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TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

washington
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for Maui
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TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

OK a little intro..DH and I are in our late 50's...13th trip to the islands...on our 5th trip to BI. I have loved Kona since our first trip 35 years ago and this trip has only deepened that affection. We have done the volcano in the past by land and helio...we have done horseback rides, snorkel cruises, whale watches, museums and educated ourselves every which way from Sunday with a lot of help from TA! We are not foodies, but appreciate good food and good service. We're what I would call "easy keepers"

That said, our flight from Seattle on the 9th was delayed for an hour by fog...then another delay in Honolulu so we didn't land until 3:30 Kona time. I have to say I LOVE flying over that lava field into the airport! As always the raw, primal beauty smacks you in the face, you are here and this is it!...then taxiing into the airport that looks very nearly the same as 35 years ago...the shuttle to the car rental goes past wonderful walls of lava rock with glorious cascades of bougainvilla...home, at least for a few weeks.

We hit "Kona rush hour" on our way to the Sheraton from the airport...OK maybe rush hour here...it was a slow couple of miles for us, not nearly the 25 miles of stop and go we are used to in an urban area, just a chance to check surroundings and orient ourselves again.

Check in at the Sheraton was great, we used cash and points here for 2 nights, got upgraded from mountain view to oceanview..and it was wonderful! Lovely staff, very friendly and helpfull! I'll write a full review when i get home in a couple of weeks. If you have questions before then pm me.

Our first morning we headed off for "coffee country", an area we have loved in the past...the valet chased us down to tell us about the new farmer's market at the foot of the Sheraton driveway...met some lovely folks and talked story with more than a few, bought some lovely starfruit. Went off on our tasting mission...sampled at Kona Joes and Kona coffee...bought some interesting "coffee rub" for fish and steaks at Kona joes for my "grillin' guys"...Kona Coffee shack has the most samples to try.

As recommended at one of the coffee farms we went to Manago for lunch...what fun! Funky old building, you order off the daily board...DH had teriaki chicken and i had the butter fish ( yes I know all about problems with butter fish..but mine was grilled with miso glaze and wonderful..not in sushi) Kind of a japanese style plate lunch...we were served a large bowl of white rice, chicken long rice, mac salad and bean sprouts in shoyu...then our entrees arrived. Lovely folks...good food about 9 bucks a plate.

I'll complain about the service at the sheraton bar in my review..checked out and dropped our luggage at the Worldmark by Wyndam. Once again great folks. this will be another review when we get home...one of the best places to base ever and our 3rd time here...all updated and so clean and welcoming!

Headed into Kailua-Kona for a late breakfast, stumbled across U-Top-It I just behind Lava Java on Ali'i...on Thurs. mornings they have a group of Uke players in the back room...amazing fun. We went back twice! the servers are great and ya gotta try the loco moco with county gravy!

Ok It's obviously time to shorten this up or I'll bore you all stiff, I'm sorry.

Farmer's Market downtown Kona...very fun! Homemade breads and rolls that were wonderful, buying jewlery from the artist, lettuce and other produce much cheaper than the store.

Round trip drive up to Hawi. Bamboo a fun stop for lunch and on to Kahamehama statue and on to Pololu Valley to wave at Maui. Back to Hawi and took 250 up to Waimea...gorgeous drive, great views. About 7 hours with all the stops for pics and food

Kona Inn...lunch, still wonderful and the view is killer, calamari sandwich was perfect. Confession here, I LOVE the length of Ali'i drive...I love how polite the locals are, the crawl ffrom one end to the the other and back...yup the one thing that hasn't changed in 35 years and which makes me feel at home.

We've hit the Kona Brewing Co twice and it's been great both times

best buy on the island is the optional $3 side salad here! Huge, frfresh and a real treat...Oh yeah, DH loved the Cajun pizza.

Last night we were treated to the Blue Dragon by friends, wonderful fun! Live music, live hula, wonderful fresh, organic food, a truely amazing evening all around!

Things I know...much has changed but a lot has not...Kona is still Kona. We have visited friends up in Waikaloa...while lovely, it could be a condo complex ,anywhere on a golf course, anywhere in the US. Kona however is still Kona!! We have spent a lot of time finally doing nothing!!! As I said best trip ever!!

Huntington Beach, CA
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1. Re: TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

Oh how nice! I'm heading to Kona in May. Missed it on my first visit. I am very interested in reading your reports :)

jc

washington
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2. Re: TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

You're gonna LOVE Kona! Forgot to mention the Ali'i Gardens Marketplace...no food but some lovely local handcrafts and jewelry!

Maui
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for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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3. Re: TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

Boy, it's about time you surfaced and did some reporting, Mamma!! Welcome home to Maui in advance!!

I loved the Kona Inn......did any of the gang have sashimi there? It was some of the best I've ever had......

washington
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4. Re: TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

HEY SW!! No yellin' at the tourists! I've beeen very, very busy doing a whole lot of NOTHIN'!! HA

No sashimi yet, going back for our Aloha dinner tonight! Btw...my kids hit Maui this afternoon...you should here the rumble as they race to the beach...wave that majic wand and clear up those crazy waters, willya, please!?

Kapaa, Hawaii
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for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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5. Re: TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

Been thinking about you mamma. So glad you had a wonderful time on the big island. I'll be waving at ya when you hit Maui. Say hi to the fishies for me!!

dallas, texas
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6. Re: TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

It is great to hear a positive review! My husband and I are early 60s and he really wants to see the BI. We plan to come and spend about a week there and two weeks in Kauai. He is an avid photographer but is limited in his hiking and outdoor activities due to some health issues. Do you have any suggestions on how to divide up our time and where to stay? Thanks so much for your time

Denver, Colorado
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7. Re: TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

Ditto on Manago's restaurant (pork chop dinner is a must and great/cheap breakfast spot too before snorkeling and 3rd floor rooms w/ a view are a bargain). I agree on Blue Dragon, great ambience, great food presentation, great place to hang loose (if they can amp up there food quality some i.e. overcooked shrimp, this will be a must do kind of place).

washington
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8. Re: TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

gmhr...if you love funky, laid back and warm look for a condo in Kailua-Kona. We love this area, lots to see and do...boat cruises, lay on the beach, walk along Ali'i. If you want to "do" VNP you'll want a couple of days in Volcano or Hilo. We drove to Tropical Gardens today in about 2 hours...great place for photographs and they offer golf carts up and down if you need them.

washington
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for Maui
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9. Re: TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

YO...SW...sashimi at Kona Inn is still totally ono!!!! And the Ono was cooked to perfection as well...love this place, perfect way to end our visit to the BI!

Maui
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for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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10. Re: TR...Been here, done that...best trip EVER!!

Yo, Mamma................fine, dig it in! See you guys soon!