In 2012 the Ranting Wife and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. In order to mark such a milestone, we decided to take a big trip. Where should we go? As I had quite a few airline miles gathering dust, we decided to burn them all and plan a trip to Hawaii.
The first thing we had to decide was which and how many islands we were going to visit. In order to do that we had to decide what we wanted to see and do in Hawaii. Our list was:
- Beach – While Ohio has beaches on Lake Erie, they just don’t compare!
- Volcano – With the most active volcano on the planet, we knew it was a can’t miss site.
- Tropical rainforest – It was time for a change from the tall oaks and pines of northern Ohio.
- Snorkeling – See beach
- Sunsets over the water – So we needed to spend some time on the west coast of the islands
- Drinks with little umbrellas – I could get these in Ohio, but it seems a little silly having one unless you are looking out over an ocean.
- Famous Sites – The Pearl Harbor Memorial led the list.
We looked at our time (one week) and budget (not big) and decided that we didn’t want to spend time sitting in airports or spend money to do island hopping so we settled on the idea of one island. That decision led us to the Big Island of Hawaii. Scratch off the Pearl Harbor sites from our list. After many nights of research, we found not one, but three places to stay when we were on the island, each bringing its own unique activities.
The first place we stayed was the Volcano Rainforest Retreat (VRR). Located in the town of Volcano and very close to Volcanoes National Park, the VRR has a set of four individual cottages set deep into lush vegetation. Ours was the Sanctuary, which is a glass walled octagon surrounded by ferns, palms and flowers. With almost all sides being glass, it was almost like camping outside without having to suffer the daily rain shower. The sanctuary also has an outdoor wooden tub and shower. The more modest could pull down shades around the shower but as you could barely see any other structures, it was pretty remote. This place was beautiful, quiet, relaxing and provided a great jumping off point for seeing the volcanoes.
The second place was on the western side of the island and on the Kohala coast. The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel (HPBH) is located on (duh) Hapuna Beach, generally regarded as one of the nicest beaches in all of the islands. In fact it was named the Best Beach in America in 1993 by Dr. Beach (Florida International University Professor Stephen Leatherman). Driving up to the HPBH, we knew we found quite a place. Manicured lawns and intricate attention to detail gave us an idea that this was someplace special. Walking into the lobby removed any doubt. What looks somewhat less impressive from the drive up to the hotel, instantly changes. As the hotel cascades down four additional stories to the beach from the lobby level (and a few above), it is a much bigger place than we thought at first. Also, the lobby is missing a wall. The entire wall that faces the water is not there. No panes of glass that cause a glare during sunset, just nothing there. Oh and that wall is missing for six stories leaving an opening that seems as large as a football field. The hotel was beautiful and had lots of amenities, and the beach was perfect. There was soft white sand, waves to body surf and coves for snorkeling on one side and a beach chair and sun umbrella on the other.
The last place we stayed was just up the hill from Hilo at a place called The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls. Located on a beautiful property, surrounded by macadamia nut groves, it looks out over the city and the bay. The big draw to this bed and breakfast is the falls. On the property is a huge waterfall that falls into a natural pool before continuing down the river eventually out to the sea. On most days you can swim in the pool, even straying near the waterfall (they warn you about the potential for falling rocks). What pacific island adventure would be complete without swimming in a waterfall filled pool?
If you are lucky enough to travel to the big island, I would heartily recommend all three locations.
This burger makes a valiant effort to bring tropical flavors to the plate.
I will often make this with a pineapple but decided to take a shortcut with the canned rings.
I filled my grill with all of the components at once!
Hawaiian Turkey Burgers
Prep Time: 0 hr 0 min | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Makes: 1 serving | Difficulty: Easy
- 11/3 lbs ground meat (turkey or chicken work best)
- 1 cup teriyaki marinade (thick)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 4 pineapple rings
- Hamburger buns
Oil grill and heat to medium.
Slice red onion into slices thick enough to hold up on the grill but no thicker. Core the red pepper and remove seeds and cut into four pieces.
Form meat into four patties and place on the grill. Add onion, red pepper and pineapple to grill.
Grill burgers until done, pasting with the marinade only on the last minute (each side). Grill onion, pepper and pineapple until done.
Place burger on bun, top with pineapple ring, onion and pepper.