Ten Things You Might Not Know About Hawaii…
which may or may not be from personal experience
1. There are no billboards.
2. The state bird, which is actually a goose called the nene (pronounced nay-nay), is a highly threatened species that looks remarkably like a miniature Canada Goose.
3. Big Island: If your children are fighting in the car to the point where you wish you could be strapped to the front grate for the rest of the trip around the island, do yourself a favor and use Saddle Road, which can potentially cut several hours off your “fun family drive.”
4. Big Island: The southernmost winery in the United States is Volcano Winery, located in Volcano, Hawaii. This is actually a village on the slopes of Kilauea, a volcano that has been erupting since 1983. The winery has great wines (especially their Symphony Mele- pronounced “may-lay”) and can be a useful stop if … see #3 above.
5. Hawaii has no rabies. I learned that the hard way, thanks to a cat I mistakenly thought was adorable.
6. Winter is the best time to go to Hawaii if you want to see humpback whales frolicking in the Pacific Ocean. The males put on quite a show if they are courting a female. Once the females calve they, too, put on a great show. When calves are learning to jump, they’re often referred to as “flying pickles” because they can’t quite get their tails out of the water and they do, in fact, look like giant flying pickles.
7. When swimming in the ocean, be aware that it gets deep very quickly and the waves can be gigantic. If you happen to be out too far with your daughter and have to be rescued by a stranger when a wave tries to kill you, just remember to be gracious and apologetic when that stranger tells you not to be so stupid.
8. Oahu: You may decide to climb Diamond Head on your last day in Hawaii. I encourage that because it’s a great experience. But please, take extra water. Otherwise, you too might have an inexplicable seizure on the airplane home. And if the doctor behind you gets testy when you, in a frenzy of flight officials trying to decide if the airplane should be turned around to get you to a hospital, suggest it might have been the water in the restroom at Diamond Head, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
P.S.: My kids actually enjoyed that flight because they got to sit in the back of the plane and eat ice cream while I was stretched out across three seats up front on my deathbed. They do love their ice cream.
9. Big Island: And speaking of ice cream, be sure to stop at Tropical Dreams, a little ice cream and coffee shop in Hawii jam packed with fun souvenir finds and the best ice cream on the island. It’s where I first saw Dragonfruit Sorbet (it’s actually the only place I’ve ever seen it).
10. You will never want to leave.
More about House of the Hanging Jade:
A dark presence invades the Jorgensens’ house. On a spectacular bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, something evil is watching and waiting . . .
Tired of the cold winters in Washington, D.C. and disturbed by her increasingly obsessive boyfriend, Kailani Kanaka savors her move back to her native Big Island of Hawaii. She also finds a new job as personal chef for the Jorgensen family. The gentle caress of the Hawaiian trade winds, the soft sigh of the swaying palm trees, and the stunning blue waters of the Pacific lull her into a sense of calm at the House of Hanging Jade–an idyll that quickly fades as it becomes apparent that dark secrets lurk within her new home. Furtive whispers in the night, a terrifying shark attack, and the discovery of a dead body leave Kailani shaken and afraid. But it’s the unexpected appearance of her ex-boyfriend, tracking her every move and demanding she return to him, that has her fearing for her life…
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