Historic Columbia

Back in the gold rush days, a town called Columbia in the mountains was booming. There was maybe 20,000 people living in this town at the peak of its popularity when people were searching for gold. 


It’s common for 4th graders in California, to have to do a project that someone incorporates this theme. I’m not quite sure what the project is as its been 15 years since I was in 4th grade and I didn’t really ask. All I knew was that my niece has to do a project and she chose Columbia so my sister invited me to go up with them. 

This past Saturday morning, we drove up to historic Columbia. This town, or at least the historic part of it, is the only living California State Park…or something along those lines. Basically it means that people still work and live there so they don’t charge an entrance fee like all other state parks. They rely solely on donations made when people visit the historic gold rush down. And it’s never been a ghost town the entire time it’s been around. There has always been people living and running businesses there. 

Built in 1857 and not yet a Wells Fargo bank
I think this is a great place to visit, even if only for a couple of hours. They have a short walking tour (where you learn about movies that filmed there and other cool, interesting facts), an active blacksmith store, a stage coach ride, and you can pan for gold. They have businesses that are running inside of the historic buildings, including a bank and hotel. 

A real, working bank with an ATM at the side of the building

Also, I finally learned where the saying “Good night, sleep tight” comes from.  

 They had to tighten the ropes holding their mattress up periodically so it would stop saggin in the middle.


Mua Oakland

As a going away/pre-Valentine’s Day dinner, some friends and I went to Mua Oakland. 

The environment is very cool. It seems to be a converted warehouse and it’s a lot bigger than you realize. They also have a DJ playing. We were in a room off of the main one so the music was the perfect volume (in my opinion). 

The food there is very delicious. I’m not quite sure what I would classify the food as. As I’m vegetarian, I saw two main dishes that I could eat. A vegetable one that I contemplated seriously because I love lentils. I ended up ordering the #CBF burger though as people only had great things to say about it.

Appetizers wise, I didn’t order any because then I can’t finish my food. Everyone else did though and they loved it. I had bites of one appetizer (No Cheese Mac and Cheese) and a salad (grilled romaine lettuce, if I remember correctly). Both were delicious but I would say that the grilled romaine lettuce salad took the cake. It’s literally two stalks of lettuce grilled with dressing and breadcrumbs. Yum!!

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures but I highly recommend going to this restaurant!! It is a bit pricy though so it’s not somewhere I would go to constantly. 

I would recommend making reservations before you go. They are constantly so busy that I’m not quite sure how often they take walk-ins. 

For more information and to see the menu, check out the website: http://www.muaoakland.com

2442a Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 238-1100


Lunch                                                          Friday 11:30 – 3pm

Dinner                                                     Monday – Thursday 5:30 – 11:00         Friday & Saturday 5:30 – 12:00          Sunday 5:00 – 10:00                                  (Last seating 20 minutes before close)

HAPPY HOURS (BAR ONLY)               Friday: 3:00 – 6:00                            Saturday: 4:30 – 6:00                              Other Days: 4:30 – 6:30

They also have an Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

Kahuku Grill

Kahuku Grill is a bit hidden but you can see it from the highway. I will admit that I wasn’t sure about it when we first saw it but I am so glad that we decided to stop there for food. There is only outside seating which the waitresses are willing to dry off if it rains. Very nice and helpful, but we opted to sit at a table a group had just left from so she wouldn’t have had to do any extra work.

This restaurant might have the best veggie burger that I have ever had. It’s called Keep The Country Country and was made with pineapples as the patty, or at least I think that’s what they were supposed to be. Just….so delicious. I wish I could eat it again right now.

They also had a dessert that my friend and I were crazy to eat our entire time in Hawaii. Banana bread with ice cream and coconut shavings. So good. We shared one as it’s a pretty big portion after just eating a meal. That was also so very delicious.

It closes at 9 PM at night every night Monday – Saturday and it’s not even open on Sunday. (We learned the hard way that nothing is open in Kahuku on Sunday).

The address is 56-565 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, HI 96731.

The number is +1-(808) 852-0040.

Opal Thai

What is there to say about Opal Thai aside from that it is AMAZING!! And, hopefully obvious, that it’s Thai food.

As with most of the other posts from Oahu, it is located on the North Shore in Haleiwa. It’s on the side of a little business area instead of the front. From what I remember, there wasn’t a sign saying Opal Thai above the door either. There is a huge, free parking lot for all the businesses there.

It’s a BYOB (bring your own beverage) establishment if you were planning on drinking anything in the alcoholic direction.

What I really loved about the place is that the owner took all of our menus away and figured out what to send out for each individual after having a short conversation with them. I’m not sure if that is something that he did because we were with some locals that knew the owner but I loved it. The food there is amazing.


Our friends were telling us that sometimes people will wait an hour or more outside the restaurant (as it is small) just to eat there.

Also, the restroom is not in the restaurant. You’ll have to ask for the key, go outside, down the steps and around the corner for that.

I HIGHLY recommend going to this restaurant, especially if you are in Haleiwa or close to it.

The address is 66-197 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712.

Maunawili Falls


Maunawili Falls is in Kailua and was recommended by someone who lived there. It’s about a 4-5 mile (6-8 km) hike round trip. It requires you to cross a small piece of the river near the bottom and then you have to walk in the river to the waterfall once you get to the top….unless you have superb balance and rock jumping skills.

This hike can be done in tennis shoes (which most of my group did), flip flops and/or barefoot (which a friend and I did). We started out in flip flops but it was too muddy so we decided to just take them off. I had them off for most of the hike up until we got to the top and the dirt dried out and I could put them back on. I managed to make it back down with my flip flops on and clean feet by taking the side trails.

Aside from it being a very muddy hike (which our friend said he wasn’t expecting as it hadn’t rained there for a couple of days), it was a good hike. There are quite a few steep stairs so here is a warning if you have bad knees. I have bad knees though and managed to do the hike.


Also, you can swim once you get to the waterfall. The water is quite cold but you get used to it pretty quickly. It’s probably best to just jump in at once. There is that bacteria warning in the beginning of the hike though so only go swimming if you feel comfortable. I didn’t go in past my hips but that was a personal thing as I wasn’t sure how strong the current was closer to the waterfall.


If you’d like to check it out, the address to get to the beginning of the hike is 1201 Kelewina St, Kailua, HI 96734.

There is no parking lot so you just have to park somewhere in the neighborhood.

Sharks Cove

Yes, I realize that I’ve already talked about the food trucks at Sharks Cove so I will not be going into any depth about that here. This post is most likely going to be nice, short and about snorkeling.

A friend told us that Sharks Cove is called so because it looks like a shark took a bite out of it. It is a cool little area that is perfect for snorkeling. It is a bit rocky so be careful where you step and how much you kick. I used my arms more than anything while swimming around the cove. I made the  mistake of giving a decent kick once and managed to send my foot straight into rock/coral which did not feel good but luckily no cut. My friend was not so fortunate and she broke the nail on her toe when she got “beached” on some rocks.

Basically, just be careful as you walk or swim around this area. I would still really recommend coming here to go snorkeling though. There are lots of little sand patches you can step on and stand in. The sand patches get bigger the further out you go. As I can’t swim very well, I just stayed away from the area the ocean was coming in as the current was stronger there.


Kualoa Ranch


Kualoa Ranch is a place where you can do many big activities such as horseback riding, ride an ATV and zip lining; along with smaller activities like going to Secret Island, taking a boat ride around Chinaman’s Hat, a jungle tour where they stop and explain to you what movie was shot where and more. You can bundle a big activity with one or more smaller ones or you can just book them individually.

We chose to do only one day at Kualoa Ranch which was considered a full-day there. We arrived at 8 AM for check-in and were there until about 3 PM. When you book a full-day there, they do provide a buffet style lunch.

Our first activity that day was the one-hour ATV adventure tour at 8:45 AM. It was all of our first times on an ATV and we had a blast. We wished we could have booked the two-hour one instead but, to my understanding, that isn’t possible when you also have an experience tour following. You can have up to six (6) people in your group and then your tour guide will join you as well. They also take you through the movie sets and you have time to get down and take pictures (but not too much time since you only have an hour!) Our guide was super awesome and took us through a bunch of curves and crazy terrain. There were definitely moments that I thought I was about to go off the trail when the terrain got super bumpy or I didn’t turn the handle bars enough (as it is not power steering), but still super fun and exhilarating. If you go and can somehow request a guide, I highly recommend Matthew. He was possibly one of the best tour guides I’ve ever had. Go Matthew!

After the ATV adventure, we had to wait about 45 minutes for lunch which was served at 11:30 AM. If you are a vegetarian like me, then you need to go to the ticket booth with your activity sheet and let them know you are vegetarian/vegan where they will give you a ticket and direct you to the food area in the gift shop to use your meal ticket. I ate at the salad bar at the buffet area with the rest of my group, but you can also use the salad bar where you order your food.

Our second and last activity at Kualoa Ranch was called Secret Island at 11:30 AM. Most of the other experience tours are 1.5 hours but this one is 3 hours. Before you head out to the activity, they have your group take a photo (which you can see and purchase at the end of the day) then send you onto a bus which drives a couple of minutes down the road where they drop you off at a little dock. Then you get on a boat that takes you across a pond for a couple of minutes and the driver tells you about more movie sets you passed in front of the dock and how/why the pond and island were formed. Once you dock on the other side of the pond, they take you to the other side of the small island where they have some option for activities laid out such as kayaks, paddle boards, hammocks, mats for tanning/sitting in the sand, beach chairs, rope swings, etc. They say this place can be pretty busy with 200-400 people in a day, but we were lucky and went on a slower day with maybe 20 people. The boat returns to the other side of the pond at 2:30 so make sure that you are back at the dock a little bit before that. The lifeguard there will let you know when you have about 20 minutes left.

If you would like to look more into Kualoa Ranch and all the activities you can do and what bundles are possible, check out http://www.kualoa.com

If you are in Oahu and want to just go and check it out, the address is 49-560 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744.

Or you can call them at +1-(808) 237-7321