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Hawaiian Luau, Honolulu, 1960s

Photography by Retrofile / Getty Images

Grab your grass skirts, leis and umbrella drinks, and get in the Aloha spirit for Hawaii’s 55th birthday! On Aug. 21, 1959, Hawaii officially became the 50th US state. And each year, on the third Friday of August, the Aloha State observes its Statehood Day.

Pictured above, a group of hula dancers perform during a luau in Honolulu — the capital of Hawaii — in the 1960s. An ancient Hawaiian tradition, hula dancing was used as a way to pass down history and myths from generation to generation. And today, luaus have become a popular way for tourists to experience Hawaiian culture and the tradition of hula.

Hang loose and travel to Hawaii’s island paradise! Book a stay at one of Hawaii’s top resorts, attend a luau on Oahu (or any island, really) and catch some waves on Waikiki Beach.

And don’t forget to check back next week for our Vintage Summer Throwback Thursday!

 

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Photo Courtesy of ShermansTravel

Book by July 31.

It’s 2 blocks from Waikiki Beach. It’s surrounded by high-end shops. It’s a 7-minute drive from Diamond Head. And, it’s on sale.

You’ll find all that and more right now at the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach hotel, located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Stay at this beautiful Hyatt property, which underwent a major renovation in 2012, for $189 per night on select dates through Nov. 30, 2014. That’s 30% off current rates! Even better? Breakfast and Wi-Fi are included, and kids 17 and under stay free.

This rate is good for a city-view room, but for as little as $9 you can upgrade to a mountain- or ocean-view room with a private balcony. Relax at the on-site pool, spend an evening by the fire pit or simply kick back in your room with a movie or music played from your own mobile device.

If you’ve had enough sun and sand, head to the nearby Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium or Kapiolani Park. They’re all within a 1-mile radius of the hotel.

Terms & Conditions:
Cancellation Terms:
- If cancelled before Aug. 21, 2014, Eastern Time, $19.95.
- If cancelled on or after Aug. 21, 2014, Eastern Time, Lose 1 Night’s Room & Tax plus $19.95.

Coupon Terms:
- Book 21 days in advance and receive an INSTANT 10% OFF on lodging plus FREE breakfast daily! Inventory and pricing subject to change at any time. This offer will end soon; so book it now!
- Hotel Check-In Time is:  3:00 pm
- Hotel Check-Out Time is:  12:00 pm
- You must be AT LEAST 18 years old to check in to this property.
- This booking is subject to the Hotel Terms & Conditions.
- This booking is subject to the BookIt.com Terms & Conditions.

– BY SHERMANSTRAVEL

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Surfing on Waikiki Beach

Photography By Keystone/Getty Images

Surfing — an ancient Hawaiian tradition known to locals as “he’e nalu” — dates back to the late 1770s. However, it wasn’t until Hawaii became a state in 1959, and movies like Gidget Goes Hawaiian and The Endless Summer came out, that surfing in Hawaii became popular.

In the 1960s, Waikiki Beach in Honolulu became a popular tourist attraction for beginning surfers because of its long, rolling waves and smooth shore. Pictured above, a group of surfers in the 60s perform stunts on the famous beach. In the background stands Diamond Head — an extinct volcanic crater that was named a Hawaii state monument in 1962 and a national natural landmark in 1968.

Check back every week this month for our Vintage Summer Throwback Thursdays.

 

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Photography by Kenji Croman. GoKenji.com

Near drownings. Shark attacks. Broken bones. Trips to the ER … All in the pursuit of the perfect wave. Kenji Croman isn’t a big wave surfer with a death wish, but a photographer chasing mammoth waves in his native state of Hawaii.  Like a lot of Hawaiians growing up, Kenji started out bodysurfing, but it wasn’t until he was 30 years old, when he combined his love for photography and his love of the ocean, that he felt he could truly communicate how he saw the waves: as art in motion.

We were lucky to catch up with Kenji on dry land, and find out what it takes to capture the perfect wave the split second it breaks and barrels over his head, how he survived surf that nearly killed him, and ultimately, what keeps him heading back out into the water. Take one look at his photos and you’ll understand why.

READ MORE

 

Author Jermel-Lynn Quillopo wearing plumeria and purple orchid leis.

Flowers play such an essential part of the Hawaiian culture and having them strung together into a lei symbolizes a form of Aloha. Aloha translates into phrases such as “hello”, “goodbye”, “I love you” and “thank you.” The gesture of the Aloha spirit also comes in the form of presenting beautifully fragrant leis during occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations.

The phrase “May Day is Lei Day”, dates back to 1928 when local newspaper writer Don Blanding wrote an article suggesting there be a day dedicated to the tradition of lei giving. If you’re ever on the islands on May Day (May 1st ), you’ll see many draped in colorful and beautifully fragrant leis made from an assortment of flowers such as cigar flowers, orchids and tea leaf.

The original lei stands started during Hawaii’s Boat Days era, when worldwide visitors arrived in big cruise ships into the Aloha Tower Harbor. These visitors would be welcomed with grass skirt wearing hula dancers, beautiful ukulele medleys and greeted with a lei to wear; making the lei Hawaiiʻs international symbol of Aloha.

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Road to Hana (Photo Courtesy of Chip Ward/ Equitrekking)

The island of Maui is amazing! Some people enjoy their Hawaiian vacation by simply relaxing on the beach while sipping a cold beverage, but there are several heart-pumping adventures that await adrenaline junkies on Maui, too. Here are 3 adventures you don’t want to miss when visiting this island paradise.

1. Go Road Trippin’ on the Road to Hana
The Hana Highway (Hwy. 36), which runs along the northeastern coast of Maui, is a thrilling road trip that the whole family can enjoy. Called “The Road to Hana,” this 52-mile coastal highway comprises more than 600 tummy-churning curves. Those who brave the route will be rewarded with dramatic coastal views and plenty of photo opportunities by beautiful waterfalls, lush rainforests, parks and gardens.

Top Travel Tip: Plan at least 3 hours to conquer the Road to Hana and take your time. This adventure is all about the journey and sightseeing along the way!
READ MORE

Ironman World Championships 2013 in Kona, Hawaii. Photography by Tony Svensson

Ironman “Kona Inspired” athlete Kelly Miyahara has learned through both extraordinary triumphs and devastating tragedy that anything is possible. Kelly felt like “the luckiest girl in the world” when, in 2005, she was given her dream job: Jeopardy! Clue Crew member, allowing her to travel the world for a living.

After the tragic loss of her fellow Ironman teammate and friend, Marisela (Mari) Echeverria, Kelly set out to prove, once again, that anything is possible. This past month, she competed in honor of Mari in the Ironman Word Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

We caught up with Kelly recently and found out what makes her such an inspiring athlete.

“Kona Inspired” Kelly Miyahara crosses the Ironman finish line. Marco Garcia – AP for IRONMAN

Traveling Type: What made you decide you wanted to compete in Ironman?

Kelly Miyahara: The Ironman World Championship is a very special event.  Think, the Super Bowl or World Cup of triathlons. It’s where the world’s best triathletes compete. Normally, the way to earn a slot there is to qualify by winning your age group at a “qualifying” Ironman event, win a lottery slot, or be invited as a special guest. My very special journey was as a Kona Inspired Contest Winner. I was 1 of 7 slot winners in an international contest that asked entrants to share inspiring stories following the Ironman mantra, “Anything is possible.”

 

What does it mean to be a “Kona Inspired” in Ironman?

Kona Inspired entrants submitted 90-second videos telling their stories fitting the mantra, “Anything is Possible.”  My story is heartbreaking, yet it fits the mantra perfectly. On the very day of the Ironman World Championship last year, October 13, 2012, my friend and teammate, Marisela Echeverria, was struck and killed by a bus on the California coast while training for her first Ironman. We had shared the last 2 years of our lives as part of TEAM in Training (LA’s IronTEAM) while training and fundraising for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The night before our big day at Ironman Canada in 2012, Mari received a devastating phone call. Her father had passed away. Needless to say, she left to be with her family and didn’t race her first Ironman with the team. Not giving up, Mari got back out there a few weeks later after securing a charity slot into Ironman Arizona in November. Just 4 weeks before the race was when tragedy struck again. The unthinkable happened, and it was with Mari’s loss that I learned that anything really is possible.

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The word for local in Hawaiian is “kamaaina,” and to find out how to eat like a kamaaina, you have to ask one. On a recent trip to Honolulu, locals directed me to Kapahulu Ave, an unremarkable stretch of road in the shadow of Diamond Head, where the daily business of Oahu happens away from touristy Waikiki Beach. I got some of my best food tips on Waikiki Beach from a bartender at Duke’s Waikiki who drew me a map of Kapahulu on the back of a cocktail napkin. If you find yourself in Honolulu, play kamaaina for a day and take a trip down to Kapahulu Ave to one of these local foodie hot spots.

Ono Hawaiian Foods
726 Kapahulu Ave.

Photos: Robin Bennefield

When I asked a local named Larry the best place to have an authentic Hawaiian meal, he said Ono Hawaiian Foods, without hesitation. He also told me that “ono” means delicious in Hawaiian. According to Larry, the lau lau is ono. So, I had to go and give it a taste. Ono has all the characteristics of a hole in the wall: it’s tiny; the staff tells you to sit wherever you want; and there are framed pictures of famous Hawaiians all over the walls. One non-local catches my eye: Richard Chamberlain of Thornbirds fame, which boosts its quirk level about 10 points in my book. I order the pork lau lau and I get a hunk of taro leaf-wrapped pork, accompanied by small bowls of raw onions, lomi salmon, dried beef, poi and hanupia. I get an explanation of what I’m eating from Toyo, the gregarious manager, whose mother started the local favorite over 50 years ago. The lomi is a salmon salad with tomato that tastes like salsa, the dried beef is like bits of well-seasoned beef jerky, the hanupia is a slightly-sweet, Jell-O-like coconut pudding, and the poi is the purple, tangy, gooey by-product of pounded taro root, which Toyo tells me is very healthy and good for digestion. He also explains that the lau lau, which reminds me of a Southern dish of collard greens and ham hocks, is typically steamed in a pit in the ground. But the thing that he most wants to tell me, when he finds out that I write for Travel Channel, is that Anthony Bourdain once sat 2 tables away.

Side Street Inn on Da Strip
614 Kapahulu Ave.

Photo: Robin Bennefield

Bourdain also visited the original Side Street Inn on Hopaka St., but I stopped into its outpost on Kapahulu one Monday afternoon only to discover that this is the best place to watch Monday Night Football — at 3 p.m. — especially if you are a Seattle Seahawks fan. A rowdy bunch gathered to watch football over pupu platters of Chinese fare like eggrolls and spare ribs, along with heaping plates of fried rice. I elected to try the Hawaiian take on sliders: Kalua pig sliders with healthy heaps of pulled pork on top of fluffy Chinese buns served with a sweet barbeque sauce. Talk about ono, especially with a lychee martini, my favorite drink in Hawaii next to the mai tai.

Waiola
3113 Mokihana St.

 

Photos: Robin Bennefield

Going for a shave ice is probably the best way to eat like a kamaaina, and some will tell you that the best place to have one in Honolulu is at Waiola just off Kapahulu. A shave ice in Hawaii is not to be confused with Italian ices or snow cones on the mainland. The biggest difference is the powdery ice — the consistency of snow. Hawaiians like to have their shave ice on top of ice cream, azuki beans, a Japanese sweetened bean, or tapioca pearls, and top it with sweetened condensed milk, known as a snowcap. Like most shave ice stands, Waiola offers a rainbow of exotic flavors like lychee, passion fruit, guava and kiwi. Cars cram the few spaces in front of the small store, as brightly colored as its cold cones. Listening to people order here is a little like listening to someone order coffee at Starbucks. There’s definitely a shave ice lingo. I opt for the more tropical flavors — lychee, pineapple and lilikoi, or passion fruit — on top of ice cream with a snowcap.

Leonard’s Bakery
933 Kapahulu Ave.

Photos: Robin Bennefield

I love fried dough of any kind anywhere in the world, so there was no way I was going to pass up a stop at Leonard’s, known for its malasadas. The Portuguese-style warm balls of fried dough are sprinkled with sugar or filled with cream flavors like hanupia, that Hawaiian coconut pudding. Leonard’s first introduced malasadas to Honoluluans in 1952 and they’ve been beloved ever since. The old-school signage and tiny pink interior hint at the sweet yumminess inside. I order 3 malasadas, original white sugar, hanupia-filled and li hing mui sugar, a tangy, salty, sweet dried plum Chinese confection. They make me want to start saying ono instead of yum.

For more, local Hawaiian foodie suggestions, watch Andrew Zimmern turn kaimaaina in tonight’s episode of Bizarre Foods America: Undiscovered Hawaii at 9|8c.

Where’s the best place to practice yoga? Paradise. More specifically, Wanderlust O’ahu, the one-of-a kind festival that features yoga, music, surfing and plenty of Hawaiian culture on the fabled North Shore. Typically a summer festival that’s held in mountain resort areas, Wanderlust kicked off its 2013 season by leaving the mainland for its first-ever beach location in the Aloha state.

photo by Mike Bernard

When I attended my first Wanderlust at Whistler last August, I was immediately hooked on the unique vibe of this festival that combines world-class yogis, outdoor adventure, organic wining and dining and dancing under the stars to crowd-pleasing bands.

But Wanderlust at a more intimate setting on one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches? Mindful-living magic.

Away from the crowds of Waikiki, Wanderlust O’ahu was held at Turtle Bay Resort, an 880-acre paradise that sits on the northernmost tip of the North Shore with 5 miles of remote beachfront. Yogis down-dogged by the crystal blue ocean (or on the ocean if they attempted stand-up paddleboard yoga) with palm trees swaying and 15-foot waves breaking nearby. Hawaiian surf legends Gerry Lopez and Rochelle Ballard taught yoga classes and shared their surf-yoga connection during evening speakeasies. Wanderlust-ers got a taste of Hawaiian culture with surf, ukulele and hula lessons. And every day in paradise was topped off with dancing under the stars – with musical acts like Michael Franti and Friends and ALO.

photo by Ali Kaukas

While every moment at Wanderlust O’ahu felt perfect, my favorite moment had to be the spontaneous “trance dance” party led by yoga goddess Shiva Rea and Wanderlust musical mainstay Michael Franti. Picture over a thousand people jumping and dancing to the infectious beats of Michael Franti under the Hawaiian sunshine (in comfy yoga pants, of course).  Pure happiness.

See Michael Franti lead the dance party in the festival highlights video. Check out images of Wanderlust O’ahu in our slideshow. And get more highlights of the festival in my Postcard From Wanderlust O’ahu.

photo by Kathleen Rellihan

Don’t worry,  there are still many chances to experience Wanderlust this year. It’s just gearing up for its 2013 summer season, with all the mainland events tickets on sale now: Wanderlust Vermont, Jun 20-23; Wanderlust Colorado, July 3-7; Wanderlust California, July 18-21; and Wanderlust Whistler, August 1-4. Don’t miss out on advanced pricing, which ends March 26. Ticket prices will go up, so now is the time to book your Wanderlust adventure. And the earlier you book, the more likely you’ll get into the popular classes, which fill up quickly.

Where will your wanderlust take you this year? I have a feeling mine will take me back to another Wanderlust festival.

By Oyster.com Staff

Maui Hotels

Hawaii’s second-largest island, Maui lives up to its slogan “Maui no ka ‘oi,” meaning “Maui is the best.” Its diverse natural landscape includes the most miles of swimmable beach of any Hawaiian island, the world’s largest dormant volcano, and plenty of activities for outdoor enthusiasts: There’s windsurfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, road and mountain biking, and — along the state’s scenic Hana Highway — hiking trails, waterfalls, natural pools, and remote beaches. Maui is not only for the active and rugged, though; there’s plenty of opportunity for beach-, golf-, pool-, and spa-centric vacations along miles of beachfront development. READ MORE

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