Alright… Hawaii. I got back a few days ago and I must say, it was a great get away! Five days away from everything…five days of vacationing with friends, how awesome is that?? Well, let me tell you about some of the highlights of the trip, and as a bonus I will even include a few pictures!
Wednesday: I was up super early and it was off to the airport. I flew a morning flight from Seattle to Honolulu. Once there, I had a three hour layover so I spent time sitting in the sun, exploring the airport and eating a tasty lunch. From Honolulu it was just a quick flight (made better by making a new friend on the flight!) to Kona. I grabbed a shuttle and it was off to the hotel. Now, I have been to Hawaii many times but never to the big island so I took it all in on the drive. It was much more rural than other parts of the state, but still beautiful.
I met up with Jon, one of the other groomsmen for the upcoming wedding and a friend from college, at the hotel and our vacation started in full. We explored tide pools around the hotel and enjoyed the quietness of the hotel. We took the concierge’s advice and walked to a nearby restaurant (well, by nearby I mean up a long, steep hill) and enjoyed a very delightful dinner. Honestly, it was probably one the best dinners I have had in a while…soup, salad, macadamia nut chicken, and a couple cocktails later I was relaxed and in vacation mode to the fullest.
Thursday: Jon and I woke up early and grabbed a big breakfast, courtesy of the hotel. From there it was a nonstop trip to the beach where we rented snorkel gear and spent the morning swimming, diving and exploring the bay next the hotel. We may have gotten in a tight spot, when the water fell away and we found ourselves trying to snorkel in less than a foot of water over lava rock…yikes! After snorkeling and nap in the hammocks, we boarded a trolley headed for a local place for lunch. We cruised around during the afternoon, trying local brews, shopping and seeing what Kona had to offer. Then it was back to the hotel where we met up with Jake, another groomsman, and went snorkeling again. Shortly thereafter, everyone showed up (including the bride and groom to be!) Once Aaron, the groom, was ready, the four of us guys took off away from the hotel. We walked around for a while and ended up a local pizza place for dinner. It was a fun evening and was great just being able to hang out with the guys.
Friday: Friday was a fairly simple day. Since it was the day before the wedding, we had a rehearsal set for later that day. Until then, we went snorkeling, grabbed some lunch, played Settlers of Catan and took it easy. I hope by now you are starting to see the trend: eat, snorkel, eat, snorkel, games, eat, relax…or something like that. The rehearsal went really well, and so did dinner afterwards. It was the first time the entire wedding party had really seen each other and it was nice to see everyone and enjoy each other’s company. After dinner we worked on a few wedding-related details with the crew before stealing Aaron away for the rest of the night. We relaxed in the room, playing Settlers and drinking local brew.
Saturday: Well, the big day was finally here: wedding day. The day Aaron and Cherith would join together in marriage and prepare to spend the rest of their lives together. So, being the responsible groomsmen, we went snorkeling for the morning. I mean, it was still vacation…but since the ceremony was not until 3:00, we had some time to kill. Time flew by and almost before we knew it, we were changing into our suits and getting ready. As best man, I must have checked ten times to make sure I had the rings.
It was a beautiful ceremony, right on the lawn of the hotel and overlooking the ocean. Only downside: it was hot and humid…oh well! Aaron and Cherith shared their vows (they wrote their own!), took communion together and exchanged rings. After the ceremony we took pictures all across hotel property then went to finish setting up the reception (thankfully inside). The reception was lots of fun, Aaron and Cherith had asked me to MC it and I had a great time. Everyone was in a good mood, the food tasted great and the staff were super helpful. Christina, Cherith’s maid of honor, and I toasted the newly-weds, they danced their first dance, the wedding party served cake to the guests and they tossed the bouquet/garter, which I caught…ladies. 😉 Then we decided to turn up some music and just have fun. It ended up being a late night, but so wonderful and totally worth the trip. Jon, Jake and I returned to our room…minus Aaron…and shortly thereafter we were sound asleep.
Sunday: Unfortunately the day to head home had arrived. Everyone was leaving at different times, so the morning was a bit unusual. We had already returned our snorkel gear, so it was down to breakfast for the guys. Then I packed up and headed for the airport. After a short flight to and a quick layover in Kahului, Maui, I found myself coasting over the Pacific Ocean towards Seattle. I landed and my friend John picked me up. I got home and in bed at 12:45 AM, totally exhausted but also completely refreshed and relaxed from my time away.
So that’s the week in a snapshot. My time in Hawaii was filled with great times that I will not soon forget. I am so happy for Aaron and Cherith, and truly honored to have been in their wedding, especially as best man. I am also extremely thankful for the opportunity to make new friends and strengthen friendships I already had (thanks for the great times, Jon!). All in all, a great trip, completely worth it, sorely needed, and deeply missed already.
Looking forward to my next vacation already…time to start saving!