Hawaii Destination Wedding

Does your dream destination wedding include Hawaii? Friends recently asked me to recommend Hawaiian tours, resorts, destinations and wedding event planners for their upcoming Hawaiian wedding. We frequently visit the islands and have ideas we can suggest. For our trips, we design our own itinerary then reservations accordingly.

Since we are not familiar with wedding planning, Hawaiian tour planning, resorts and destination weddings, we offered to ask for recommendations.

The couple has a flexible schedule and is looking to tie the knot this fall or winter. The wedding could be in Hawaii or Hawaii may be their honeymoon destination. They would like to have an outdoor wedding. The couple is Catholic though a non-denominational ceremony is acceptable.

The group would like to visit one or two islands during their stay. Several friends and family members will accompany them on their trip. Four star hotels would be appropriate. During their stay, they are interested in activities though like to enjoy relaxing down time too. ATV rides or helicopters sound like fun. An all day hike into Haleakala is more active than they like. Pools and beaches are not a big draw.

They would like someone to arrange the wedding: license, photographer, official, meal, etc.

If you were married in Hawaii: What locations do you recommend? Any words of wisdom to share? I have a photographer lined up for their wedding for Shine Pics, but I’m a little lost on the rest of their requests.

If you are a Hawaii business: What services can you offer or recommend? Resorts, hotels, photographers with large portfolios of stock photos, activities, etc?

Sunrise over Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Sunrise over Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Urasenke Foundation Japanese Tea Ceremony Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

We experienced an authentic Japanese tea ceremony at the Urasenke Foundation in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Urasenke Foundation is nestled away on a side street in Waikiki across from the post office. The foundation teaches the art of tea service at locations around the world. We stopped by for a demonstration of the Japanese thin tea ceremony.

We asked and the foundation requested we not shoot video during our visit.

We were greeted at the door and asked to make a small donation to the foundation before entering into the next room. Here we watched a 25 minute video describing a typical thick tea ceremony. The thick tea ceremony lasts several hours and gave us an understanding of the thin tea demonstration we would participate in.

Next we were guided to a tea room and instructed to remove our shoes before entering. This protects the mats covering the floor.

Our host entered with two other Japanese women all wearing colorful kimonos. Our guide described the tea ceremony and instructed us on how to respond. The host did not speak during our visit. The mood was formal and proper.

The room had a cauldron of boiling water set into a hole in the floor. The host began by serving us delicate cookies with a gingko flower design. The elaborate tea preparation began with powdered tea and a small whisk for each single serving. Our guide instructed us on the proper way to show gratitude when accepting the drink. The cup is turned clockwise twice before drinking. Admiration of the design is important.

After each guest was served, the tea spoon and tea container were passed in turn to each guest to admire.

We asked our guide about the history of the foundation. She told us she was a founding member of this branch over 50 years ago. When I asked how long it took to learn the art of Japanese tea ceremony, she said a lifetime, you never stop learning.

My husband is studying to speak Japanese and the women enjoyed conversing with him in their native tongue.

Urasenke Foundation Japanese Tea Ceremony Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Urasenke Foundation Japanese Tea Ceremony Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Read more about our visit at 808Talk Insiders Guide to Hawaii.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Earth Month Waikiki Aquarium Honolulu

The Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, Hawaii hosted Earth month celebrations on April 10, 2010. Free admission to drew a long line at the 9AM opening. Special interactive educational displays were popular with the keiki. Scientists, educators and volunteers were on hand to talk about sea life, invasive species, conservation and habitats. The messages were conveyed with coloring books, ring toss games and learning puzzles. A seahorse release was a highlight for many attendees.

The Waikiki Aquarium partners with Duke’s Waikiki for educational events.

In addition to the Earth month special events, we visited the ongoing exhibits including Hawaiian monk seal, puffer fish, anemones, and jellyfish. Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii Tours and Hawaii Activities

David Morgan, 6th generation owner, invited us to visit the 4,000 acre Kualoa Ranch cattle ranch and recreation destination.

David is a descendant of Gerrit Judd, who was one of King Kamehameha III cabinet members. Judd purchased the initial land and offshore fishing rights from the king in 1850.

While still an active cattle ranch, the family has diversified operations including vegetable and fruit farming, flower nurseries and producing fish and prawns for local markets. There are a variety of non invasive visitor activities they were happy to show us including hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, concerts, sporting events, education sessions and TV and film production.

After our breakfast orientation meeting, we were off to a tour of the Moli’i fish ponds and gardens. These preserved fish ponds were built 800 years ago using lava rock walls and a series of wooden sluice gates where small fish could enter. Growing as they fed on the alga in the pond, the fish became too large to exit the gates. Photo credit Kualoa Ranch.

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii fishpond tour on 800-year old ancient pond

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii fishpond tour on 800-year old ancient pond

Our next stop was the garden where taro, breadfruit, papaya, jack fruit, banana, pineapple, bamboo, sugar cane, coffee and a rainbow of flowers grew. We stopped near the macadamia nut trees seeking out a few overlooked nuts. The effort to required to crack these shells was impressive. By smashing the nut between two stones we were able to taste a few raw nut meat treats.

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii Stepping in the Footprints from Godzilla’s movie

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii Stepping in the Footprints from Godzilla’s movie

After our stop for the lunch buffet in the main lodge we were off on our next tour. We chose the movie tour which took us out in a scenic part of the ranch valley. Cowboy, our tour guide took us through the former military bunker which has been used to film Lost and now houses movie relics and posters. As we rounded the bend the valley opened up in front of us. Here is were many movies and television shows are shot including Jurassic Park, George of the Jungle, Fifty First Dates. “@nctrlbst @alohayaling @alohabruce and @noelwilliamsinside one of Godzilla’s footprints. Photo credit April M. Williams”

The sites are marked by signs and our guide Cowboy had a story to tell of each one. Photo credit Kualoa Ranch.

Kualoa Ranch is about an hour drive from Honolulu. The ranch offers shuttle service from Waikiki and The Bus route 55 stops at the entrance to the ranch.

Follow Kualoa Ranch on Twitter.

For more information or to make reservations for a day at the ranch call (808) 237-7321 or email activityinfo@kualoa.com.

Watch video of our trip to the fish ponds, gardens and movie location sites.

Oahu Revealed

Oahu Revealed

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

This week we visited Duke’s Waikiki sponsored Reef and Ocean Expo. Ross Anderson, Regional General Manager was inspired to host this event by local fisherman Mac Poepoe who created a sustainable fishing plan for Moloka’i bay. By working with local residents, the retired firefighter created a plan allowing locals to fish and the Bay to replenish.

When we met with Ross on the beach he talked about Mac Poepoe, his passion for the ocean, sea life and his kids. His son Dakota and his schoolmates spent the day helping out and greeting attendees.

Educational displays were set up beach side with a variety of information on ocean life and conservation. We learned about non-native seaweed that raises havoc with our native plants. Volunteer divers put this vegetation from the waters and have disposed of truckloads of these invasive plants.

Ryan, a Waikiki lifeguard was on hand showing jellyfish caught off Waikiki Beach. These ocean critters are abundant in the waters about 10 days after a new moon. According to Ryan, the jellyfish tendrils are covered with thousands of pockets of venom. When swimmers are stung these pockets are transferred to our skin and the pocket opens. Some swimmers feel a faint twinge while others experience a more severe stinging and swelling. Each Waikiki lifeguard station is stocked with vinegar they can spray on victims to prevent the venom pockets from breaking, releasing their toxins. Occasionally, the stings produce an allergic reaction that may become deadly if untreated.

Two artists practiced fish painting called gyotaku. They brushed paint on an octopus then transferred the design onto t-shirts and posters.

If you are in Waikiki, take a break at Duke’s and check out the memorabilia of legendary Duke Kahanamoku. You never know who you might run into while you are there! Follow them on Twitter.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Gyotaku Fish Painting Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Gyotaku Fish Painting Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Ryan shows us jellyfish Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Ryan shows jellyfish found in Waikiki Beach

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saving Falls of Clyde Iron Hulled Tall Ship Honolulu Hawaii

I first heard of and saw the “Falls of Clyde” when we were geocaching on the Honolulu waterfront in February 2009.  Geocaching is treasure hunting with a GPS unit. We found the hidden container and logged cache #GCZ9D4 then toured the Bishop Museum’s Maritime Museum.

The Falls of Clyde is the only surviving iron-hulled four-masted full rigged ship in the world. During our visit to Scottish Fest in Kapiolani Park, Honolulu we met Jeanette Ainlay, one of the Friends of Falls of Clyde. She has volunteered to restore this ship for the past 20 years. The team blogs about their work on the ship.

This summer they plan to move the ship to dry dock for major repairs and rehab. I look forward to seeing her sail again.

Thank you Jeanette and the Friends of Clyde for keeping history alive. Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Profile for Diamond Head

Hawaii Five-0 Television Series Returns to Hawaii

The Hawaii Five-0 television series ran from 1968 to 1980. Filmed in Hawaii, the show featured the fictional Hawaii State Police whose offices were in the Iolani Palace in Honolulu. The show drew an increase in tourists to Hawaii despite the violent crime in each show.

We have been watching the shows newly released on DVD. From the pilot show through season 7 we watched the cast and landscape of Hawaii change. Waikiki, Diamond Head and Honolulu look very different now though the Kahala Inn looks much the same.  The most fun is to see the places we visit when we are on island.

Over the years a series revival has been discussed. So far, no solid announcements have been made.

What stories do you have about the Hawaii Five-0 show, cast, crew or location? Log in a share your tales. Book ’em, Danno!

Noel Williams & Jack Lord

Noel Williams & Jack Lord

Hawaii Five-0 Book Em Chin Ho Honolulu Hawaii

We stopped by Diamond Head Memorial Park to pay our respects to Kam Fong who played Chin Ho Kelly on Hawaii Five-0. The cemetery sits at the base of Diamond Head and next to Kapiolani Community College.

The head stone appeared milky colored and hard to read as the morning dew clung to the inside of the plexiglass shield protecting the etching. The Hawaii Five-0 logo is engraved on the right side of the headstone.

While Kam Fong was perhaps best known for his appearance on Hawaii Five-0, his movie credits include “Gidget Goes Hawaiian,” “Ghost of the China Sea,” “Seven Women from Hell,” and “Diamond Head.”

We are excited to hear CBS is reviving and updating the Hawaii Five-0 series with Alex O’Loughlin as
Steve McGarrett, Scott Caan as Danny “Danno” Williams, Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly and Grace Park
as Kono Kalakaua. Book ’em, Danno!

Here is a video of our visit to Kam Fong’s grave at Diamond Head Memorial Park.

A Handsome Devil Made Me Do It

I just got a tweet from my buddy the Travelocity Roaming Gnome who said “@AprilMWilliams: Let’s have a peek at the photos! I can only imagine I look stunningly handsome.”

Well of course the Roaming Gnome is handsome and dashing. And I have photos to prove it.

While I posted the photos on my Twitter feed and often use this photo in my presentations as an excellent example of building relationships with customers, I did not post the photo to my blog. So I am fixing this today.

On a recent trip to Hawaii Nathan Kam @NathanKam let us in on a inside scoop. We took advantage of this photo op during the gnome’s busy and adventure packed visit to Hawaii. We snapped this shot at Duke’s Waikiki Restaurant & Barefoot Bar at the Outrigger Hotel Waikiki. He has a bit of a tan from all the surfing he did the day before. Fortunately, he was slathered in maximum sun screen protection.

Here’s the Roaming Gnome and I enjoying breakfast overlooking Waikiki Beach. Aloha!

Travelocity Roaming Gnome and April M. Williams at Duke's in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Travelocity Roaming Gnome and April M. Williams at Duke’s in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Eating Cookies with Wally Amos In Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Recently we were in Royal Hawaiian Shopping Centre in Waikiki, Honolulu visiting with our friend Wally Amos in his Chip and Cookie store and talking with customers about their favorite flavors. All five flavors of cookies he bakes are yummy and we had a hard time choosing our favorite.

Top votes went to Chocolate Chip with Macadamia Nuts. Here’s how the people voted. What is your favorite?

Chip & Cookie on Urbanspoon

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