Travel Tradition: Day One

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Travel Traditions

A Stroll Down Front StreetLast week’s edition of our Travel Traditions series featured the rituals we follow on our arrival day. I thought I’d continue on that this week by covering some of our favorite things to do on our first full day on Maui each trip.

Our first full day centers around dinner at one our favorites places to eat in Maui, Cheeseburger in Paradise. But that’s not until later in the afternoon, so let me start with the rest of the day first. On this first day, we’re still recovering from the timezone difference between Chicago and Hawaii, so I typically find myself getting up much earlier than I do on the rest of the trip. Our arrival day post talked a little bit about the lanai in our ocean front room at the Sheraton, so I’ll usually make my way out there for a little bit, trying not to wake Cindy.

Early mornings are so peaceful and quiet on Maui. Because we stay in Ka’anapali, which is on the western most part of the island, we don’t get the benefit of watching the sunrise each day. But that’s okay, looking out onto the ocean that first morning after a well needed night’s rest is a personal moment of reflection for me. I’ll take a moment to be thankful for the opportunity to visit such a wonderful place each year, and for all those long hours of hard work and sacrafices we have to endure throughout the year to make these trips happen. One of the few times I’ll actually think about work and things back home while we’re on vacation.

Anyway, here’s a quick clip that was taken on the lanai from one of our earlier trips. It might not seem that exciting, but as I mentioned above, it’s very peaceful.

Once we’re both awake and finished getting ready that morning, we’ll head downstairs to the Keka’a Terrace for their breakfast buffet. A lot of folks mention skipping the resort breakfast buffet as a good way to save money on Hawaii, and their 100% correct. Luckily for us, and depending on what package we book with the Sheraton, we get vouchers for free buffet breakfast every morning. That’s a big plus, since we’ll head down to eat at around 9am or so, have a big breakfast, and skip out on lunch.

Front Street
With breakfast out of the way, we’ll make our way down to Lahaina town around 1pm or so and walk around Front Street to soak up a little of the atmosphere there for awhile. The majority of the places we’ll eat out for dinner are in Lahaina, so we’ll find ourselves there about 5-6 times during a two week trip. The more times we walk along that popular stretch of road, browsing through store windows and some of the general stores, the more we just feel right at home. For a first day tradition, it really gets us back into that “we never left” mode.

Depending on what the day is like, we’ll trek on over to the Banyan tree and check out some of the boats in the harbor. We’ll probably spend about 2-3 hours or so, just walking up and down the shops, seeing what has changed since last year, things like that. We might do a little shopping, and we’ll usually start looking for a new set of Aloha wear for our luau that trip.

Cheeseburger in ParadiseThe First Dinner
Close to about 4pm, we’re starting to get hungry and it’s time for our traditional day one dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise. We first stumbled across Cheeseburger while in Waikiki for our honeymoon. We really enjoyed the atmosphere and absolutely loved the food. Honestly, any place that has burgers and chicken sandwiches, and lets you add a slice of grilled pineapple to any sandwich is my kind of place. :)

Their motto above the door reads “Paradise Served Daily”, and would tend to think it’s right on. At their Lahaina location, Cheeseburger in Paradase doesn’t have a bad place to sit. With two levels, you can stay on the ground floor and watch the folks stroll along by, but we opt for the second story seating and a view of the water. We’ll be there early enough where there isn’t that long of a wait, but depending on where we sit, that late afternoon sun in the western sky might be a little too strong while you’re trying to eat. Afterall, you are right on the water in Lahaina Harbor, so be sure to say hello to Lana’i out nearby.

We’re not that big on dessert while on vacation, although we are very found of the Hula Pie at Leilani’s. After getting back to our resort around 5:30pm or so, we’ll take a stroll over to Whalers Village and endulge in a little Haagen Dazs to celebrate the evening. For me, it’s the pineapple and coconut ice cream, while Cindy will switch off between the while chocolate macadamia nut ice cream and the frozen mocha drink they have (I don’t remember the name).

After a short stroll around Whalers, we’ll take our time heading back to the Sheraton. On nights like this first one, we’ll just catch the final glimpse of the sunset while at Whalers, and with the cliff dive ceremony at Black Rock already completed, we’ll see the torches on Black Rock lit from afar. And when I say we’ll “take our time” heading back, that means we’ll kick off the slippahs and walk along the beach itself rather than the beachwalk that we usually take. By the time we eventually make it back to the Sheraton, we usually have a view looking something like this.

Black Rock at Night

Not a bad way to finish off Day One, eh?

The Travel Traditions Series here at the blog features our habits and rituals that we have for various aspects of our frequent trips to the island of Maui. Getting to know the island so well after all these years, having a few traditions adds a little continuity to our visits, while still giving us so much flexibility to enjoy many new things each trip.

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About Kris

Kris and his wife Cindy are avid Maui fans, and have visited the island half a dozen times since '06. Over the years, they have made many friends living on Maui or through social media, which keeps them in touch with the island until they can return again.

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