As Nick and I got ready to leave Hawaii, lots of people asked me if I was devastated to leave and kept reminding me how hard it would be to the mainland in the dead of winter. I was sad to leave and I sure don’t like being cold, but more than that, I was grateful for the time we had in Hawaii. I know how lucky Nick and I were for the chance to live here for a few years. I cherished every moment that we had, and I know that those memories will carry me through deployments and other hard times as Nick gets ready for bigger and harder things in his career.
The first thing we did after we received the news that we had three months left in paradise was to make a list of things we wanted to do before we left. As we rushed around over the next two months to pack up our things and coordinate our transoceanic move, we made time to continue exploring our island home and go back to all of our favorite places.
We decided to spend our last weekend in Hawaii the best way possible – with cocktails and books on the beach at Turtle Bay Resort. We had gone there for our first wedding anniversary and we had been dying to get back every since. Hidden away on the North Shore of Oahu, Turtle Bay is quiet and surrounded by so much beauty.
As I reminded Nick daily (and anyone else who would listen), moving is one of the most stressful life events. And we have to do this every couple of years. I was determined to get everything done for our move a few days before we had to leave. I wanted one last weekend in Hawaii to relax without worrying about movers, arrangements, cleaning our apartment, or anything else. I wanted our last days in Hawaii to be special.
We spent five beautiful days at Turtle Bay. This was the incredible view from our room.
I could have spent our entire stay lounging on those chairs looking out at this view. But Nick and I had important things to do. We read books, sat in the sun, walked on the beach, ate whatever food we felt like eating, and went swimming. We went out into town to get some of our favorite foods and visit a few of our favorite beaches one last time. We watched the sunset and drank wine.
I went on a personal mission to try as many different tropical cocktails as possible. I did very well.
We went to two of Turtle Bay’s best restaurants. First up was the North Shore Kula Grill, a farm-to-table restaurant. We ate an appetizer consisting only of mushrooms and potatoes, followed by fish and one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, the “Kula Bomb.”
It did not go unnoticed that this dessert was also available to order for room service.
Nick claims he’s not into sweets, but this picture susggests otherwise…
Nick’s birthday fell during this weekend, so we had a double celebration the entire time we were at Turtle Bay. That meant double cocktails and double dessert. For his birthday, we went to one of our favorite places on the island, which also happens to be right at Turtle Bay – Pa’akai.
This bread, butter, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and garlic platter alone makes this restaurant worth the trip. You better believe I put whole garlic cloves on top of my bread. Poor Nick!
We ordered a salt block with fish, steak, and veggies. We got to cook our food right on top of the salt block!
I had this iced seafood platter with Ahi sashimi, hamachi sashimi, king crab, clams, Kauai shrimp, and Ahi poke, with four different sauces to dip them all in. That is pretty much a perfect meal for me. It was meant for two people but I am proud to report that I ate it all by myself. Because why not? What else are you going to eat during your last weekend in Hawaii?
On our last morning in Hawaii, Nick had to check out of his command. While he did that, I went to a yoga class. Afterwards, Nick surprised me with a beachside massage in this little hut! Only Nick would be thinking about giving me a surprise on his own birthday.
That little brown hut was where I had my massage. I could hear the ocean as I felt so relaxed. It was dreamy!
After my massage, I met Nick for a quick last cup of coffee on the beach before heading to the airport. Our carts were piled so high with our luggage that I couldn’t even see where I was going. I salute all of the military families out there who do this with children.
I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Hawaii. I have lots to write about that and about what Hawaii means to me. But in that moment, as Nick and I drove to the airport and got on the plane, I couldn’t be too sad. Hawaii gave me so much. And, we were on the way to see Nick’s sister in Denmark and then to spend Christmas in New York with my family. How could I have been anything but thankful?