Written by Shae
Our first stop on the island of Oahu was to stay in Ko'Olina. For years Pappy wanted to stay in the town on a gorgeous beach....we never got the chance due to the price, but my job allowed us the opportunity to do so this trip. The hotel was beautiful; the staff was kind gave us a view of both the ocean and the mountains. The Hale Kona was an experience worth while. The quiet private beach held some pretty stunning sunsets. What I didn't know was Ko'Olina is a tiny town, not just a vacation destination, you can actually live there! I'm not going to lie, I was shocked and a bit ecstatic about that!
So! Places to go! If you're traveling or live there, you definitely need to hit up Auntie Pasto's. Their chicken parmesan is still the best that I've ever had. Their food is amazing and they've got an ever changing list of desserts. The restaurant has changed since I'd been there last. It's still an amazing place to eat! Now, while on the island you also need to stop and get a Shave Ice. Not shaved, shave. The flavors vary from stand and shop, but they're all amazing. Now for ice cream you have to go to Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream. Located in East Honolulu, this is the best ice cream I've ever had on the island. Now, if there's one thing in Hawaii that you have to eat it's the fresh fruit. The Dole Plantation still stands to this day with a giant maze, and of course it's local made Pineapple ice cream. The fresh Pineapple is grown in the volcanic red dirt which adds an element to the fruit that makes it so sweet. Once you've had Hawaiian pineapple, you'll never eat it stateside again.
Of course there were things we got to do we normally wouldn't. Riding horses in the Mountains at Kualoa Ranch made me feel at home and at utter peace. Zip lining later that day made me question my little sister's sanity! Seriously, she made us go first! I can't even tell you how scared I was for that! Riding a horse near a cliffs edge, sure! Zip lining? Nah. I'm good. Still it was quite fun! If I could live at Kualoa ranch, I'm pretty sure I would! Of course we had to go to the Blow Hole. This infamous part of the ocean has sadly claimed the lives of many, but it's a site that's beautiful and deadly.
During our trip we made life long friends, who feel like family. We bonded and came closer, but we also had a lot of fun. A trip that was brought on by tragedy has become a truly memorably experience, the healing that happened was beyond needed and I will forever be thankful for this trip.