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My favorite part of visiting friends when I travel is getting to jump in and live their lives for a while. When Heather and I went to visit Wim and Dave in Oahu, we got a little taste of what it’s like to live in Hawaii — Dave showed us where he goes surfing in the mornings, while Wim showed us her favorite running path around Diamond Head Crater. We even got to experience their favorite weekend getaway, heading to the North Shore, when Wim’s friend Anna decided to ring in a big birthday with a weekend at a rented house right on the water in La’ie.

Which meant we were taking a road trip!

NorthShore

North Shore Oahu Road TripPhoto by Heather Holt

North Shore
North Shore

As soon as Wim got out of work on Friday afternoon we rushed up the Windward side of the island to arrive before sunset. The rustic beach house reminded me of my beloved Martha’s Vineyard, and could not have had a better location right on the water.

North Shore Oahu House Rental Photo by Heather Holt

The nine of us excitedly picked bedrooms and unloaded our massive rations of food and wine before heading for the beach. It was a windy weekend, not so great for swimming but perfect for the boys to show off their bodyboarding skills.

North Shore Oahu House Rental

North Shore Oahu House RentalPhoto by Heather Holt

North Shore Oahu House RentalPhoto by Heather Holt

There’s something about a beach house that sends me into immediate relaxation mode, and makes things like reading a chapter in a book or taking a catnap seem like big accomplishments.

North Shore Oahu House RentalPhoto by Heather Holt

North Shore Oahu House RentalPhoto by Heather Holt

That night, we celebrated Anna’s birthday with a delicious dinner on the porch followed by alcohol-fueled shenanigans. I’m sorry to say that I was so busy dealing with my hacking issue that I missed all of the bubble fun shown here.

North Shore Oahu House RentalPhoto by Heather Holt

North Shore Oahu House RentalPhoto by Heather Holt

I did make an appearance long enough to get in on a tiny bit of the grown-up sleepover party mischief.

North Shore Oahu House Rental

The next morning, we were off to explore the North Shore! Wim, always the gracious host, tore herself away from the serenity of our lovely beach house to give me and Heather a proper introduction to what may just be Oahu’s most beloved coast.

North Shore OahuPhoto by Heather Holt

Our first stop? Food, of course! The North Shore is famous for the colorful shrimp trucks that line the highway. I might not like seafood, but I loved the murals lining these mobile food machines. I crowned Fumi’s to be the most beautifully painted truck, while Wim and Heather declared Macky’s to have the most delicious tasting shrimp.

North Shore Shrimp TrucksPhoto by Heather Holt

Macky's Shrimp Truck

The perfect complement to paper-plated seafood are the fresh juice stands also found all along the Kamehameha Highway.

North Shore Oahu

North Shore Oahu

For those of you that prefer your meals to be eaten with four walls and a roof over your head, I highly recommend Killer Tacos in Hale’iwa. It’s cheap, it’s local, and it’s delicious!

North Shore Killer Tacos

For once, I tried not to fill up on food. I was saving room for what was quickly becoming my Hawaiian obsession — shave ice. Shave ice is not simply a snow cone. This island delicacy consists of ice grated as fine as snow and drowned in specially made syrups. The flavors range from the traditional — cherry, grape, banana — to the totally local — lilikoi and lychee, for example. Extras include aoki beans or condensed milk drizzled on top, or ice cream stuffed inside the ice. I will tell you that I let very few days pass in Oahu in which I didn’t try a new flavor of shave ice. While I loved banana, I have to say my favorite combination was root beer flavor with ice cream in the middle — A Hawaiian root beer float, if you will.

Matsumoto’s, a tin-roofed general store in Hale’iwa, is the undisputed shave ice king of Oahu with lines reaching around the block in the high season. Granted, I only had to head with shoulder season lines, but I considered it more than worth the wait.

North Shore
North Shore

Matsumoto’s main competitor is the nearby Aoki’s, and in the interest of journalism I decided to try out both (the things I do for you, readers!) Unfortunately the teenagers running the place were surly and they didn’t have biodegradable plastic cones like Matsumoto’s, so I have to give them a thumbs down.

North Shore
North Shore

Snacking isn’t the only thing North Shore is famous for. Thanks to a collection of quirky shops and galleries, Hale’iwa is one of Oahu’s premier shopping destinations. Customers are beckoned into the trendy stores with friendly signs declaring, “Come on in! We are bare feet and shave ice friendly!” It is a testament to the will power I’ve developed that I was able to simply browse with so many locally-made, globally-adorable products lining the shelves.

North Shore Shopping

North Shore Shopping

North Shore
North Shore

North Shore ShoppingPhoto by Heather Holt

North Shore
North Shore

Walking through the galleries filled with art by local artists, I dreamed about buying a beach house just to store all the paintings and sculptures that I was buying in my head.

North Shore
North Shore

When we were able to tear ourselves from charming Hale’iwa town, we set off for the North Shore beaches. In the winter, surfers travel from around the world to catch famous waves like Pipeline and Waimea. At the time it was sill fall, and the water was in transition. Most days it was too rough for swimming and snorkeling, but not yet wild enough to attract the board-toting masses.

North Shore Oahu

North Shore Beach

It breaks my heart to say two of my favorite possessions did not make it home with me from Hawaii. Both the sunglasses and bikini in the following picture are currently missing in action. Anyone who can tell me where to replace these items will be rewarded with one million dollars worth of virtual hugs. Sigh. At least they are memorialized here.

Heart Shaped SunglassesPhoto by Heather Holt

North Shore BeachPhoto by Heather Holt

Eventually it was time to return to our beach house for another round of birthday celebrations, but luckily our North Shore adventure was not over yet. We still had one more day to go — stay tuned!

North Shore Oahu

North Shore Oahu

North Shore Oahu

Have you been to Hawaii’s beautiful North Shore?

Exiting news! This weekend there is a huge 50% off sale on Travel Blog Success, the online course that helped me make Alex in Wanderland what it is today! This program changed the way I looked at travel blogging and helped me move it from a hobby to a business. The member’s group gives me daily inspiration, feedback, and assistance. I couldn’t ask for a better community! Click here and use the code “tbs50” to get your lifetime membership at this never-before-seen low rate!

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9 Comments...
  • Ashley of Ashley Abroad
    November 23 2012

    It looks like you had a great weekend! As always the beauty of Hawaii is inspiring… and now that I know what shave ice is I want to try some.
    Ashley of Ashley Abroad recently posted..My (Very Belated) Seven Super Shots

    • Alex
      November 24 2012

      I try to sample the local desserts wherever I go 🙂

  • What a faaaaabulous weekend! Sorry you lost those sunnies, they were awesome!!!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Southern California Coast: Day 2 (Part 1)

    • Alex
      November 24 2012

      I’m sadder about the bikini 🙁 I’ve been scouring Ebay every few days hoping the top will pop up!

  • Elaine Burr - Gram E
    November 23 2012

    Wow! I think this is your longest posting yet, I love it. I’m looking forward to next month. Gram E

    • Alex
      November 24 2012

      Me too! Very excited now that I have my flight booked. Can’t wait to see ya.

  • Sarah Somewhere
    November 25 2012

    Gorgeous gals! Sorry about your cute sunnies and bikini, they are gorgeous, and I feel your pain 🙁 The images you have of them, however, are stunning, as are all of your Hawaii shots!!!
    Sarah Somewhere recently posted..Using My Imagination in San Cristobal de las Casas

    • Alex
      November 25 2012

      Thank you so much Sarah! Yes, I’m trying to comfort myself that while my cute outfits’ life was short, it was well-documented 🙂

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