Traditionally, gifts of tin are given for the tenth anniversary; more recently, diamonds have become the gift of choice. Mr. Green Thumb and I decided to venture off the beaten path, and planned a trip to Maui to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary! In a brave moment, we decided to bring all four kiddos with us! (Not to mention that the grandparents joined us, and provided us with several date nights while we were there!) Our anniversary vacation became a celebration of the family we have become over the last ten years.
The warm salty air and cool breezes, as well as the soft sand and rolling waves, are much of the reason we ended up in the tropical paradise of Maui. But our vacation went beyond days playing on the beach and soaking up the sun’s rays. Great restaurants, local farms, and incredible landscapes were all a part of our adventure as well. Although we couldn’t see it all in the time we were there, we tried to fit in as much as we could. These are a sampling of the places we went and things we saw while we were there.
Upon arrival, we went to Costco (I know, anti-climactic!), and loaded up on the necessities that we would need over the next couple of weeks. Although we had planned to stop at Whole Foods as well, we ended up at Down to Earth Organic and Natural instead. They are similar to Whole Foods (but less expensive), with a lot of organic and local products and gluten-free options.
We drove to Up Country on our second afternoon there, and were stunned with incredible views of the ocean amidst rolling hills and lush vegetation. We visited Ocean Vodka, a vodka distillery using locally grown, certified organic sugar cane, much of which it grows on the family owned estate. It is also certified gluten-free! We also visited Surfing Goat Dairy, which produces some delicious goat cheeses, and goat cheese filled chocolates. And our kids had so much fun feeding the goats!
Mr. Green Thumb and I enjoyed a romantic date night at 5 Palms Restaurant. Although we didn’t have reservations, we were immediately seated at a beachfront table with beautiful views of Molokini Island. We watched Humpback whales and their calves breeching all along the horizon the entire evening. It was amazing! Our server was very friendly, and very accommodating to my gluten-free needs. In her words, she said that I should tell her what I was dying to eat and they would make it gluten-free. What a treat–picking anything off the menu! For dinner we both ordered fish dishes, and although the prices were higher than at other restaurants we had visited, the fish was all locally caught, so we felt it was worth the price. We were not disappointed. My dish was a baked Red Snapper, served over a potato and portebello mushroom hash, and topped with a Lomi Lomi tomato salad. The regular bernaise and uzu sauces were swapped out for a gluten-free burre blanc and parsley oil drizzle. Mr. Green Thumb had the fish special, which was Opah, or Moon fish. It was a very meaty, large flaked fillet, served with sautéed baby bok choy and purple potato gnocci. So yummy!
Ululani Hawaiian Shave Ice is the top rated shave ice on trip advisor, and with one taste, you will know why! Their shave ice is almost as creamy as gelato, with real fruit purees as well as the electric colored syrups, all of which are made on site with local cane syrup by the super-friendly staff that work there. We visited almost every day (we were on vacation!), and tried many different flavors. My favorite combination was coconut and passion fruit topped with toasted coconut flakes! The creaminess of the coconut balanced perfectly with the tangy-sweet passion fruit flavor!
Kamaole Beach was right across the street from our condo, and we couldn’t have found a more perfect beach for our family. Most days the waves were just big enough for our boys to ride their boogie boards up onto shore, and for our girls to splash in the surf and build sand castles with walls to buffer the waves. We checked out a few other beaches and drove past dozens more, but this beach ended up having the softest sand, fewest rocks (for critters to hide!), and was the cleanest one we went to. It was the beach we kept returning to time and time again.
Have you ever visited Maui? Do you have any favorite beaches, restaurants, or other adventures you would recommend? I am planning to share more about our adventures in Maui, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear your stories!