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The Departure: Hawaii I

By Lotuff Leather

Hawaii is the quintessential summer vacation destination, but it’s so much more than just sun and sand. With an incredibly rich cultural history and natural wonders in profusion, there’s a lot to take advantage of on Oahu, in particular, that doesn’t involve a beach chair and a carved-out pineapple filled with rum- although that never hurts once in a while, either. 

One of the most interesting places in Honolulu is the family-owned Kamaka Ukulele Factory, which has been cranking out supreme-quality instruments since 1916. Because these ukuleles are carefully constructed by well-trained artisans out of locally sourced, resonant koa wood, they’ve gained a reputation for being some of the finest in the world and have fallen into the hands of George Harrison, Ziggy Marley, and more.

For something a little less musical and a lot more physically demanding, take a chance at climbing the steps of Koko Crater. What used to be a WWII railway leading up to bunkers is now a 1050-step staircase that isn’t for the faint of heart, but promises gorgeous panoramas and a massive sense of accomplishment at the summit. 

Nobody can spend a day hiking without working up an appetite, so to round off the day, stop by the Hiro Japan food truck on the shores of Waikiki. They’re known for their Hiroshima-style okonomikyaki — a scallion-cabbage pancake layered with a variety of toppings — but everything else they offer is just as great, especially when enjoyed under a palm tree on a beautiful day. 

 

Going from the factory to the craters requires an adaptable bag, so carry our Leather Backpack- there’s even room for a ukulele in there.

-Liz Silvia

All photos © David Silvia.