On the windward side of Oahu, the majestic Mokulau Islands embellish the sun-drenched horizon that faces Kailua, a beach town nestled directly below the Koolau Mountains. Here the aptly named Windward Watersports makes its home, under the direction of Jeff Tobias, a professional kitesurfer who helped to pioneer the sport locally. He and his staff leave the region's fragile ecosystem undisturbed as they lead passengers in exploring it via kayak, kiteboard, standup paddleboard, or surfboard. Patrons can rent the vessels for self-guided adventures into a bay teeming with as many sea turtles as a marine biologist's bathtub, or follow guides on kayak tours to surrounding points of natural splendor such as the "Mokes," only 45 minutes away. Strategically located, Windward Sports takes advantage of year-round trade winds and a temperature perpetually hovering around 80 degrees. Kailua serves as the ideal spot for kitesurfing, standup paddleboarding, and surfing lessons. Jeff and his sporty employees craft lessons that cater to all abilities and focus on safe, fun recreation atop frothy crests.
Featured in Pacific Edge and Go Kailua Magazine for their trailblazing approach to crafting wine, Oeno Winemaking owners Marshall Zeigler and Bryon Crowther offer an eclectic variety of wines made with European techniques, and have recently added beers to their repertoire. The winery hosts wine-sampling sessions, which educate sippers on the nuances of aroma and body while imparting the skills of proper swirling, sniffing, and tasting. Patrons choose their favorite wine or beer, which is handmade and aged for six to eight weeks in a temperature-controlled cellar-type crypt. Customers purchasing barrels return with friends and family for a two-hour bottling event. Amidst their cache of bottles and corks, Oeno also stocks beer-making kits, which include materials for up to five gallons of homebrews.
Lanikai Juice prides itself on making products using the freshest, highest quality, natural ingredients at competitive prices. Lanikai Juice provides healthy alternatives that taste DELICIOUS! All products are natural, sugar free, made from the freshest ingredients. The ingredients are ORGANIC and LOCALLY produced.
Once a month at Formaggio Grill, guests indulge in four-course meals paired with fine wines. It sounds like a typical dinner party, save one difference: no one can see a thing. The monthly event is called Dining in the Dark, and Formaggio Grill hopes that it will encourage guests to slow down, savor their dinners, and even reconsider their approaches to fine dining.
Even without the blindfolds, Formaggio Grill touts that mission with careful preparation of Mediterranean-style cuisine in a warm, welcoming space. Chefs smoke prime rib over kiawe wood and toss pastas with housemade sausage. Servers are happy to help pair entrees with selections from a list of more than 50 wines from around the world.
The restaurant envelops diners in warm reds and golds, and low light casts plush red stools and a wooden bar in a warm glow. The artwork of Ron Genta adds splashes of color to the walls, and local musicians take to the stage on the weekends to entertain patrons with smooth guitar sounds or the dulcet tones of a whale’s song.
Oahu endears itself to both visitors and locals with its truly breathtaking scenery. The Ko'olau Mountain Range slopes across the island with rolling green hills and steep peaks that overlook Kailua Bay. Off the sandy shore, the ocean plays host to an array of aquatic wildlife, such as sea turtles, dolphins, exotic fish, and kayakers. The last of these creatures comes from Twogood Kayaks, whose trained naturalists lead tours through the area's brilliant turquoise waters and offshore islets filled with natural coves and 12 species of seabirds.
In addition to garnering a reputation for making and selling some of the swiftest kayaks over the past 30 years, the staffers also train the next generation of competitors during camps and clinics.
At the base of the Ko'olau Mountains, Robin Petersen and her team of gardeners coax blooms from flowers as well as nourish vines, shrubs, and trees. They, and others, have contributed to the care of the 20-acre farm since 1978, when Robin's mother, Sharon, planted the first seeds.
Although the gardeners at Sharon's Plants often work with professional landscapers, they welcome beginning gardeners. They'll happily lead visitors through their inventory, and they can advise on topics such as which plants to use for privacy or what species of bamboo to serve at a panda wedding.