Before opening their local shop for underwater adventurers and tourists, The Snorkel Store's founders spent months field-testing hundreds of different snorkel sets for comfort, effectiveness, visibility, and durability. Thanks to their tireless research and firsthand experience, the snorkel specialists equip amateurs and avid swimmers alike with high-end silicone masks, bodyboards, and fins for exploring the beautiful below-sea-level scenery of Maui.
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.
Big Island native Iwalani Isbell, the designer behind Pualani Kailua swimwear, spends her free time surfing and performing stunts on the water. She draws inspiration from those pastimes to create stylish swimwear that holds up against an active lifestyle. Her bikinis and one-pieces—available in array of prints and styles—are crafted from four-way-stretch fabrics and soft lingerie lining for a comfortable feel that won't lose shape. Beachy dresses and activewear transition bodies from the water to dry land.
The inaugural Roots by the Sea festival invites more than 20 of the island’s most popular reggae bands to converge upon Makapu’u Meadows in an all-ages jamboree honoring the birthday of rasta legend Bob Marley. Grassy meadows give way to gorgeous island views as eight hours of mellow Jamaican beats fill two stages. Headlining the rock-steady brigade, celebrated Oahu sextet The Green lets loose with the uplifting harmonies and dancehall hits that put it on Billboard’s Top 10 reggae chart. Among the score of other artists, in-demand Hawaiian party band Natural Vibrations, known to fans as Natty Vibes, produces positive energy with wind-powered dreadlocks, and Father Psalms lays down straightforward tributes to reggae greats and the spiritual life. The University of Hawaii cheerleaders inject the blissed-out atmosphere with the excitement of a dance-off, paying tribute to Bob Marley’s groundbreaking if subtle use of pom-poms in the recording studio.