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Scenes from a Saturday road trip: Kailua and the North Shore

Posted by on March 27, 2012
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Work hours have been painfully long since I got back from New Jersey last week. Eaman has been home in Oklahoma for the past two weeks. I’ve been getting into a bad habit of eating dinner on the couch, changing the channel to classic Friends episodes, falling asleep and waking up at 2 a.m. (I admit, I am definitely a grandmother by 20-something nightlife standards, but I owe this particularly sad turn of events to long hours on my feet at the smoothie shop and the relative isolation of living up a mountain. Am I less sad to you now? Hopefully.)

What I’m trying to say is, I was very much in need of an outing. During pau hana (happy hour) and subsequent dinner at the fantastic Vietnamese restaurant Super Pho last week, my cousin Pratt suggested we take a road trip somewhere on Saturday. Details weren’t necessary; I was ready to go anywhere.

Like I said, I’m starting to feel a little isolated living on this here mountain, which calls for a 15-minute downhill walk to a bus stop and the far worse 20-minute steep ascent back up the mountain. I was getting bogged down in Honolulu and knew there’s so much more to see in Oahu. But without a car, it’s hard. What a buzzkill it is to think: “Sweet! Let’s go to Kailua Beach. The bus comes in 27 minutes and then it’ll take us approximately 1 hour and 14 minutes to get there. And let’s pray it doesn’t take forever and a half to come back by bus. Can’t wait!”

But Pratt has a car, and she and her husband, Craig, have wanted to take us somewhere outside Honolulu for a while. (Unfortunately, Eaman wasn’t here for this excursion.) So on Friday night, she emailed me to be ready by noon for an adventure and to bring my bathing suit. That was one vague proposition I could get behind!

Where did we go? Well, a lot of places. Here, a little photo diary of our trip:

Stopped for lunch at Kalapawai Market in Kailua, a somewhat ritzy seaside town that boasts one of the best beaches on Oahu (called Kailua Beach) and ate lunch –  a veggie-feta sandwich in my case — at a nearby park:

The weather was grim, but I believe that sometimes, a little fog and grey is quite beautiful.

A few bites shy of finishing my sandwich, this happened:

But onward, we said!

Pit-stop at a macadamia nut shop to jack free samples, like these honey-roasted treats, and macadamia nut-flavored coffee:

Con: The tourist crowd outside the nut shop.

Pro: The scene behind the tourists.

At “the hole in the rock” along the drive to the North Shore:

Our friend Suzanne had a particular fruit stand in mind that she wanted to show us:


Suzanne bought us all coconut drinks…

…and they were the best I’ve ever had. They blew the Colombia ones out of the water!

When I said we went to a lot of places, I meant it. We even made a quick stop at the Waimea Arboretum to check out the two resident peacocks:

And finally, we made it to the North Shore, known to many as the surfing mecca of the world. Much of Lost was filmed here, and as well as one of my favorite movies ever, Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

People cliff-dove; I did not. But Craig and I did get in the water. To say it was powerful is a gross understatement. I could barely stand straight as the tide pulled back out. And though I managed, let me put it this way: It’s best to wear a one-piece bathing suit with those kind of waves.

On our drive out, we stopped the car to check out some ridiculously talented surfers from afar. I would’ve taken pictures but was too busy picking my jaw up from off the floor.

And as we wound our way back home, we came full circle with dinner at Peace Cafe, a tranquil vegan spot in Honolulu. I’ve gotta say: I’m so impressed with vegan food in Hawaii. In New York, I always found it bland. But here, everything is so fresh and well-flavored. And I just loved the vibe at this place. It was like a yoga studio with really good food.

Popeye sandwich at Peace Cafe — spinach, tofu, sprouts, pesto and Italian dressing.

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3 Responses to Scenes from a Saturday road trip: Kailua and the North Shore

  1. Sasha

    Love the Waimea Bay photos. Just passed Waimea Bay going North is a great non-touristy snorkel spot. It’s called Shark’s Cove and is near the supermarket. You can get the snorkel gear for $3 across the street. Its a great little spot.

    • Archana

      Sasha! Your rec couldn’t have come at a better time. Eaman and I just went snorkeling in Hanauma and weren’t very impressed. Way too touristy, not enough fish (probably because of all the toruists). But we did see turtles! We’ll definitely have to check out Shark’s Cove.

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