner party at the home of Tina and Nathan Rundel who served up an absolutely scrumptious and probably five hour long dinner. I can’t do it justice any other way than through some photos:
Click the photo to see a full slideshow.
I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve 2008, and here’s looking to a fantastic 2009. I’m resolving to spend more time with Little K, exercise more and help out more around the house.
What are your resolutions for 2009?
Raising a little one in this day and age of ever-evolving technology presents some really cool opportunities. Kaitlynn, our nearly 21 month old daughter, can already use a variety of remote controls and when she looks at my laptop she cries out, “Gamma” or “Pappa” because she knows that we video chat with my parents and my wife’s mother on a regular basis via Ichat and Skype. This is the topic of an interesting article that I just read in the NY Times today:
The Web cam adventures of the nursery school set and their grandparents offer a glimpse at what can be gained — and what may be lost — by almost-being there…
With families getting more and more spread out across the country, the ability for children to connect with their relatives via the internet is amazing. Particularly during the holiday season, it is such a blessing for Kaitlynn to see her Grandmas and Grandpa, and to say ‘Hi!’ There is something so much better about being able to see each other in real time as opposed to simply having a conversation over the phone. I love that our daughter is building a stronger relationship with her grandparents and that they are also getting the chance to see and interact with her much more often than they can in person.
So, during this Holiday time, I’d like to give my thanks to those great innovators that have helped put forth the technological advancements that have made video chatting a reality and I’m looking forward to see what they come up with in the years to come, “Thanks!”
Photo credit: Hoffman Family MacBook Pro