Friday, October 28, 2011

Kula Botanical Gardens and Upcountry Fun

So I mentioned that when we went to the Kula Country Farms Pumpkin Patch we decided to make a day of it Upcountry. It was such a beautiful day and lunch at Kula Lodge sounded yummy and it was about that time, so we headed there (me, Joel, Dean and Great Grandma Joan) - this was back several week ago on October 2. Dean always loves exploring their grounds and they have a nice little store / gift shop.

After lunch at Kula Lodge, we decided to try something we've never done. There aren't many things left on Maui that we haven't done, so it was kind of exciting to have something new to do! I recently had the opportunity to get to know the owners of Kula Botanical Gardens, Warren and Helen McCord, and they are wonderful people full of knowledge about Maui's flora and fauna. Since we were in the area and had never been, we stopped by the Gardens to check them out. We were NOT disappointed! I can't believe we've been on Maui for almost 7 years and have never been there! We spent well over an hour exploring the lush grounds and didn't come close to seeing half of it - we will DEFINITELY be going back in the near future. And this place is now at the top of our list of places to take guests when they're visiting. We can't wait to pack a couple of sandwiches and head back up there and make a day of walking around and really taking our time to check everything out. Dean LOVED it. They have a huge, multi-level Koi pond, and too many tropical plants and trees to try to list (Dean especially loved reading all of the little signs labeling the plants and trees). They even have a pair of Hawaiian NeNe that hang out (we didn't make it up to see them, so we'll be doing that next time for sure). Anyway, you can see for yourself how pretty this place is. And if you ever come visit, I promise we'll take you there!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kula Country Farms Pumpkin Patch

A couple of Sundays ago we ventured Upcountry to Kula Country Farms to visit their Pumpkin Patch and see if we couldn't convince ourselves that it really is fall, which is sometimes hard to do when you live on Maui! This was our 3rd year of visiting the Pumpkin Patch - we missed out last year due to our trip to the mainland and other stuff that was going on this time a year ago, but we were excited to check it out again. We definitely were not disappointed - each year since we started going, they've grown and added new stuff. Compared to the last time we had gone 2 years ago, this year the pumpkin patches were MUCH larger and had been moved down into a kind of tiered area, probably about 4-5 times larger than they were previously. They also had miniature ponies you could feed / pet, face painting, lots of produce for sale (I still say this is the best little farmer's market on Maui - worth the drive Upcountry any time of year!), and even a Corn Maze, which Dean was pretty darn excited about!! All of this was pretty big time for Maui. So anyway, my grandma Joan was here visiting for a few weeks at the time and we were happy to take her with us Upcountry and kind of made a day of it (after the pumpkin patch we had lunch at Kula Lodge and then visited Kula Botanical Gardens, which was VERY cool. I can't believe we'd never done that before. It was so cool that it will be getting it's own blog post later on, so stay tuned for that). My Mom met us at the pumpkin patch and helped us pick out some pumpkins and enjoyed the corn maze with us. It was lots of fun! So here are some pictures...

Dean entering the corn maze:
It was a beautiful clear day with stunning views all the way down the slopes of Haleakala - you could see not only the West Maui Mountains, but had clear views of Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai, and even Molokai!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Maui County Fair

The Maui County Fair was this weekend and of course we had to go. I'm hoping we can find some way to bribe Dean not to go next year, because even though Dean had a blast, Joel and I were in agreement that the Fair is not at the top of our list of things we enjoy. It's always HOT and dirty and super crowded. I am not a fan of crowds. Especially hot, sweaty, dirty crowds. And we never seem to make it away from the fair without spending at least $80, which just seems absolutely CRAZY. I mean really - the only thing we had to show for our day at the fair were dirty feet, a Subway coupon on our ticket stubs, a belly ache from the funnel cake and cotton candy OD, a gigantic inflatable baseball bat that Dean instinctively decided would best be used as a weapon (even though we don't allow him to watch ANY type of violent programs and he's never in his life seen people hitting each other with any type of weapon that I know of), a tiny stuffed Smurf toy, too much sun, and an extremely cranky 4-yr-old. Definitely not worth $80!! Although I must admit the memories of Dean's hysterical laughter going down the Super Slide and how he wanted to go through the Traffic Jam about a gazillion times were pretty priceless. But still....

So I thought I'd share some pictures of our day at the fair. Last year we ventured to the Fair on opening night. It was cool to be there at night and see the rides and attractions all lit up, but it was WAY crowded. This year we decided to go first thing Saturday morning. We knew it would be hotter, but less crowded. We opted for less crowded and decided to just stay for a shorter length of time. I'm undecided which was the better option.

The first thing Dean wanted to do was the Super Slide. There aren't too many Fair rides that I can go on because of my annoying motion sickness, but the Super Slide I can handle. So I trudged up the steep stairs to the top and Dean and I slide down. He laughed the whole way.

Joel was a pretty good sport about the rides that I can't go on. It was highly amusing seeing him stuff all 6'3" of himself into the tiny helicopter so Dean could ride around in a small circle for a few minutes. What a guy.

Of course we had to eat lunch at the fair. I had dry mein and funnel cake. Joel had a pasteles plate from the Puerto Rican club, and Dean had corn on the cob and powdered sugar leftover from my funnel cake. It was all super ono!

Dean thoroughly enjoyed getting ripped off by the carnies in the game tent. He was unsuccessful at multiple ball toss games (toss a ball into a glass; knock over a stack of blocks with a ball; toss a ball into a creepy clown mouth; etc etc) as well as some race car game he really wanted to play. However, he was a winner at the fishing game and the plinko-style ball drop game, with a little help from Dad (that may or may not have been cheating, but what the carnies don't know, don't hurt 'em!).

Dean's favorite of the day was the Traffic Jam, which was a Fun House type of attraction that cost a ridiculous amount of tickets ($4 worth per person!). Dean LOVED it. He said it was just like at the carnival at the end of Grease! ha! And yes, my child knows WAY too much about musicals for a 4-yr-old. Whatever.

And that concludes the Tapler's Maui County Fair Day. We left dragging a crying and screaming 4-yr-old with dirt-stained tears on his face, upset because we wouldn't buy him a gigantic knubby ball from some vendor right at the exit. That or a bubble gun, when he knows perfectly well there are no guns allowed in the Tapler Ohana, bubble or otherwise. Someone had a little too much Fair Fun for one year. We may or may not have told him we'd come back "later" in order to get him to walk out on his own two feet instead of kicking and screaming. We did not necessarily define "later".