OK, now that I’ve let you know some of the more real RMT happenings as of late, let’s go back to the Big Island!
Our second day of “rental car Hawaii” (and first full day of it) meant an off-site breakfast for a change. C remembered that some friends ate at a wonderful little local eatery up in Waimea about 30 minutes north of our hotel, so why not jump in the car and check it out.
The Hawaiian Style Cafe is about as local ono-kine grinds as it gets. Breakfasts are large and stuffed with traditional Hawaiian flavors, from their savory “loco moco” plates to their ginormous pancakes that are topped with anything from coconut pudding to macadamia nuts and local bananas. I can’t believe we’d not gone to this place before though we’d driven by it several times on previous trips to the Big Island. Well, we shall never make that mistake again! Hawaiian Style Cafe is definitely going to be on our must-eat list from now on.
After breakfast we stopped off at a nearby playground so T could burn off his pancake-and-eggs. The Anuenue Playground in Waimea is a vast wooden maze-like structure full of imaginative pockets of play for kids of all ages. While at one time the playground was near closure for deteriorating to the point of non-use, the community came together and pitched in with donations and actual hands-on labor to revive it. Good thing; the Anuenue Playground is absolutely amazing.
Our family is also a huge fan of finding wonderful playgrounds and park areas while on vacation for T to get his energy out between other more structured activities. It worked wonders for C and T during a trip to Paris when T was just 18-months-old when I was confined to our apartment with a horrible illness, and it was a great break for all of us during our final day on the Big Island back in Spring 2011. You know, that last day before a red-eye flight where you are just driving around, killing time because you don’t want to get too involved in or sweaty (or salty or sandy) from an activity on a travel day? Thank goodness for public parks and playgrounds; I think we take them for granted far too often.
To cap off our morning, we headed back down south to Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area. No, not Mile Marker 69, but the actual “Big Hapuna” for this outing. We were grateful to get parking in their main lot pretty close up front, but oh boy was it busy out there that day! The crowds forced us to wander a little farther north beyond Hapuna’s formal borders to the beach in front of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.
The Mauna Kea Beach is also accessible by entry through the hotel’s main road a little farther up Highway 19 where they distribute about 40 public access parking permits daily. However, we’d tried to get one before heading to Hapuna’s lot, and they were out for the day already (by 9:30 a.m.). It’s good to know that the same beach is accessible via Hapuna Beach; now in a way, we’ve been to both in one outing!
I’d say it was just another day at the beach for C, T, and me, but when it’s a day at the beach on the Big Island, it’s definitely a day at the beach… “Hawaiian Style.”