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Laureen

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

    British Author and Comedian Richard Osman is the creator of The Thursday Murder Club book series. The Man Who Died Twice is second of the series, but you don’t need to have read previous book to enjoy this fun novel. Here is my book review The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.

    A group of retirees, and long-time friends, who at first blush seem a bit of a misfit bumbling group are actually the heroes of this book. Unassuming solvers of murders all.

    Osman introduces us to Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim who are trying to quietly enjoy their later years at the Cooper’s Chase retirement village. But this eclectic cast of characters can’t seem to keep out of the murder-solving world, along with their close friends from the local police.

    A rollicking set of circumstances keeps the plot moving forward as reserved yet brilliant Elizabeth and demure but observant Joyce lead the charge to find the murderer…and as more murder victims are discovered Ron goes undercover. Meanwhile is a violent attack on Ibrahim part of the murder plot?

    Questions are numerous, diamonds are missing, people are dead and suspects are numerous. The Thursday Murder Club to the rescue.

    Light, fun and simple read everyone will enjoy. Thanks for reading my book review The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.

    ****Four stars for The Man Who Died Twice.

    See last week’s book review Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.

    We love it when you pin and share our book reviews.

    Island Life  --  North America Travel

    Maui New Discoveries

    Location: Maui Hawaii USA

    Well I just spent two months on the island of Maui. Despite the fact I have visited this island at least a dozen times, every visit I find Maui New Discoveries. So in today’s post let me tell you my latest fun and fabulous Maui New Discoveries.

    Beautiful Maui Sunrise

    Activities

    Surfing Goat Dairy Tour – What a fun and delicious place…celebrating 20 years already and I’m not sure why I’ve never been here. We did a tour and added the tasting and also came home with some yummy cheese to enjoy. Highly recommend!

    Surfing Goat Dairy

    Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm – Another Kula discovery this beautiful and very large lavender farm includes a nice Botanical Garden with a wonderful variety of protea. A small gift shop provides lot’s of ideas for gifts for people back home. Reasonable $3 entrance fee.

    Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

    Pro Arts Playhouse – This tiny theater is home to great local music and we had a wonderful evening enjoying the music of Maui’s own John Cruz. What a wonderful venue this is, and seeing John Cruz perform up close and personal was outstanding. We loved it so much we went a again a few weeks later and enjoyed a fantastic production of A Christmas Carol. This is a true hidden gem in Kihei.

    John Cruz at Pro Art Playhouse

    Maui Pacific Outrigger Tour – I really enjoyed my first time in an outrigger with Maui Pacific Outrigger Tours. We saw some turtles and learned some island history in Wailea just as the sun rose.

    Maui Pacific Outrigger Tours

    Maui Animal Farm – Something completely different, especially if you are traveling with kids is the Maui Animal Farm where you can feed rabbits and giant tortoises, pet goats and learn some island history. The mission of Maui Animal Farm is to share our love through experience and education of animals and their importance to the culture, history, and agriculture of Hawaii. Support them with a visit when next you are in Lahaina.

    Maui Animal Farm

    Makai Glass Fine Art Gallery and Glass Blowing – we stumbled on this place when we were headed to Hali’imaile Distillery (see below). It’s right next door and very much worth a visit. Watching the artisan glass blowers create amazing works of art was a highlight.

    Glass Blowing at Makai Gallery

    Hali’imaile Distillery – We ended up having a private tour here which was lovely because we could ask lots of questions about this wonderful little distillery that uses local pineapple juice in most of it’s products. Dan our guide was informative and we learned a lot. And then we had a small tasting of three of their products. Their products are also available on the mainland.

    Hali’imaile Distillery

    Keawala’i Historic Church – I have always wanted to attend a service at this beautiful, waterfront, 200-year-old church in Makena. So we finally did. A very lovely service done partially in Hawaiian with lots of lovely music and a welcoming and sincere congregation. Visitors welcome.

    Keawala’i Congregational Church

    Restaurants

    Alchemy – Last year when we were in Maui we didn’t make it to this hidden casual restaurant so I was determined to this year. Wow. Not in the main tourist area but in an industrial area above Lahaina it is worth searching out. Delicious and unique sandwiches, tacos, and salads.

    Alchemy Bistro

    Ka’ana Kitchen – I’m not sure how it is I never enjoyed this amazing Wailea restaurant – and now we will be back for sure. Excellent food and view. We loved the watermelon salad, octopus salad and the clams.

    Ka’ana Kitchen

    Merriman’s – This impeccable restaurant has been nearly impossible to get into the last few years due to Covid restrictions, so I was thrilled to get a reservation to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. The Prix Fixe menu for $120 each is worth every penny and the service…perfection.

    Celebrating at Merrimans

    Ohana Seafood Bar and Grill– casual and affordable I’ve driven by this place a hundred times but never ate there. It’s a great spot for local and inexpensive food with a great happy hour too. Try the calimari.

    Ohana

    Food Trucks – we aren’t Costco members so I never spent time in this neighborhood but low and behold there are some excellent food trucks right across the street to Costco. A wide selection.

    We also discovered the food truck court tucked behind the Azeka Shopping Center called Kihei Station Food Trucks. And it’s here I had my first over coconut ice cream boa bun. Wow!

    Food Trucks
    Food Trucks

    Halli’imaile General Store – I have no idea how I have missed dining at this place in all my visits to Maui. Chef Bev Gannon’s amazing menu, in a historic upcountry building with impeccable service. I highly recommend it.

    Hali’imaile General Store

    Gannons – Also by Chef Bev Gannon (see above) the patio at Gannons in Wailea has an incredible view. I highly recommend the awesome happy hour.

    The view from Gannons

    Shops

    Lena’s Salon and Spa in Kihei- arriving in Maui this year I found the place I’ve been going to for nails and spa services for the past few years closed. So I searched out a new place. Lena’s is a great for nails and hair (I did both) and is also home to Beautiful Skin Wailea and Jessica, who has moved over from the other place. I love the care I got here from everyone! Top Notch.

    Pedicure from Lena’s

    The Maui Cookie Lab – usually in South Maui look for the Cookie Ladies darling pink trailer and stop to get AT LEAST a half dozen of these delectable treats. My favorite is the coconut macaroon cookies. OMG.

    Origins Coffee and Maui Cookie Lab

    Origins Coffee – Locally roasted and full of flavor Origins is the islands most awarded coffee roaster. Roasting and a shop in Kihei.

    Kula Country Farm

    Kula Country Farm – A wonderful place to stop for a coffee, fresh produce, plants and other island specialties when in beautiful Kula. Monthly market featuring local artisans.

    Tea Tasting at Maui Tea Farm

    Maui Tea Farm – Stop when in Kula for a tea tasting and bring home some locally grown tea or coffee.

    Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods – right in Kihei with great produce as well as a small selection of groceries. Hawaiian Moons offers small grocery option for Kihei guests as well as a delicious organic foods deli. Definitely worth a visit.

    Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods in Kihei

    Still Learning Maui New Discoveries

    So you can teach an old dog new tricks! There is so much to enjoy on this piece of paradise, I hope you find what you love on the island of Maui.

    Celebrating Maui

    Read last week’s blog Traveling Deeper – Finding the Real Maui Hawaii

    You might also enjoy Maui Top Five Things to Do and Six Great Hikes on the Island of Maui.

    Be sure and check back next Friday for our updated list of Maui Best Restaurants 2022 .

    We love it when you pin and share our blog posts. Thank you. Mahalo!

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

    One of America’s greatest and most prolific modern day authors, Kingsolver brings to us another masterpiece. I loved her work in Unsheltered and in Flight Behavior, but my all-time favorite is The Poisonwood Bible. Even at 20 years old it’s still very readable and if you haven’t read it you should. But her latest work is really remarkable…here is my book review Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.

    I’m actually struggling a bit to write this review. This book was disturbing in many ways…for it’s gritty and real portrayal of drug addiction in the United States…specifically in the mountains of southern Appalachia.

    Kingsolver

    Apparently Kingsolver used David Copperfield as inspiration of this novel…but it wasn’t something that came through strongly for me as a reader. What did come through though is Kingsolver’s incredible talent for descriptive narrative, palpable and often painful. There was one passage in this book that I had to set the book down and take a minute it was so real and alarming to read.

    But don’t let me scare you away…because this is a must read. It’s deep, factual and substantive.

    Meet Damon

    Damon is our narrator, only eleven when we meet him, dealing with a single mother who is addicted. Damon has faced things in his short life most of us will never deal with; addiction, starvation, neglect, abuse and violence. There are very few stable adults in his life…not even the Department of Social Services representative cares about him.

    As Damon bounces around several unsavory, neglectful and dilapidated foster care homes, he dreams of being an artist. A dream so far beyond his reach he can’t even imagine getting there. Penny less, homeless, motherless – Damon encounters a variety of distrustful characters and only has a tiny handful of friends.

    When he finally finds his Grandmother she will get him set up in a foster care home that seems stable on the outside. This is when Damon will become a football star, loose it all when injured, get addicted to opioid painkillers, fall in love with an addict and spiral totally out of control.

    A Cry for Help

    How can so many horrible things happen to one child? It’s a eye-opening testament to our underfunded welfare, child and social services system not to mention the deep prejudice and misunderstanding of the rural region of southern Appalachia. But don’t fret. Damon “Demon” will get his shit together and you will be astonished at how this book unfolds. A new American Masterpiece with a message we all need to hear. Thank you for reading my book review Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.

    See last week’s book review The Book of Goose by Yiyun Lee

    We love it when you pin and share our book reviews. Thank you.

    Island Life  --  North America Travel

    Traveling Deeper – Finding the Real Maui Hawaii

    Location: Maui Hawaii USA

    Enjoy this one again or for the very first time. Originally published November 2021.

    During our recent two months on the beautiful island of Maui we set out to explore the island more deeply; to learn more about the local efforts to sustain, preserve and protect. Below we suggest some of the ways we found to experience the island more profoundly. Traveling Deeper Finding the Real Maui Hawaii.

    La Perouse Hooapli Trail

    If you visit Maui, I’m sure your primary goal is to lay on the beach or by the pool and relax. But I implore you to take some time to learn a bit about the native people, the wildlife on both land and sea, the plants and geology and the history. Because you really need to make the effort – unlike many places we have traveled, these things aren’t necessarily glaringly in your face. It’s unfortunate because although a luau is nice, a more authentic option to learn about the ancient Hawaiian people would be my preference. You must go in search of the real Hawaii if you hope to respectfully show your appreciation to this fragile island by finding the real Maui Hawaii.

    Below is a list of interesting things we did for the first time during our most recent visit to Maui. Even if you only do one or two of these things, your eyes will be opened. You will learn about the delicate ecosystem and sacred legends of this island.

    Wildlife

    Kealia Pond Wildlife Preserve – is a National Wildlife Preserve operated by the National Wildlife Service. A boardwalk provides people of all abilities to view the preserve and pond, birds and wildlife as well as the well presented interpretive signage.

    Kealia Pond Wildlife Preserve

    Maui Ocean Center – The Maui Ocean Center and Aquarium is a wonderful way to learn about the sea life of the ocean surrounding Maui. And a brand new incredible 3D movie called Humpbacks of Hawaii will just blow your mind. Worth every penny.

    Maui Ocean Center

    Hawaii Wildlife Discovery Center – This brand new exhibit in Whaler’s Village Kaanapali is designed to help visitors understand and respect the local wildlife as well as the local Hawaiian native people’s connection to the land and the sea. Many hands-on displays for the keiki too. Great for the whole family.

    Hawaii Wildlife Discovery Center

    Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary – The mystery and intrigue of the humpback whale is one of the most amazing things about the waters that lie between Maui, Lanai and Molokai. From November to May these gentle giants return each year to mate. There are many whale watching tours available as well as many onshore spots to watch these magnificent creatures.

    Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary

    Geology

    Kapalua Coastal Trail – one of the best and most accessible hikes on the island takes you through a magnificent lava flow in West Maui. Here you will also see the delicate nesting sites of the Shearwater Birds. Often you can witness whales, dolphins and turtles from the high cliffs.

    Kapalua Coastal Trail

    La Perouse Bay and Trail – visit this remarkable place to view Haleakala’s fury in it’s last eruption in 1790. The miles and miles of beautiful lava can be traversed on the old Kings Highway trail and you will have beautiful views of the Big Island to the South.

    La Perouse Bay and Trail

    Haleakala – Haleakala is sacred to the Hawaiian people both in ancient times and today. This incredible landscape is a National Park and there are many trails to enjoy and the views are spectacular. The NPS cares for this fragile space and the endangered species that are found only here.

    Haleakala Endangered Silver Sword

    Indigenous Plants

    Maui Nui Botanical Gardens – Dedicated to the conservation of the native plants of the island, you will be astonished to learn how many plants you think are native to Hawaii are not. The island plants that the ancient Hawaiians used for food and medicinal purposes are quite different than some of the flowering beauties you see all over the islands today. The gardens are small and not perfectly kept, but still very interesting.

    Maui Nui Botanical Gardens

    Eating Local

    O’O Farm – one of my all time favorite experiences on Maui. This fantastic organic sustainable farm is astonishing in the beautiful upcountry area of Kula. Morning tours with breakfast and coffee or lunch tours are available. You will enjoy food that is 100% grown and cultivated on Maui. O’o Farm is one of several local efforts underway on the island to provide restaurants fresh, organic and locally grown produce. Now that there is no sugar cane grown on Maui, the land is slowly being cultivated with new crops including citrus, coffee, avocados and more. Definitely visit O’O Farm. We loved it and learned so much.

    One of five courses at O’O Farm

    Travel Deeper Finding the Real Maui Hawaii

    Whether you are visiting Maui or any other place on this amazing planet, traveling deeper is a way to really experience the land, the sea and the people and culture. We enjoy finding ways in all of our destinations to celebrate the diversity of our world by experiencing food, culture, history and nature. Give it a try the next time you visit Maui. Traveling Deeper Finding the Real Maui Hawaii.

    See our post Maui Top Five Things to Do here.

    See last week’s post Six Great Hikes on the Island of Maui here.

    We love it when you pin and share our blog posts. Mahalo.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Book of Goose by Yiyun Lee

    Fabienne and Agnes are best friends growing up in a provincial French village during the post war WWII. Poor beyond words, both girls cling to each other for the affection neither get at home. But life is about to take a big twist, and neither girl will ever be the same. Here is my Book Review The Book of Goose by Yiyun Lee.

    Agnes can’t imagine her life without Fabienne, she is everything to Agnes. While Agnes’ parents are preoccupied with her dying brother Jean, Agnes hangs on Fabienne’s every word.

    Fabienne has her own troubles at home, with a drunken father and brothers who expect her to cook and clean, she finds solace in fantasy stories she creates. But Fabienne is also manipulative, demanding and often rude to Agnes…while Agnes does anything Fabienne wants to please her.

    But when Fabienne hatches a plan to write a book and say that Agnes is the author, neither girl has any idea how many people will be hurt and scandalized as they fall deeper and deeper into a world of lies.

    Yiyun Lee is a unique writing talent, and her character development of these two adolescent girls, one a leader the other a follower, their choices, mistakes and ultimate outcome will have you sad and joyful, amazed and astonished. If you had a best friend forever as a child, you should read The Book of Goose.

    Thanks for reading my Book Review The Book of Goose by Yiyun Lee.

    Four stars for The Book of Goose by Yiyun Lee.

    Read last week’s book review The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz.

    We love it when you pin, comment and share our book reviews. Thank you.

    Island Life  --  North America Travel

    Six Great Hikes on the Island of Maui

    Explore This Beautiful Island

    Location: Maui Hawaii USA

    Enjoy this one again or for the very first time. Originally published October 2021.

    We love to hike and when we are traveling we always set aside at least one day a week to hike and get out into nature. And during our recent visit to Maui we discovered another great hike to add to the many favorites we already have on this beautiful island. So today I thought I would share with you six great hikes on the island of Maui.

    West Maui

    West Maui

    The area known as West Maui is home to Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili and Kapalua. We spent six weeks exploring this area recently. Here are two of our favorite hikes.

    Kapalua Coastal Trail

    This trail can be busy but it’s worth it because it is so beautiful and definitely one of the six great hikes on the island of Maui. Parking can be difficult but look for street parking near the Napili Kai Resort, or paid parking at Kapalua Golf Course. Start the hike right at Merriman’s Restaurant where the trail heads north. The trail then winds through spectacular lava flows where you can see crashing waves and nesting shearwaters birds nesting. Follow the trail along the road at the Kapalua Golf Course and out to the Dragons Teeth Labyrinth. Round trip about 4 miles. Learn more here.

    Kapalua Coastal Trail

    The Village Course and Duck Pond

    The Kapalua Golf Club closed one of their three courses in 2007. Today the cart paths of the defunct Village Course are a unique and somewhat eerie (and steep) walk through a golf ghost town. It’s astonishing actually how quickly nature has reclaimed this course, making the fairways essentially unrecognizable only fourteen years later. The walk is about four miles round trip at the top is Duck Pond, a nice stop to rest or picnic before returning down. Learn more here.

    The Village Course Trail

    South Maui

    South Maui is usually defined as Kihei, Wailea and Makena. We have spent a great deal of time in this part of the island and we love it.

    South Maui

    La Perouse/Hoapili Trail

    This is one of my favorites of the six great hikes on the island of Maui, but also a bit rough and difficult. Traversing over sharp lava beds, come prepared with the right shoes. It’s a hot and arid trail but provides some stunning views across to the Big Island of Hawaii. The trail is also a sacred trail for Hawaiians, once part of the King’s Highway that circled the island. Crossing the 300 year old lava field is a unique experience, if you are up for it I recommend it highly. Wear a hat and bring lots of water. Learn more here.

    La Perouse Hoapili Trail

    Central Maui

    The region sometimes referred to as Central Maui is home to the airport in Kahului and the government seat city of Wailuku as well as malls, shopping and industrial areas.

    Central Maui

    Waihee Ridge

    About a 7 mile drive north and west from Wailuku you find the parking area for the Waihee Ridge Trail. We have done this trail several times and had a wide variance in weather each time. Come prepared for rain, wind, fog or clear blue skies…you never know. Arrive early for parking. The trail goes up and up the green and beautiful ridge for about 2.5 miles and if you are lucky the views are phenomenal. Learn more here.

    Waihee Ridge

    Haleakala

    The astonishing volcano Haleakala rises 10,000 feet (3048 meters) out of the island and can be seen from almost anywhere on the island. If you go to do either of these suggested hikes get an early start. Often the volcano is clear in the morning but clouds roll in later in the day. BE PREPARED, Haleakala can be very cold in the morning…cold enough to warrant a stocking cap and warm coat.

    Haleakala

    Sliding Sands

    This is one of my favorite hikes on the island. Starting at the top of the volcano at the Visitor Information Center, Sliding Sands, as it’s name implies, is a red sandy trail that goes down inside the volcano crater. Don’t do more than you are capable of on this eleven mile round trip trail, because you need to come back up! Along this trail you will feel like you are on the moon. It’s beautiful, and you will also see the rare and endangered Silver Sword plant known only to grow in this volcano and the two volcanoes on the Big Island. Learn more here.

    Sliding Sands and Haleakala Silver Sword

    Halemau’u Trail

    Approximately 14.2 miles up Highway 378 but before you reach the summit, you will see the Halemau’u Trail parking on the left side of the road. This trail often starts in the mist and clouds, but don’t despair. As you walk the ridge and then go down the rock face trail into the crater the weather usually warms and clears. There is a picnic area that is a good turn around point. Or you can hike all the way through to Sliding Sands and back up to the Visitor Center. But you will need to either have two cars or someone to bring you back to the Halemau’u parking area. Learn more here.

    Halemau’u Trail

    Maui Hikes

    These are just a few of the many hikes available on the beautiful island of Maui. No matter your hiking skill level you can find a walk or hike on this island. If you are looking for additions to the six great hikes on the island of Maui check this out.

    See our post about things to do in Napili Maui here.

    We love it when you pin and share our blog posts. Mahalo.

    Become a World Traveler

    Making Sense Of It All

    A New Year of Travel

    Location: Around the World

    Why do we travel? I get many, many questions about our travel life, everything from how do I make coffee in my French Press to how do we afford a life of travel? Some people find it hard – making sense of it all – my travel life.

    But the questions I like the best are when someone asks me to describe the way a place smells? Or what are the sounds I hear when alone sipping coffee in the morning? I love it when someone is astute enough or interested enough to ask a meaningful question like how does travel make me feel? What are the sensory elements of travel? How does a handshake feel from a Masai warrior, a Mayan weaver or a Chinese fisherman?

    Door knocker in Oman

    Because as we tumble into our seventh year of travel these are the moments that linger for me. I am long past being impressed by tourism kitsch, fancy restaurants or hotels and shopping deals. Travel is now about the senses and mine are more alive than at any time before in my life.

    A Sense of Adventure

    Adventure is a key part of our travel life. In fact we are much more adventurous in our sixties than we ever were in our twenties or thirties. Living a life with a sense of adventure creates remarkable moments – moments that are often difficult to describe – but are part of this person I have become through travel. This reality of being someone different than who I was before is part of our grand adventure, a part I never planned or expected and yet, here it is. And it makes sense.

    Sailing in Seattle

    A Sense of Space

    No one is more surprised than myself about how I have become a minimalist. Learning that I can, easily, live with very little has created a sense in me of openness. A sense of space. And I like that space. It feels good. It feels healthy. I feel lighter and more free. I don’t want to fill that space with anything more than moments. For now that is what makes sense.

    Balloons over Bagan Myanmar

    A Sense of Time

    As I age I am acutely aware of waning time. I am accepting of the fact that there is a lot more territory in my rearview mirror than in my windshield ahead. As I have mourned several dear friends these past years my sense of time has been sharpened. Each individual approaches this sense of time differently, but for me and my husband filling our lives with a travel life of memorable moments brings us joy and a sense of happiness. This makes sense to us.

    Arabic clock Tunisia

    Common Sense

    You might think that travel and the frequent stress it can create would make me high-strung and irritable. But it’s actually the opposite. Travel has instilled in me more common sense than I have ever possessed before. Learning to navigate the world while loving the experience and just going with the flow is a learned skill – one you cannot do without common sense. Serving as a self-appointed ambassador for my home country – showing a big and beautiful world that Americans can be nice, thoughtful, tolerant and understanding has provided me a greater sense of being…and a well rounded repertoire of common sense. Nothing could make more sense.

    Bridge in Hanoi Vietnam

    A Sixth Sense

    Maturity more than travel is what I credit for my own awareness. A sort of sixth sense has developed in me as I have aged. I’ve learned to read my own intuition and act on it, rather than regret it later. I’ve learned awareness of my surroundings, and my place in it, and my impact on it. I have tried to be a better steward for our planet, a better representative for my generation and a better American towards other cultures. In my own little way, I am here. This is how I make sense of it all.

    Temple in Hua Hin Thailand

    Forward

    So here we go again. Our travels in 2023 will take from oceans to mountaintops. From jungles to cities. From beaches to glaciers. It’s all there. Waiting to fulfill us and our thirst for sensing how the world turns and what makes it’s people tick. A full and fabulous experience. A Fabulous Fifties Life.

    Taj Mahal India

    We post a new blog every Friday…with some fun things coming up in the weeks ahead including our annual travel awards. Sign up to receive our blog via email so you don’t miss it! We appreciate it when you share our blog.

    This blog post was originally posted in December 2019 and was updated for this posting.