Tag Archives: Vacation

That’s It, I’m Moving To Hawaii!

I’ve been back for a few weeks now but I’ve been super busy with getting back to work, watching the Orioles in the playoffs and attending New York Comic Con over the weekend! I feel like I’ve been on the go since vacation! But I’m back and ready to share some photos and stories!

We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and it was amazing! You didn’t even need to leave the resort if you didn’t want to. You could do everything there. It’s right on the beach, they have numerous pools and bars, a lagoon and tons of activities! The grounds are beautiful as well. When we arrived we had a “resort view” room but we were upgraded for no extra cost to a “partial ocean view” and it was perfect! We could watch the sunset every night and could watch people have fun at the lagoon. Here’s a few pictures of the resort and our view.

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The first few days we didn’t do too much. We would wake up early, around 5am, because of the huge time difference and by 7am we were on the beach. We’d spend a few hours there and afterwards hit up one of the bars and have a Hawaii Five-0 drink. I highly recommend it! We had a beautiful view of Diamond Head from the beach and even saw a rainbow our first full day there!

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On Thursday we attended the Paradise Cove Luau. I actually happened to be sick that day with what we think was food poisoning but I still went and had a good time. I didn’t get to each too much of the food which pissed me off but the entertainment and location made up for it. The dancers were great and the music reminded you that yes, you were in paradise.

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Later in the week we did a Catamaran ride that was really fun and offered cheap booze. We had some interesting people on board, like the married women that were inviting the crew to go to a strip club with them that evening. Oh and they had their kids with them. No idea what they were planning to do with the rug rats.

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Of course when you’re on Oahu, you have to visit Pearl Harbor. We booked a tour that took us to Pearl Harbor, The USS Missouri and The Punch Bowl Cemetery. I’m really glad we went with a tour because the last thing I want to do on vacation is drive around an unknown city. I’d much rather pay someone else to do it. I really don’t know how to put the visit into words. It feels weird to say “amazing” as it was a very sombering visit. The new welcome center is really well put together and the artifacts and interviews they have really hit home. Even if you aren’t into history, you have to visit.

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The USS Missouri was awesome to see in person. I have a thing for taking tours of ships. I think maybe I was a sailor in a past life or something. The entire deck is made of teak and the ship has been in episodes of “Hawaii Five-0″ and that amazing movie “Battleship.”

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You’ll notice in the last picture how her guns are facing the USS Arizona. That’s because she guards her. They’ll never move those guns.

Another fun tour we took was the KOS Movie/TV tour. Mel and I are big movie and TV people and that’s why this was the first thing we booked after booking our vacation. We got to see where movies like “Jurassic Park” and “Pearl Harbor” filmed as well as where “Hawaii Five-0″ and “LOST” filmed as well. We were lucky enough to see them setting up an outdoor set for the new ABC show “Last Resort.” We missed filming by one day but it was still neat to see.

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I highly recommend this tour. It was a great way to see other parts of the island and it was just four of us altogether! Not only did our tour guide point out locations but he had pictures and video as well to show exactly what happened in each spot. Plus he was more than happy to take pictures for us and even had some awesome props for us to use!

Another location you have to visit is the ‘Iolani Palace.

Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy, is a marvel of opulence, innovation, and political intrigue. Meticulously restored to its former grandeur, this National Historic Landmark in downtown Honolulu tells of a time when their Majesties, King Kal?kaua, who built it in 1882, and his sister and successor, Queen Lili‘uokalani, walked its celebrated halls.

We lucked out and were able to go on “Boat Day.” Those are held on certain Sunday’s that way cruise ship passengers have the chance to visit. The details in this place are amazing. You really can’t put into words. We actually had to wear little booties over our shoes to protect the floors. I’m glad it was just us and a few other people because it gave us the chance to take our time and just look around.

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Obviously it was an amazing time and I have no idea why in the hell I came back home. I was really tempted to just miss the bus back to the airport. Something really moving did happen on our flight home though. A USMC Captain was onboard to escort seven fallen Airmen. I know what you’re thinking, from Iraq or the Middle East. Nope. They went down in the Pacific in 1944 and were finally recovered and ID’d. They were on their way to Arlington to finally be laid to rest. I hope that their families finally have some closure.

Anyway, here are some more photos and you can find all of them here.

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Oh and if you do watch “Hawaii Five-0″ these locations should be really familiar:

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1st Piece Of Hawaii Business Handled!

When my friend and I first booked our Hawaii trip, we almost went overboard with booking things and making plans. We took a step back though and said we’d only book two items in advance. We picked the two we thought might sell out before we make it to the Island. Well, today we booked our first one!

We’ll be attending a Luau at Paradise Cove and we can’t wait! It wasn’t easy picking one, even when using TripAdvisor. Everyone has an opinion and you can’t please everyone. That’s why I always take reviews with a grain of salt. I won’t lie though, one thing that pushed me towards this one was the fact it was on “Hawaii Five-0″ once. Of course the killer worked there but whatever. It’ll make it more exciting! They offer a ton of packages though and we went with the Orchid Luau Buffet. Sounds nice right? This is what we get:

• Round Trip Transportation from Waikiki
• Fresh Flower Lei Greeting upon Arrival
• Mai Tai Greeting Plus Two (2) Premium Drink Tickets
• Orchid Luau Seating
• Hawaiian Luau Buffet Menu
• Arts & Crafts Demonstrations
• Games of Skill and Daring in the Hawaiian Village
• Shower of Flowers
• Hukilau on the Beach
• Royal Court
• Imu Ceremony
• The Paradise Cove Extravaganza

Two free drinks you say? Yes please! The nice thing is the fact it includes transportation. We don’t plan on renting a car (we might for a day, not 100% yet). It turns out most of the tours out there include transportation options which is awesome. Another reason we picked this option instead of the cheaper package is because the seating is better with this one. It’s our first (and probably only) Luau and we want to be able to see and enjoy everything.

I can’t wait for this trip. I know it’ll be here before we know it!

Hawaii Flight Change

Friday I sent an email to my Travel Agent to put down another payment on my September trip to Hawaii. It’s awesome being able to make payments. It takes a load of stress off! She sent an email back explaining that American Airlines no longer offers the non-stop from O Hare to Honolulu! I had to pick from two new flights. It was a no brainer about which one to pick. The one flight wouldn’t get us there until almost 8pm! Obviously I picked the flight that has us landing around 2:30pm. Our outbound flight changed as well but now we have an extra three hours to spend on our last day there. Luckily, since we’ve already booked everything and made payments (my friend has her part of the trip paid off) the prices of the flights are locked in. We’re extremely lucky because the flights went up $500 each! Can you believe that? It just goes to show when you find a great deal, jump on it. Even if it’s months ahead of your trip, do it.

I will add I’m not 100% shocked there was a change. When booking a flight that far in advance, there’s always a chance the time might change or something small. I am surprised that the whole leg was canned though. To be fair, it’s not just my flight but all non-stops to Honolulu from Chicago. Interesting, eh?

Oh Hey 2011 Travel Bug!

I can’t believe 2012 is almost here! It’s kinda scary to think about. To be honest, I’m still waiting for the flying cars to show up.

I didn’t do too much traveling this year but I did enough. I checked out Nashville for the first time while visiting a friend and had a blast! I have always wanted to check it out and I’m glad I did. I already want to go back! I checked out the Bluebird Cafe where stars like Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood performed. It’s a great little place and if you find yourself in Nashville I recommend checking it out. It’s a very intimate music venue with a great crowd and even better talent. Of course you can’t go to Nashville without checking out The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum! I love country music and I loved this stop. The amount of history they have on display is out of this world. They even have more in storage! You could easily spend a whole weekend here. Again, another Nashville must see. While you’re checking out the Hall of Fame, be sure to look into taking the RCA Studio B tour. Why? Believe ir or not, over 35,000 songs were recorded there over the years. If you’re an Elvis fan, over 200 of those songs were his! We even had the chance to sit at a piano that Elvis had used. The Studio is very small and the tour isn’t too long but if you love music add it to your “To Do” list! Some other stops I made included The Ryman, Jack’s Bar-B-Que, Hatch Show Print and numerous cowboy boot shops. It’s a good thing I’m not rich or I would’ve had to ship numerous pairs back home.

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I’d have to say one of the highlights though was staying a night at The Gaylord Opryland. It. Was. Amazing. The place is huge! You don’t even need to leave! They have numerous shops, pools and restaurants. Hell, they even have a little boat ride! The staff was beyond nice as well. Even if you don’t want to stay there, I recommend just going to see it. The inside gardens are beautiful. Actually, it’s just beautiful period. I know during the Holidays they have different events going on. If you’re in the Nashville area you should check it out for sure!

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Another trip I made was back out to San Diego for San Diego Comic Con. I managed to snag a room at the amazing Hotel Solmar. It’s a little on the pricey end but if you can stay here, do it. You’ll be within walking distance of pretty much the entire Gaslamp area. We were there for a week without a car and had no problems getting around. We took a cab a few times (It was no more than $5) and took the bus to the San Diego Zoo. OMG. The Zoo. Amazing. The first time we went to San Diego we didn’t check the Zoo out but I’m so happy we did the second time around. It’s huge! Seriously, be prepared to walk all day. The amount of exhibits and animals they have is great. It makes my local zoo look pretty sad to be honest. Now I understand why everyone says it’s a “Must See.” As far as sights go, that’s all we really checked out. We were in town for the convention which didn’t leave much time for anything. I love San Diego though, especially the weather! I need to get back there for a “normal” vacation where I have the time to see the beach and other sights. SDCC was awesome though as I got to meet a bunch of celebs and feel like the “cool kid” for once.

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Earlier in the year I did something more local and headed up to Gettysburg with the BFF who was in town from Chicago for a visit. It was my first time there, shocking I know. We barely scrapped the surface on this visit. I had no idea how large the area was! We did go on a Ghost Tour later in the evening which was really informative and fun. I love going on Ghost Tours. It’s my “thing” when I go on vacations. That and taking boat tours. What can I say, bitches love boats & ghosts. While on the tour we were able to check out a location that had been seen on “Paranormal State” which was pretty neat. I tell you what though, there’s a million and one ghost tours up there. It’s not surprising really given the area but it was still nuts to see. Which one did we go on? Miss Betty’s! She’s a great story teller and really gets into character. If you find yourself in the area be sure to check her out. It’s worth the money and the time. Instead of staying at a hotel, we opted for a Bed & Breakfast. It was the first time for both of us and it was lovely! The hosts were very nice and sweet. I would definitely stay at a B&B again. Plus the food was off the chain.

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I guess 2011 wasn’t that bad for traveling after all! Plus I still have my New Years Eve trip to Chicago coming up too. I did make it to NYC and Philly too but those weren’t anything special. I’ll touch more on them in my Comic Con’s of 2011 post, if I ever finish it!