Oahu—From Hawaiian Palace to Hawaiian Shaved Ice

Iolani Palace
June 10, 2012        After days of hitting the beach in one form or another, we decided to take in a little of the history of the Islands by visiting the Iolani Palace.  This is the only royal palace used as an official residence by a reigning monarch in the U. S.  We opted for the afternoon self-guided audio tour, which is a self-paced visit.  Starting with a 15-minute historical film, the movie explains the establishment of the United Hawaiian Kingdom under King Kamehameha I in 1795.   Subsequent royalty ruled over the islands for almost the next hundred years.  Ordered built by King Kalakaua, the palace was completed in 1882.  Queen Lili’uokalani, the king’s sister, became leader upon his death but was disposed in 1893 by business and political figures.  They established the Provisional Government of Hawaii and overtook the Palace.

King Kalakaua was a world traveler and a progressive thinker.  He brought home many innovations, such as electricity, flush toilets, dumbwaiters, etc. to incorporate into the building plans. In fact, the palace had electricity before the White House.  The interior of the palace has been brought back to it's previous beauty after decades of use as government offices following the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.  There is exquisite wood work throughout the building including the spiral staircase and door frames.  Every guest is asked to slip protective slippers over their shoes to protect the beautiful wood flooring.  Unfortunately, photos cannot be taken inside the palace, but imagine the finest draperies, carpeting, china, crystal, cut glass, and furnishings.  Due to diligent efforts past furnishing have been located; and most of the palace now looks as it did back in 1893.

Nico's at Pier 38
Having received an email from our friend, Bill, with a restaurant recommendation, we took off to have lunch at Nico’s Pier 38.  This is an open air fast food restaurant with a gourmet touch. We enjoyed the fresh ahi (tuna) steak, coated with Japanese dried seaweed and sesame seeds with a homemade ginger garlic cilantro dip. Suggested by Bill, this meal was absolutely heavenly.  Best tuna, hands down, we have ever eaten.  The fish auction held at Pier 38 is the only one between Tokyo and Maine and the only tuna auction in the U. S., so that explains the outstanding tuna at Nico’s, it is simply never going to be as fresh, unless you catch it yourself. 

Waimea Bay
Having enjoyed our snorkel at Sharks Cove we drove back up to the North Shore to go out in the water again.  The water was at low tide and calmer than the previous visit, so we ventured further out, but the best viewing continued to be over the rocks at the beginning of the bay. 

Driving into the historic town Hale’ewa, we were seeking out the “best Hawaiian shaved ice.”   The competition is tight between a few of the businesses in town but we thought the Alaho General Store served the best and that’s where we place our vote.  Matsumoto’s was listed as the best in our Lonely Planet Guide to Ohua, but the line went across the front and down the side to the back of the building—so maybe they are better, but ours was
excellent and the best we’ve ever enjoyed.  Mango, pineapple and coconut over homemade vanilla ice cream topped with sweetened condensed milk.  Yum!

On the trip back into Honolulu, we stopped at the Dole Plantation, which started on the island in 1900.  Driving along the highway brought to mind the Beatles song with a little variation, “Pineapple Fields Forever.”  The 8,000 acres of plantation starts at the Dole Store, which provides everything in pineapple you can imagine.  There is also a popular maze and a garden tour available.  

We've enjoyed our visit to Oahu but now we are moving on to Kauai for more exploring.
Palace entrance

Alan at Sunset Beach on the North Shore

Surf shop in Hale'ewa

Tree in Hale'ewa

Anahula Stream Bridge in Hale'ewa
Pineapple Fields Forever

Hale'ewa Beach



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