I don’t even know where to start. My husband and I just returned from a much-needed vacation. We had the extreme pleasure of visiting one of the islands of our 50th state.

Saying Maui is beautiful is such and understatement. Some of the things we saw defy description. It was truly eight days in paradise with each day better than the last. And shorter, it seemed.

The only thing I would change is how long it takes to get there. Whew! There were a few moments there on the last leg on the way there I was willing swim the rest of the way as long as they just let me off the plane.

My husband and I have learned a gold mine of travel tips for our next adventure. First, we are both booking aisle seats. We don’t have to sit together. We are on our way to a fabulous destination and we will have plenty of time to spend together once we get there. We can gaze fondly at each other from across the aisle or even a few rows up or back.

The second is that if you have access to a washer and dryer, for heaven sake, pack light! I took clothes I didn’t wear or need and that 25-pound carry-on was brutal on the trip home. (It was fortunate I did have a change of shoes in there, though.)

We had taken quite a bit of time planning this vacation and it was really fun. We crammed everything we could think of in there and if we return, we still have a few new things we can do.

While my husband and I both enjoy the water, the mountains were the most breathtaking. They looked different every day. So majestic and proud.

Our first adventure was the Road to Hana and we saw just about every type of ecosystem you could imagine. We were in the rain forest, we were at the beach, we were in the mountains, we were in pastures. The Road to Hana, which my husband and I have affectionately dubbed the “Road to Hell,” is not for the faint at heart. It is very narrow roads, sometimes one lane, with cars traveling both directions in large quantities. There are places that are marked with dotted lines on a map that indicate portions of the road that break your rental car agreement if you drive it there.

The best things on the Road to Hana were the waterfalls, black beaches, lava tubes and mountains. We saw Weird Al Yankovic’s gate and mailbox, painted black and white like a cow; the gate to Oprah’s home in the West Maui Mountains and perhaps the roof of one her buildings; and the tiny cemetery where legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh was laid to rest. Lindbergh’s grave and the small church there were very humbling and peaceful. We fed a couple of horses that wandered over our leftover grapes before we headed back.

We stayed on Front Street in Lahaina. I would liken it to Bourbon Street with way less alcohol. People were everywhere!

Just two blocks from our hotel was the banyan tree. Lahaina’s giant banyan tree is 60 feet high and 200 feet wide, filling most of the block that makes up Banyan Tree Park on Front Street, behind the Lahaina Harbor. Just sitting under its expansive limbs and mossy branches was so peaceful. The banyan tree was planted on April 24, 1873, to mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival of first American Protestant mission.

The way it grows is that its branches become root pillars when they reach the ground and start a new trunk.

I could sit under that tree for hours and people watch. If you hang out long enough, you get to help others out and take their pictures. Once you leave the tree you are back in the hustle and bustle of Front Street with foot traffic moving swiftly in both directions.

We took a trip down in a submarine and saw colorful marine life, including a black-tipped reef shark, a true highlight for my husband, the shark superfan. While we were watching the sub submerge before we motored back to the harbor, two small dolphins made an appearance and frolicked around our boat, a true highlight for me.

We also attended a must if you’re in Hawaii — a luau. Great food and entertainment and you learn a lot about the culture of the people there. It was just a great evening.

Out catamaran trip to the Molokini Crater to snorkel was just amazing. I hadn’t snorkeled in over 15 years and I was a little nervous but it was just like riding a bike. I only wish I had reapplied sunscreen before the hour-long trip back to the harbor. I sported quite the sunburn for my massage on the last day. But, Maui Aloe to the rescue! (It’s a thing! Supercharged aloe!)

I’ll post this online in a few days and include some photos highlighting our trip — one for our record books for sure!