Gotta Getaway: A Trip to Hawaii Can Change Everything

When a trip to Hawaii lands in your inbox you freak, obviously. But when it’s coupled with an opportunity to enjoy three days of ah-mazing food cooked up as part of  the Four Season’s Chef Fest, you die, then wake up, and hit “reply” as fast as you can! Our Editorial Director had the chance to do just that and if you were following along on Instagram you know it was quite the enviable experience… to say the least! Here’s how Hawaii changed everything, including her waist size {her words, not mine!}.

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As soon as I walked into the tiki wood decorated lobby of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai and was greeted by a warm towel to wipe away travel exhaustion, a fresh lei {of course!}, a mai tai served in a coconut and just-picked-off-the-tree-and-squeezed papaya juice, I knew that this going to be a trip of a lifetime. I’d heard that the Four Seasons was one of best resorts in the world long before I ever thought about making my way to the Big Island, but I still couldn’t believe what was right before me. The grounds are the lushest green you’ve ever seen.

As I toured the property, I immediately knew I wasn’t going to want to ever leave- a rarity for a wandering traveler like myself. Six pools, a golf course, a beach steps away from my room; these were all calling my name during my indulgent weekend. But this trip wasn’t just a feast for the eyes or about pool time – it was for the tastebuds too!

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Chef Fest, a food & wine festival bringing together some of the best chefs from around the U.S., is put on by the Four Seasons every year to share a culinary experience for the books. From intimate interactive cooking classes, to barbecue dinners on the beach, blind wine tastings and amazing desserts, my stomach and my knowledge of cuisine grew in just a few short, extraordinary days! Here are some of the highlights:

Want to know the easiest and most impressive way to whip up a dinner? I learned it’s by cooking a whole fish! With a big knife, a lemon and a couple of sprigs of rosemary, Thai Snapper is my now going to be my go-to dish for everything. Demonstrated by Chef Marco Canora of New York’s Herth and Terroir, I promise you cooking up your own fish is way easier than you think. Some things I never knew about cooking a whole fish: make sure the fish is at room temperature when you cook it and make sure that fishy is nice and dry to ensure tasty, crispy skin!

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If you haven’t ever tried a blind wine tasting, {I hadn’t- I’m such a sommeli-nay. I know nothing!} sign yourself up for one. They are so much fun. This one was particularly special because it was lead by none other than wine genius and godfather of Pinot Grigio, Mr. Tony Terlato. Always dapper in a crisp suit, Tony flew to Hawaii to lead the class and school everyone, from people like me, who know nothing, all the way to the Four Season’s Vice President of Food and Beverage! This man is a wealth of knowledge- the vintage, the varietal, terroir… the depth of wine history in his head is remarkable. I was eating up, or should I say, drinking up everything he said! Here are some wine tasting tips I made sure to jot down:

- Determine if you taste the grape or the dirt more. If you taste grape, it’s a New World wine. If you taste the earth, it’s Old World.

- Having some general geographical knowledge about where wine grows should help you you figure out the grape {say Cabernet Savignon vs. Bourdeaux}…but without a multiple choice quiz, this certainly ain’t easy!

- Tilt your wine glass at a 45 degree angle. If the rim at the top of the wine is more white, it’s a younger vintage, if it’s a rich red, it’s been aging for quite some time.

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Luaus and beach cookouts, paddle boarding and yoga in the sand were just a few of the other incredible experiences I was lucky enough to enjoy during Chef Fest. I’m seriously missing waking up every morning and making my way straight to the beach. Even if it WAS with my laptop, nothing gets better than listening to the crash of the waves…

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit Hawaii, or even better the little slice of heaven that is the the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, you know exactly the sentiment I developed for this place – in only three days! The cool golden sand, the warm salty waters, the soft green grass, the humid smell in the air, the never ending sunsets…it’s definitely life changing!

experience c/o The Four Seasons // images by Bianca Sotelo and c/o the Four Seasons

Retail Therapy: {Moorea Seal, A Sweet Seattle Shop}

Even as online shopping gets easier and easier, there’s really nothing I love more than discovering small boutiques! Walking into a beautifully curated space, discovering hidden treasures and artisans you might not otherwise uncover – I think it could be my official hobby! That’s why on a recent trip back home to Seattle, I beelined straight to Moorea Seal, the new bricks and mortar version of the online shop {and Pinterest account!} I’ve long been obsessed with.

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It completley lived up to my expectations! The sweet, jewelbox of a space offers the perfect mix of modern home accessories, jewelry, bags, shoes and paper goods – really every version of my kryptonite.

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I was particularly smitten with this hand carved and cast bronze pendant necklace designed by a maker out of Portland, OR called Tiro Tiro. It was VERY hard for me to walk away from that little beauty!

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Everywhere I turned there was something new to oohhh and ahh at. Even though they’re still hanging in the home I grew up in, I’m seriously this close to getting back on the wall weavings bandwagon! The totally neutral color palette of the one below had me immediately! It’d be a beautiful soft piece to hang in a bedroom. Note to self if it’s still there the next time I’m in town!

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I’m only sad this lovely shop didn’t show up until after I bid Seattle adieu. It’s literally in walking distance of the orignal #34. Thankfully, I can stalk Moorea Seal online in between Seattle visits, but I’m excited to see what new wonders the shop has brought in on my trip!

original photography for apartment 34 by Belathee 

Travel Diary: A Day Visiting Colonial Williamsburg

While you’ve probably heard of Colonial Williamsburg Revolutionary City and maybe have visited during your middle or high school trips to Washington DC (like me!), it likely doesn’t fall on top of your vacation wish list. Sure I loved it as an 8th grader. I still remember churning butter, being fascinated by the black smith and traditional shoemaker. But once you graduate from American History 101, I’m not sure many people think about taking the time to stop by Williamsburg again. But after we went out for the Colonial Williamsburg Taste Tradition food festival, we had the pleasure of rediscovering the Williamsburg area, sans giant school group and chaperones…and I loved it!

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While you wouldn’t think there’s much to entertain adult sensibilities, the entire Colonial Williamsburg area is just beautiful. Gently rolling hills, dense trees and beautiful landscaping are everywhere. And everything is a lush green green green {or it was – the fall colors in Williamsburg would be ah-mazing!!}. The classic brick buildings, the charming 100+ year old houses and even the campus of the college William & Mary are fun to explore. Everything is incredibly walkable which is a major plus. If you’re less of a history buff, there’s also a stunning art museum featuring American Folk Art – one of my faves. And of course there are plenty of cafes, taverns and restaurants featuring thoroughly modern, local and delicious fare to enjoy! We certainly indulged.

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I would recommend touring the Colonial Williamsburg Revolutionary City – it really is quite fascinating to learn how settlers lived and the reenactments are always rather entertaining!

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If you happen to find yourself in the greater Washington DC area, I would highly recommend making a day-trip down to Williamsburg – in fact – make an entire weekend out of it! I’ve even put together a little itinerary for you.

A Lovely Day Seeing the Colonial Williamsburg Sights

> An early round of golf at the Inn at Colonial Williamsburg {confession: I’m a closeted golf fan and I love to play albeit badly}

> Refuel with breakfast at Blue Talon Bistro near Market Square

> Stroll through the historic gardens that dot the Revolutionary City at Colonial Williamsburg

> Enjoy a picnic beneath one of the huge oak trees

> Dip into some of historic shops of Colonial Williamsburg – my favorite is the Book Bindery {they still stitch the books by hand!}

> Enjoy an amazing dinner featuring local ingredients at the Fat Canary

> Grab a nightcap {or two!} and a rousing evening of traditional games and songs at Chowning Tavern after it turns into the speakeasy Gambols! Just a warning – there will be group singing!!

If you do make it down to the area this fall and capture some of the beautiful colors do let me know! I’d love to see the pics.

 

This post is in partnership with Colonial Williamsburg. With so much to do, stay and make some history. Book your trip at colonialwilliamsburg.com. All thoughts and opinions 100% my own. Thanks for supporting partnerships that keep our doors open!