Breakfast, Playgrounds, and Beaches: “Hawaiian Style”

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.

Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea, HI (Big Island).

Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea, HI (Big Island).

Hawaiian Style Cafe's "loco moco" plate: Two hamburger patties with rice, sunny-side up egg, onions, and gravy. Oh-so-ono!

Hawaiian Style Cafe’s “loco moco” plate: Two hamburger patties with rice, sunny-side up egg, onions, and gravy. Oh-so-ono!

T's "kid's breakfast" of an extra-large pancake, eggs, and bacon at Hawaiian Style Cafe.

T’s “kid’s breakfast” of an extra-large pancake, eggs, and bacon at Hawaiian Style Cafe.

Macadamia nut and banana pancakes at Hawaiian Style Cafe.

Macadamia nut and banana pancakes at Hawaiian Style Cafe.

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.

Anuenue Playground in Waimea, HI (Big Island).

Anuenue Playground in Waimea, HI (Big Island).

What's behind here at Anuenue Playground?

What’s behind the music at Anuenue Playground?

A xylophone at Anuenue Playground.

A cool looking (and playing) wooden and brass xylophone at Anuenue Playground.

C in the middle of getting lost of the mazes at Anuenue Playground.

C in the middle of getting lost inside of the mazes at Anuenue Playground.

T running through the paths and other wooden structures at Anuenue Playground.

T running through the paths and other wooden structures at Anuenue Playground.

A cool boat to "ride" on at Anuenue Playground.

A cool boat to “ride” on at Anuenue Playground.

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.

T at a playground in Kona during our Big Island trip in May 2011.

T at a playground in Kona during our Big Island trip in May 2011.

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.

A view looking southward at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area ("Big Hapuna").

A view looking southward at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area (“Big Hapuna”).

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.

T in the surf at Mauna Kea Beach, just to the north of Hapuna Beach.

T in the surf at Mauna Kea Beach, just to the north of Hapuna Beach.

T on the border between Hapuna Beach and Mauna Kea Beach.

T on the border between Hapuna Beach and Mauna Kea Beach.

T goes to see what C's building out on Mauna Kea Beach.

T goes to see what C’s building out on Mauna Kea Beach.

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!

T and C say Aloha for now, RMT'ers!

T and C say Aloha for now, RMT’ers!

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.”

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