We’re back! If you’ve been following along on my Instagram feed, you already know that we had a wonderful trip full of time with my family. Going home always gets our wheels turning about how we could spend part of the year (say, January through April?) in Hawaii, if only we could figure out a way. Does anyone have a couple mil to spare? We’ve got our eye on the cute neighborhood where we rent our vacation cottage.
Quite a few people have asked for Oahu recommendations, and I remembered that I listed a bunch of good places to eat in this City Guide when I got back from my annual pilgrimage last year. I have even more places to add this time around. Hawaii just gets better with age!
Holiday Palms Cottage: We loved staying in this little cottage on the Windward side of the island. The area is the definition of lush, with unbelievably green mountains and to-die-for views of the ocean as you drive in.
The cottage itself is cozy, clean, and bright, with a comfortable bed and, perhaps most importantly, air conditioning! There is also a great little private outdoor patio with a table and a grill. We loved the neighborhood, which is a five minute walk from the beach and just a couple of blocks from lots of restaurants and shops, including the brand new Whole Foods. Not to worry, lots of independent boutiques and eateries are scattered in with the bigger stores.
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens: I feel like I’m letting you in on a secret here, because the gardens are almost always empty when I visit them but they’re one of the best things on the island. These gardens are my idea of Eden. The land is divided by the geographic areas from which the plants hail. There really aren’t any words to describe how beautiful it is there. Camping is allowed, so if you’re adventurous (I’m not), you could even pitch a tent and skip the cost of accommodations all together!
Sugarcane: You may remember that we bought a mirror from Sugarcane last year. Over the course of the year, owner Jill and I became great fans of each other’s Instagram feeds, and I’ve fallen even more in love with her shop. Let me tell you, if I hadn’t already finished most of my Christmas shopping, I could’ve done it all at Jill’s boutique. Vintage teacups, cute t-shirts, and bright pillows line the shelves here. You can even take home a little beach in a jar for your friends who can’t make the trip themselves. My favorite: seeing an array of Ten Things jewelry in real life. I’m such a big fan of Kerri’s! I bought one of her turquoise bracelets and I’m positive it’s good luck.
The Spalding House: Up in hills above Honolulu sits this magical piece of land. The 3.5 acre property (almost unheard of in Hawaii) was once owned by the Cookes of Castle and Cooke. Today, it’s owned by the Honolulu Museum of Art. The home was turned into a gallery which houses rotating exhibits of contemporary artwork. But the real treat is the beautifully manicured garden, the sloping lawn, and the view of Diamond Head that is perfectly framed by two Banyan Trees.
We enjoyed all these places and some of the ones from the City Guide before flying out last Tuesday night. On the way home, we stayed in LA for a day to decompress and break up the trip, and most importantly, to have dinner with my oldest friend and his completely lovely girlfriend. Now we’re home and somewhat surprised to find ourselves preparing for Christmas!
And in case you’re wondering, yes, we’re already preparing for the next visit.
P.S. Want more Oahu recommendations? Check out my City Guide for Honolulu.