Thursday, April 26, 2012

Porcupines Take on Hawaii- Exploring the Island

On most vacations I like to plant myself on a beach chair and read a book or two after coating myself in nine layers of sun block. Mr. P. on the other hand gets pretty antsy. He can't sit long without anything to do, so for our honeymoon we agreed to do a little exploring along with the relaxation. We really only had one full day sitting at the beach. The rest of our time there, we would spend ½ of the day lounging and the other half exploring.

The two things we wanted to do the most in Hawaii were zipping and touring the National Volcano Park. For our zip line adventure we chose Kohala Zipline. They took a group of about 10 of us over to the course, and after a brief explanation on how to zip (contrary to what I thought, you don’t just latch on and jump off a platform), we were zipping down about 8 to 10 lines.

 Yes, this was as scary as it looks, but we were latched on


Beautiful views from the zip platforms

It was pretty awesome to be literally up in the trees. I’ve only zipped one other time at a camp in some forest somewhere in upstate New York. It was definitely much mellower there. I never realized just how long zip lines can be.

This zip was something like a quarter of a mile long!
Sick gloves...

In the middle of the week we spent an entire day on the Hilo side of the island touring the National Volcano Park. Mr. P booked the “twilight tour” with Hawaii Forest and Trails. Our tour guide picked us up in a van at our hotel, and took our group on the 2 ½ hour drive to the park. The tour was great for us since the alternative would have been us blindly walking around the park in confusion.

“Oh, a tree?” “What’s that smoke?” "Rocks... hmm, yes, rocks." 

Our guide told us stories about the volcano’s past eruptions, pointed out interesting plants and animals, and got us up close to creepy spots that we wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

 The most of the eruption right now. It might not be lava, but it was pretty crazy in person!

 A lava tunnel

 I thought this plant was so neat- it looked like metal up close

I don't think I've ever seen a rainbow so close

 Our tour guide was kind of a nut...

 Our dinner set-up

At night the smoke became "the glow"

We had a great time, but after a long day of traveling and hiking we were more than ready to veg out for the rest of our trip.

Are you looking forward to resting on your honeymoon or exploring?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Porcupines Take on Hawaii - The Eats

I could sit here and write a play-by-play of our days in Hawaii, but that would be boring and go on for something like 102 postings. So I thought I would break down our honeymoon recaps into the three most important parts of any vacation: food, fun, and relaxation.

I’m going to start with the best part of any vacation – in my eyes at least- the FOOD. I love to eat everything in sight on vacation and partake in absolutely no exercise (besides for the occasional doggy paddle in the pool). Mr. P and I love to try new food and go to restaurants, so we did a lot of eating. I tried to touch on the highlights of what and where we ate in Kona.

I could go on about everything we ate in Hawaii. They have great food! Everything tastes so much fresher there. And many restaurants aim to use ingredients produced on the Island. The only thing that surprised me was how much salt they use. Apparently, traditional Hawaiian cuisine is a lot saltier than it is on the mainland.

 Yummy, but salty! (Seriously, our fingers were so bloated that we
 could barely put on our wedding bands!) P.S. I miss that green drink.

At our hotel we had a breakfast buffet included every morning. We attempted to fill up on breakfast and try for cheaper, smaller lunches (this didn’t always pan out because there is something in the Hawaiian air that makes you want to eat gobs of pulled pork).

Mr. P enjoying his daily omelet from the omelet station

Kona Coffee is amazing

Fresh fruits daily at the buffet

Our favorite spot- we even went back a second time in our short week-long stay – was the Kona Pub & Brewery. If you are staying on the Big Island, you MUST check it out. First off, their beers are delicious. I liked almost every single one I tried (and they are available almost everywhere on the Islands). And, the food is really good. They make all types of fun pizzas (New Yorker approved) and really delicious sandwiches. We unfortunately missed the brewery tour both times though. So, get there early to sign up, and let me know what we missed.

Mr. P was really excited about his discovery (he gets full credit for finding the spot)

 Beer sampler

 Cajun Shrimp Pizza

We look extremely excited to be back the second time

My  favorite “fancy” night of the trip was at the Canoe House- the restaurant on our hotel’s property. The food was really good. I had the lamb chops, which were really yummy, and Mr. P had tuna. They even had their wine list on an iPad app so that you could read all about the different wines, how they taste, where they’re from, and what they pair best with. This was perfect for us since we are wine idiots no matter how many classes we take.

Searching for wines on the Ipad


Congratulations times two!

Our fanciest night was at Puhu i'a at the Four Seasons hotel. The place was beautifully set-up. The view of the ocean while you ate and the presentation of the food were awesome.

Mr. P loved the wild boar sweet bun appetizer

Sort of impossible to get a shot of the ocean all around us

And, of course, nothing beats a lazy evening watching the sunset from our balcony with room service. The Mauna Lani staff is amazing, and they pull out all the stops for “in-room dining.” Definitely different than the typical room service food you find.

 Asian grilled chicken salad for me and seared tuna for Mr. P

My lack of photography skills failed to take a really good sunset shot

Most importantly, do not forget to pick up a bag of chocolate covered macadamia nuts before you leave (or 10, like we did). Hershey Kisses with macadamia nuts was the souvenir of choice for friends and family back home. I’m sure there are places to find it SOMEWHERE, but they claim it can only be found on the Islands (and truthfully after an Amazon and Google search I really couldn’t find a bag for a reasonable price so I am hoarding the remainder).

Are you looking forward to the food stops on your honeymoon?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Porcupines Take on Hawaii- The Arrival

I'm just waiting patiently for our CD of images to start on our recaps. Before I jump in on those, I thought it would be fun to start off with our amazing honeymoon in Hawaii.

As soon as we started talking honeymoon, the first place that came to my mind was Hawaii. Being from New York, it’s not exactly the quickest place to get to. Like most New Yorkers our vacation spots tend to be on the Atlantic side of the ocean, and lean more towards a 4-hour flight (Mexico, Bahamas, Florida, etc.) as opposed to the 12ish hours it takes to get over to Hawaii. What better reason to sit on a plane(s) for 12 hours and go across the country than your honeymoon though- right? 

Surprisingly, the longest flight of my life was not the worst. I’m not a good flyer. I generally hate flying and mentally wish my family and friends a final goodbye when I get on a plane. Every sound the plane makes gives me flashbacks to the cast of Lost being sucked out of their plane and plopped onto “the Island.” But, I digress. Thanks to my father-in-law and his frequent flier miles, we got to fly first class! I wish we could always fly first class. It was A-MAZ-ING. And, being given free meals, fluffy blankets, and snacks makes you forget you are up-teen-thousand miles in the air flying over America. What up creepy desert?

What in the freak is going on down there in the desert?

Yes, more mai tais!

We picked the Big Island after much deliberation when we first started planning, and flew into Kona International Airport after a short layover in LA (seriously- where were all the celebrities sitting in first class? I NEVER see anyone!) We were completely MIND BOGGLED when we landed. The airport is completely open and looks more like a zoo or theme park than anything else. 

We rented a Jeep, which I must recommend, because driving around Hawaii with the Jeep’s top down is a once in a lifetime experience. As we drove the 20 minutes to our hotel, we were amazed to see how sparse the land looked. It resembled Mars as we drove along the highway to our hotel.

We stayed at the really beautiful Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. After checking in and trying to somehow organize our stuff, we didn't have much time for more than a light dinner before I crashed from the jet-lag. Mrs. Porcupine + a 6 hour time difference + 12/13 hours of travel = I DO NOT WANT TO BE AWAKE. I felt like high hell and didn't have much energy to look around. Luckily, our flight started at 9 AM and by the time we were done with dinner it was 9 PM Hawaii time (an early bedtime there, but a very late bedtime in NYC.) I slept off all the jet-lag for what was going to be a very jam packed honeymoon.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Porcupines Pick Their Person

Our wedding weekend came and went and it was perfectly US.

I was always highly cynical of people who said, “Don’t worry; NOTHING can ruin your day.” But, I can definitely attest to the fact that the sentence is incredibly true. I’ll be straight-up and say nothing was *perfect*. It’s fitting though. I have never believed in perfection. Perfection is boring, and the random things that happen to us are always hilarious stories later on.

The whole weekend was full of the weird snafus that happen in my daily life and, frankly, I didn’t really care. From the monster cystic zit under my nose, to the antibiotic I took that gave me a horrible stomach ailment starting at 5 AM the day of the wedding, to messing up a move in our first dance number (oh, yes, we did a dance number-more to come), and our chalkboard cake flavors getting lost in the mix... it was still an absolute fantastic weekend.

It never rained. Everyone raved about our ceremony. People kept telling us how much they loved our venue and details. My dress zipped up perfectly. We laughed all weekend long. We danced all night and even DJed for a bit. We ate leftover hors’ devours and challah bread post-wedding in the hotel lobby. And, most importantly of all, my best friend for the past 5 years became my husband.

I will tell you this as I stand on “the other side.” Things will go wrong. People may not show. People may disappoint you. You might break out. You will forget a picture or two you meant to take. But, it will not matter. None of that will matter when it’s all said and done. It is really true... nothing can ruin your day when it's truly yours.

**all pictures are by friends, posted with permission