Hawai'i Vacation Part 3

After Loren's frightful experience at Sandy Beach that I talked about in Part 2, we made our way up to Oahu's North Shore, where we were spending the rest of our trip at the only resort on the Northern part of the island, Turtle Bay Resort. We had worked with a travel agent and were super excited about getting an ocean front room, because we had heard that Turtle Bay was located closer to the water than pretty much any other place on the island.

 We arrived at the resort around sunset time, because we had taken most of the afternoon to drive up the coast. But, wowzers. This was the view from our room:

One thing about Turtle Bay is that it really isn't very close to...well, anything. The nearest towns are about 15-20 minutes either direction, but the restaurants at the resort are pretty pricey. We weren't exactly looking to spend hundreds of dollars on food every day, so on our way up we had stopped by a grocery store and bought some peanut butter, a loaf of bread, and some other breakfast food like yogurt and oatmeal so we could eat breakfast and lunch meals in our room. It was nice to have food in the room so we didn't feel like we had to leave the beach or the pool!

 We made the trip to nearby (20 mins) Haleiwa every afternoon for dinner. Options were a little bit limited there, but we did enjoy the Mexican restaurant Cholo's a couple times, and a yummy place called Breaker's that was pricey but delicious.

And shaved ice (famous and VERY popular on the North Shore for some reason)

And, our personal favorite place in all of Hawaii: 
The Coffee Gallery

Oh, Coffee Gallery. Home to some of the very best coffee drinks we've ever had. We tried their smoothies, their iced coffees, but our most favorites were their coffee/espressos over vanilla ice cream.

 We went every day that we were on the North Shore and every time we raved to each other about the drink we got. We saw and talked to the owner after about our third visit, and found out that he roasts all his own beans right above the coffee shop and makes every blend fresh to order. On our last day, we wanted to buy a bag to bring back, but they were already sold out of the blend we wanted (always a good sign), so he made up a bag especially for us - extra freshly roasted coffee!

You could say that our experience with the Coffee Gallery sparked a little bit of a coffee obsession with us. Not that we didn't already like it alot (if you know us, you know this is true), but since we got back we've purchased an espresso machine and starting making our own lattes and mochas and experimenting with different coffees and espressos from actual roasteries, not just the grocery store. We are having a blast learning and researching and watching videos and buying and tasting all kinds of new coffee drinks!

So basically from Thursday - Saturday of our time on Oahu, we went to the beach in the mornings, parked it and swam, relaxed, read (me), slept, played Solitaire on the iPad (Loren), and climbed around on the crazy rocky reefs around the hotel!

I was nervous to bring my camera on any of the more jagged areas, but we also walked almost all the way out to that long part sticking out into the ocean! Crazy, fun, and slightly dangerous. But we wore reef shoes, so we lived to tell about it.

Loren playing at the beach.

One of the nights, we decided to mix it up a little bit and go see a movie (The Avengers!). Thankfully, there was a movie theater fairly close by in a town called Laie. Interesting thing about Laie is that there is a campus of Brigham Young University there, and a HUGE Mormon Temple. We had some time to kill (pretty much always a true statement in Hawaii), so we drove around it and looked around the grounds. Strange thing is, there was not a soul around and I kind of felt weird being there, so...we left. 

View from the temple looking toward the ocean - beautiful!

On our last night, we did our usual trip into Haleiwa for dinner/coffee and decided to try and time it so we could be at Sunset Beach at sunset. It was definitely not hard to tell which one was Sunset Beach, because about an hour before sunset, the whole beach was blazing with sunlight until the moment it set. Incredibly beautiful.

 Oh! And we also saw some sea turtles!! I forget which day this was - probably our last day - but I had been reading in our guide book about this beach in between Turtle Bay and Haleiwa that pretty much always has sea turtles. Some beaches in Hawaii are really well marked beach parks, and other ones are pretty elusive. This was one that was not well-marked at all, but that day it was packed with people! I hopped out of the car hoping it was because there were turtles, and sure enough!

 There was an organization (Save the Turtles!) there monitoring people and making sure no one touched them or bothered them.

Did you know it's illegal to touch a sea turtle according to Hawaii state law? Now you know.

I think that's all the highlights from the trip! It was a fantastic week, and I was really sad to see it come to an end. It's hard to come back to reality when you've been in paradise with your best friend with no responsibilities or jobs or any interruptions! But we came back with great memories and pictures of an amazing time!