Sunday, February 19, 2012

Spring is coming! Snowdrops in milk glass...

Spring is coming!  I plucked these snowdrops from my back yard and plopped them into a milk glass vase--pretty!  I have no idea if snowdrops are good as cut flowers, but I'll enjoy them for as long as they last. 

I never look forward to the broiling heat of summer, but spring would be nice--no more giant heating bills and wearing fifty layers of clothes to keep warm!  We've lucked out with such a mild winter, though, so I shouldn't complain.

Just one month until spring!  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Shopping for Vintage in Honolulu

I had a bit more luck buying in Honolulu than on Maui or Kaua’i.  Here’s a little tour of Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts…
Located not far from Waikiki, you can’t miss the bright pink and turquoise building where Bailey’s is located.
Criminy, I had no idea there would be so many shirts!  I find most aloha shirts to be criminally ugly, though occasionally I see a design I like.
That’s David Bailey behind the counter.  He’s been selling aloha shirts for more than 30 years. Some of the best in the shop are those hanging up above his head, nice rayon examples from the 1930s or ‘40s.  The right aloha shirt can bring thousands of dollars!
Love the hula girls!

Sadly, it's time to head back to the mainland.  The trip home is punishing--now that I'm a country girl, it will likely take 16 hours total for me to get back to my house.  As always, I'm sad to go, but already thinking of my next trip...

© All text and images are copyright of Jeni Sandberg

Honolulu -- Moana Hotel in Waikiki

I’m currently reading Matt Warshaw’s History of Surfing and loving it.  He writes well, with a clear, knowledgable voice and I’m looking forward to plunging in to his other books on surfing.  I’m most interested in the early years of surfing, from its royal origins in Hawai’i to its early popularity before World War II.
Porte Cochere at the Moana Hotel
I had my trip to Maui and Kaua’i planned, then I read Warshaw’s chapter on the beach boys of Waikiki and how they hung out around the Moana hotel, singing, surfing and providing various services to visitors.  I was connecting through Honolulu on my way home anyway, so I jiggled my return trip to stay an extra night--at the Moana!  It is now part of the Westin chain, so there went another 14,500 Starwood points to get me a free night.  It hurt to use that many points, but in the interest of research, I figured it would be worth it.
The view towards Diamond Head from my terrace
Ordinarily, I would never stay in Waikiki, which is much like South Beach in Miami--high rises, concrete, tourists, and oh yeah, there’s a beach of some repute, too.  I prefer Oahu's quieter north shore, home to some of the world's best surf breaks.  Hale’iwa would have been my first choice.  But this time, I decided to do a little historical recon and check out the Moana.

An early view of the Moana, before subsequent additions (from the historical materials currently displayed on the second floor of the hotel).  I'm guessing that the small cottages on the right are where Jack London stayed during his time in Waikiki.  London surfed here and loved it.

100+ year old banyan tree around which the hotel was built

In the late 19th century, Waikiki became the center of Hawaiian tourism with its gentle waves and commanding view of Diamond Head.  One of the earliest hotels was the Moana, built in 1901.  A Beaux-Arts pile, the white building is bedecked with columns and porticos that vaguely recall plantation architecture.  The architect was Oliver Traphagen, who had some success in Duluth, Minnesota, designing houses in the Richardson Romanesque/Queen Anne vein.  This amuses me--if I were an architect in Duluth, I'd hightail it to Honolulu, too! 
Interior view
The hotel is nice, but too crowded for my taste, thick with tourists looking to experience Hawai’i.  Still, I’m glad to have seen the hotel and gotten a better sense of the waves of Waikiki and what the appeal may have been a hundred years ago.

Winter in Waikiki--Small surf, crowded with kooks.  That crane thing is dredging up sand to bring back to the rapidly eroding beach. 

© All text and images are copyright of Jeni Sandberg

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Yellowfish Trading Co. -- Hanalei, Kaua'i

Yellowfish Trading Co. in Hanalei
One of my favorite places to stop in Hanalei is the Yellowfish Trading Co., a small shop tucked in to the back of the Hanalei Center.  Yellowfish is filled with fun vintage pieces, Hawaiiana and nice gift items and books.  The shop has a really good feel to it and the mixed bag of stuff holds together well, like it all would have come from a plantation-style house in Hawaii in the years before statehood.  
Love the big green glass fishing float
I am looking for a nice map of Hawai'i...
The vintage pieces are, of course, my favorite.  Old paintings and postcards of Hawai’ian scenes, fun pottery vases and flower pots and yard after yard of floral barkcloth.
So much barkcloth!
I made a couple purchases at Yellowfish, then bought some yummy fish tacos at Tropical Taco and headed to the beach for lunch.   Have I mentioned that I love the north shore?   
A beach where I can sit in the shade!

Next up--Honolulu.

© All text and images are copyright of Jeni Sandberg