Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just Rollin' Along

While (most of) the rest of our neighbors on the mainland got an extra hour of sleep this morning, we here in Hawaii didn't. If we're a little cranky, you'll understand why. Just kidding!

According to Wikipedia, the concept of Daylight Savings Time (DST) was first proposed to the world back in 1895 by a New Zealand entomologist to allow for 12 hours of daylight to fit the normal daily activities of humans, as closely as possible. (Click here for full article.) The U.S. adopted the practice in 1918.

As for Hawaii, it is really not needed. Hawaii is closer to the equator than most of it's mainland counterparts, and there's such a minimal fluctuation in sunrise time throughout the year that changing the clock isn't justified (pretty much the same amount of sunlight in June as there is in December). If Hawaii would participate, it's sunrise time would be around 7am, which is pretty late.

Interestingly, Hawaii is not the only state that does not observe DST. Arizona and most of the Eastern time zone portion of Indiana doesn't either!

So, it's business as usual for us, except that there's one less hour between us for the next few months!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall Colors

Everyone loves to travel during September and October to enjoy the colorful trees of autumn. Well, here in Hawaii, we are treated to some wonderful colors on the trees too! Can you name any of these trees?

Friday, July 23, 2010

For the Love of Lau Lau

Hello, my name is Tara and I’m a lau lau-aholic. It’s true. I get twitchy if I go a week without sinking my eager chompers into a hot, steamy, succulent lau lau! There are many lau lau opportunities here in East Hawaii and I have made the effort to sample as many as I can find!!

For those who aren’t familiar with this culinary delight, lau lau is a traditional Hawaiian dish that is made by wrapping meat and (sometimes) veggies in taro leaves (also called luau). The bundle is then wrapped in tea leaves and tied with a string (or with the leaves themselves – now that takes talent!) and either baked in an imu (underground oven) or - more commonly but less coolly – steamed on the stove top. The result is a distinctly Hawaiian juxtaposition of flavors and textures that makes the taste buds sing!

Lau lau are very unique to their creators, varying greatly in appearance and taste. All of the families who sell lau lau on the side of the road in Hilo do a superb job – and how lucky I am to live in a place where this kind of commerce is still common! Malama Market makes a yummy, huge, relatively low in fat (if rather pricey) version that I quite enjoy. The folks by the Keaau bypass on HI 130 - look for the “HOT ONE LAU LAU” sign – make my very favorite of all!

Sometimes I strike out and fail to meet my weekly lau lau quota. To combat this distressing situation - and because I’m not skilled enough to make them the real way -I’ve developed a recipe for crock pot lau lau that is yummy and super easy. I’ve combined several recipes found online and adjusted to my personal tastes. It’s certainly not art like real lau lau often are, but it’ll do in a pinch, and it’s been a big hit with the people I’ve made it for.

Crock Pot Lau Lau Recipe

1 2lb bag of Taro (Luau) Leaves
1 Pork Shoulder or Butt
¾ tbsp Red Hawaiian Sea Salt
2 Medium ‘Uala (Purple Sweet Potato)
1 tbsp Liquid Smoke
1lb Salted Butter Fish

  1. Rinse off the leaves and cut out the joint of the fibrous vein. Tear huge leaves in half or into manageable-sized pieces.
  2. Cut the pork into 2-inch chunks, trimming fat as you go. (note: Some lau lau have fat added for flavor, but I try to avoid too much extra fat. Trimming about 80% seems to be a good practice, leaving flavor while avoiding heart attack).
  3. Place the pork in a bowl, sprinkle with sea salt and add liquid smoke. Mush it all around with your hands until well mixed and rubbed in.
  4. Rinse the butterfish, remove the skin and cut meat into small chunks. Remove the bones as you go (the tiny little bones will usually disintegrate during cooking, but try remove all of the bigger ones).
  5. Peel the ‘uala, slice it about ½ inch thick and quarter the slices.
  6. Spray your crock-pot or slow cooker with non-stick spray. Make a bed of leaves in the bottom of the crock-pot, and then build up the sides until you have a nest. The nest should be deepest on the bottom. Set aside enough to make a 2-leaf layer on top. Don’t worry if you can’t fit all the leaves right now.**
  7. Place the pork chunks into the nest of leaves. Add the butterfish and ‘uala chunks on top. Cover with your remaining leaves, tucking the sides down to form a giant lau lau!
  8. Cook on low for at least 7 hours.

** If you have extra leaves, you can slip them in after a few hours. Once liquid accumulates and the leaves start to break down, fold up some of the extra leaves, lift one end of the lau lau and shove underneath. The leaves are my favorite part, so the more the better!!

At the end of the day, bust out your rice cooker and serve the crock-pot lau lau on or beside a bed of rice. The lau lau will be nice and juicy, and the rice is great with a spoonful or two of the broth.

The only draw back to this recipe – if you work at home like I do - is smelling it all day long! (Jumps up from keyboard, knocks over chair, and runs to sample crock pot lau lau currently bubbling away in kitchen).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's a long way from Pennsylvania to Hawaii.....

and apparently worth it to Debbie Rogge and her family who traveled from the East Coast to the Big Island! She was kind enough to send this in to us:

Amazing amenities that just made our trip that much more amazing and local places to visit (Tide Pools, Black Sand Beach). The awesomeness of being so close to the ocean and seeing the sea turtles every evening!! The house provided us the luxury of space, quietness, plenty of room to spread out, adventure outside on the lava, in the local park - local town - Pahoa. Just amazing location in Hilo. I would recommend Hilo to anyone - most tropical and quiet part of the Big Island!!

For more information, give us a call at 808-965-0400 7 days a week!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


This place is truly a secret magical wonder in Hawaii. Very old Hawaii feel to this area and we didnt even get in our car. The house had everything we needed except more time. As a Hawaii resident of 31 years this is now my favorite place. The house is in the perfect spot. And although not ocean front you can hear the waves. Very private pool, so clean and crystal.If you do visit please remember to respect the area and the locals. Malama Hawaii

-Flaunn Elderjamieson-Kailua Kona

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Magical Memories on Maui

We absolutely loved our condo at Kihei Surfside. There was a million dollar view at an affordable price. The condo was clean and offered all the comforts of home. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and hoped that everything would be perfect, and it was!

(Nice review from Montemayor from Illinois!)

Friday, June 25, 2010


Bargain hunters take note:
This summer on Maui at our Kihei Akahi units, we have discounted rates due to a repaving project at the complex. It just started on 6/23 and goes to 9/19!!!!
We just don't know what the impact will be during any given dates - it may have little impact or it may cause an inconvenience. There may be noise and/or odor from the re-paving, and you might need to walk to the condo from another part of the complex. We have been told that the contractor will always try to leave someplace in the complex to park, but it is possible that on rare occasions it may be necessary to park outside the complex and walk to the unit. We simply cannot predict exactly what will be required.

BUT HEY......
$79 A NIGHT?????

And a killer sunset view!!!!
We even have $59 and $69 a night condos!!!!
Book online at or call us at 808-965-0400

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hilo Town

Having lived in Hawaii now for 10 years, and spending quite a bit of time on all the main islands, I have grown to love the charm and simplicity of little Hilo Town on the Big Island. There is no other real town area like Hilo. Kauai has Hanalei, Maui has Paia and Makawao, and Oahu has Haleiwa, but these charming places cater mostly to tourists, and don't offer as much of a sense of community where locals go to gather, eat, be entertained as Hilo does. (My opinion of course!).

Hilo has some tourist shops, but it also has our vibrant Hilo Farmers Market, the Historic Palace Theater, the Kress $1 movies!, Koehnens Fine Furniture, and small local mom and pop shops and restaurants. Even the Ebesagawa Sisters have their semi-open air flower shop there; I don't know how long they've been there, but it's a very long time! There are lots of historic buildings that front Hilo Bay (there's something nice about buildings that have names and dates on them). A stroll along Kamehameha Ave takes you back in time. No Starbucks, Pottery Barns, J Crew, or even McDonalds here.
Lots of people talk about the 'real Hawaii.' I'm not sure what that means, but I know when I'm downtown Hilo people you pass say 'aloha' and the when you buy something from a local merchant they really mean it when they say 'MAHALO!' It's also nice when the people you pass on the street are a mix of people that live here AND visitors......not everyone is a tourist!
We like that in a town!

So to experience the charm of another time, come walk along the bay in little Hilo town!

Our favorite not to be missed places are: Aloha Luigi's on Keawe Street (killer chicken caesar salads!), the Historic Palace Theater (always something going on including HAWAIIANA LIVE every Wednesday morning at 11 am showcasing local talent), the Tsunami Museum, and the Farmer's Market every Wednesday and Sunday.
And of course, when you are looking for accommodations, check us out at

Monday, June 14, 2010


LAGOON HOUSE - The#1 property in East Hawaii!!!!!!!!!!! RARE OPENING 6/24-27. All we can say is don't hesitate...........reserve it NOW!!!
Words and even pictures cannot describe this incredible experience swimming in a huge private aquarium.

  • Special last minute rate: $275
  • Cleaning fee: $150
Call 808.965.0400 or see

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Seattle Guests just love us!

We get great reviews from guests from Seattle! We've gotten three in just in 2 days! This just came in from the McKinney family about Orchid Elua
This was a wonderful house on a small tidal pool. It was a bit of a drive from Hilo, but worth it for the lush surroundings. The house was very clean, well stocked with linens and beach toys and a great place for our family to return to after each day's activities. I would highly recommend it (and already have!)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pupus on the lanai!

When you’re on Maui, you invite friends to watch the sunset wherever you are. No better place than the top floor of Kihei Akahi! Good friends, gorgeous view and yummy pupus.

These photos were taken right from the lanai at Kihei Akahi D-614! And this summer you can stay there for an outrageous rate of $79!!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


We just received this email from a couple who stayed Kapoho for the first time!

We are finally checking out...heartbreaking news :( We just want to thank you both for doing such a wonderful job. We are so grateful for your hard work and honesty.

This was the first time I actually swam with a real live's magical!!
Have a wonderful day!!! []
Gregg and O

Friday, May 28, 2010

HawaiiHoliday Check out AlaskaAir's summer fares!

  • $179 Portland to Maui

  • $189 Oakland to Kona

  • Sacramento to Maui $189

  • Fares are each way Go to the website select some dates but then search by the LOW FARE CALENDAR Then check out our sites for a place to stay!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Puffy goes to an art show!

Many people will now be able to enjoy Puffy, the magical star of the pond of Lagoon House, our number one vacation rental on the Big Island! A photo of her and her friends in the Lagoon has just been accepted into the Wailoa Photo Expo which opens on June 4 in Hilo.

And yes, this is the view you see if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who reserve Lagoon House.....hard to get into, but OH, so worth it!!!!

Check out to see Puffy in action!

Having just seen Avatar, I feel compelled to say that the photo above is NOT computer generated.....this is the REAL DEAL!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


JUST IN!!!!!

Alaska Air has some great Hawaii deals that are good between now and June 10. This is about one-half what the airfare will be starting on June 11.

  • Oahu is $149
  • Kauai
  • Big Island are $189.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Air Fares At-A-Glance!

Looking for the best fare to get from here to there? Especially from where you are to Hawaii??? Flexible on your travel dates? Then check out On the very first page, just tell it where you’re flying from and to, pick some general dates in the month you’re interested in, then a full month of fares pops up to the side so you can see the dates with the lowest fare! Pretty cool.
Before you know it you could be here:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Activity Alert! Spelunking on the Big Island

Not long ago, I came across a Big Island blog about exploring the Kazumura Caves in Glenwood and decided that it looked like a fun adventure. As a confirmed lava junkie, I was excited to get a new look at lava, and the Kazumura Caves provide an excellent opportunity.

Take a good look at the light - you won’t be seeing it for a while!

Descent into darkness!

Yet another Big Island superlative, Kazumura Cave is the longest and deepest lava tube in the world. It stretches 40 miles and plunges to depths of 3,614 feet! Geologist guide Harry Schick was incredibly knowledgeable and provided lots of insight into the strange underground formations we encountered, as well as the cave’s strange flora and fauna. He’s so well informed that he’s even written a book on the subject, one of the few of its kind.

Lava does strange things underground!

An underground skylight - but there’s no sky for a long ways up!

There are several tours available – we choose the lightest of them, a 2-hour expedition into the least difficult part of the caves. For the extreme cavers out there, there are a 4 and a 6-hour tour, even requiring repelling down drops of over 40 feet! Well, the ladders on the 2-hour tour were challenging enough with my fear of heights (“But we’re not up HIGH, we’re descending into the DEPTHS!” was Harry’s humorous response to my anxiety), but for those of you with the inclination, the deep tours are sure to prove even more fascinating!

Dr Seuss would be proud of these strange formations!

There are a few requirements for the 2-hour tour: you must wear long pants and boots or tennis shoes. No shorts or open toed shoes are allowed. All spelunkers must be 11 years or older. It’s a good idea to bring a bottle of drinking water, but no food is allowed inside the cave. Warm clothes are also a very good idea – it’s chilly and damp down there. Harry provides the rest of the equipment, including flashlights, carabiners and hard hats. Best of all, the 2-hour tour is only $10 per person - now that’s a deal!!


Call (808) 967-7208 for reservations. The tours operate Monday thru Saturday from 8am to 6pm HST, or visit Harry’s Website for more information.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

AAA Hawaii Takes Lava Boat Tour

AAA Hawaii publishes a bimonthly magazine, cleverly titled AAA Hawaii, and the May/June 2010 issue has a nice article by Bill Harby on a Big Island attraction close to our hearts (and our homes): The Lava Boat. Bill takes the Lava Ocean Adventures excursion to see lava from the Kilauea volcano flowing into the ocean at Kalapana.The article suggests staying in one of our Big Island Vacation Rentals when you visit this part of the island, and our mahalo to Bill and AAA for the recommendation!

We do want to mention that a short time ago the lava flow shifted and is not presently flowing into the ocean, which hasn’t been good news for Lava Ocean Adventures and other lava boat tours. But as Sharene’s blog yesterday pointed out, the lava is now flowing right on the ground very close to the Kalapana viewing area, which is just as exciting (in a different way) as seeing it flow into the ocean. Of course, this too will change so you never know exactly where you may see lava or what form it will take when you visit. But this eruption has been going on continuously since 1983, so we can be pretty confident that lava will be flowing somewhere whenever you come to visit!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

An amazing day on the Big Island......we got a tip that the lava was flowing in areas so close to the hiking trail in Kalapana that you could get within feet of it. (Any closer your eyebrows would singe!). And here it is......of hot, red, oozing, jaw-dropping, lava. Harrison and I went out early in the morning before any other tourists (or security guards who would never let us get this close!). We were humbled and in awe. It's really other-worldly.

Monday, April 26, 2010

So much fun on Maui!!!!

OK, so I've lived in Hawaii for about 10 years and have been going to Maui for over 25 years and have been making reservations at our Maui Condos for the last 7 years! I've always heard about those great snorkeling trips out to the island of Molokini, but never did it myself.....until now! Good fun from the moment you stepped on the boat. Now, maybe they're all like this, but we took the Quicksilver boat and I can't imagine the crews on the competition were as friendly, helpful, funny AND cute as the ones on the Quicksilver!
It happened to be pretty windy the day we went out, but we scored some great whale sightings, and made it out to the little volcano top. They talked us into spending another $10 to get a wet suit (well worth it!) and off we popped into the water (with hundreds of other fish voyeurs!). To be honest, the snorkeling was OK, not mind blowing. And I did feel like I was in a scene from the Titanic with what looked like hundreds of dead bodies floating face down everywhere, but still, it was fun.
Then we went out to turtle town. And NO KIDDING, this is the honest truth, we saw two sea turtles getting it on! The crew decided to turn on some 'mood music' on the loudspeakers, hmmm, maybe it was even Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On!" Too funny.

Lunch was provided and it was OK, but hands down the best part was this very young, hip, clever, talented, and funny crew who also happened to make you feel very safe.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


We call them 'PUKA FILLERS!' Check back here for GREAT if not KILLER rates for the next 30 days for Maui and the Big Island......

Check it out; $99 for a gorgeous ocean view condo right in South Kihei....sunsets from your lanai and steps to Kam II Beach. Two of them open Akahi D614 from 4/2-8 abd Akahi D612 from 4/1-9 THIS IS EASTER WEEK!

Call 808-965-0400 or reserve online at

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wowee, Zowee, Maui!

Wowee, zowee, Maui!!!!! A friend and fan of Hawaii Holiday just sent us these AMAZING whale photos taken from a beach in South Kihei on Maui right by the condos Hawaii Holiday rents!!!! We see lots of whales but these photos are truly incredible!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Great Review on Sunrise House in Kapoho!

Just had to share.....this just came in this morning from guests who stayed 5 days at the Sunrise House in Kapoho at the end of says it all!!! This is just a gem.....

Escape from the stress of the "real world". Relax, unwind and rejuvenate your mind, spirit and soul at this special part of the world. We have always wanted to experience "old Hawaii", and this is probably what it was like many years ago. You'll love the privacy, along with the sounds of the surf, and the private tide pool in the back yard. The perfect place for that romantic get away. We watched the sunrise every morning and the moon rise at night. We were lucky enough to be there with a full moon also. Loved the feeling like no one was around, yet there were neighbors right next door. It is such a tranquil place. Sunrise house had everything we needed. And the little touches, like the fresh flowers and the fruit that was there when we arrived. Mahalo to K.C. for leaving those little touches and making sure our accommodations were very clean when we arrived. It was also a great location on this side of the Big Island. Close to Champagne pond, Kapoho tide pools, Ahalanui warm pool, Issac Hale Beach Park, (where we took a great boat trip "Lava Ocean Adventures"), also Pohoiki warm pool all just a short drive away. Not to mention the great little town of Pahoa with some good places to eat there, with that warm Aloha spirit. Mahalo, for making available and sharing this little piece of paradise with us. Next time we are on the Big Island we will definitely be staying at Sunrise House, just wish we could have had it for a longer stay. Next time will be longer.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tropical Fruits

There is a wonderful abundance and variety of fruits that grow in Hawaii, which is located within the "tropical zone" (between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn). Tropical fruits are those that have their origin in the tropics and require the warmer temperatures of the tropical climate, meaning they won't tolerate a frost. There are literally hundreds of edible tropical fruits! The most well-known are likely the pineapple and the coconut.

Pineapples are of the bromeliad family and there are actually hundreds of variety of pineapple ranging from dwarf size to very large! The most common variety, and those mostly grown in Hawaii, are named "Smooth Cayenne" -- weird name for a pineapple!

The fruit itself begins to appear in January and is generally ready to enjoy in July (at least those in my back yard!). All we did was take the top from a fruit we enjoyed and stuck it in the ground. Literally! Some times it may take a year or two for the plant to bear fruit, but once it does: Y-U-M-M-Y! My favorite is the white variety---suuuuuper sweet!

Coconut trees can be found just about everywhere in Hawaii: along the highway, in the parks as well as in back yards. Depending upon the variety, they'll produce fruit in either 3 years or 6 years. The flavor of the juice of the coconut varies depending upon its age: when a nut is very young, there will be very little flavor. As it ages, the flavor changes, as well as the amount of "flesh" - the white stuff. It first starts out "slimey" and then goes through a gelling process. The older the coconut, the thicker (and drier) the flesh becomes until it begins to sprout. The flesh (oftentimes referred to as "meat") is actually edible in all phases, including when an old nut has sprouted!! Below is a photo of that:

This is when all of the water has turned into flesh. As the sprouting process begins, the hardness begins to soften. The center white part of a sprouted coconut actually resembles the consistency of angelfood cake in appearance! It has a mild sweet flavor, is packed with nutrition and is one of my favorite snacks! A fun recipe is to tear it up into bits, put into a bowl and then drizzle olive oil on it -- tastes similar to popcorn!!

Other tropical fruits include mango, durian, lychee, mangosteen, jackfruit, rambutan, guave, banana, papaya, dragonfruit, star apple, starfruit, passion fruit, and breadfruit. Plus there's more!!

Let me know which you are curious about! I've enjoyed them all!!! ;-)


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

We're on Facebook too!

Aloha Hawaii Holiday Blog followers!

Just wanted to let you know that we are now on Facebook too! If you are a Facebook member, go to the HawaiiHoliday page and become a Fan! We're at

Facebook Fans will be the first to find out about periodic unpublished specials; share travel tips, favorite things to do on Maui & the Big Island and photos!

We look forward to seeing you there! ~ Aloha~

Monday, February 8, 2010

Flying Into Hilo on the Big Island

If you are flying into Hilo (airport code ITO) from Honolulu or Maui, we recommend you sit on the airplane's right-hand side (as you look towards the front of the plane).

As you approach the Big Island, you will usually see the observatories atop the 14,000-foot Mauna Kea (which may even be snow-capped in the winter) along with vast acres of forests and farmland at the lower elevations.

As you travel south along the Hamakua coast (pronounced Ha - ma - koo' - ah), there are numerous waterfalls tumbling over the cliffs into the ocean. Just beautiful!!

You may even see a plume of steam rising from the ocean further south. This would be the entry point of lava from Kilauea!

East Hawaii has so many wonderful sights and activities to enjoy! Check out our website for your Big Island vacation accommodations at and book your piece of paradise today!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Amazing postcard weather in East Hawaii

OK, you've all heard that Hilo gets a lot of rain....and even though most of our oceanfront, oceanview and lagoon houses are located south of Hilo where we get a lot less rain, this winter has been the most amazing weather we have ever seen. Clear skies, gentle trade winds and temperatures in the 70's or low 80's. Blue, blue ocean and lots of whales.

Winter is when we really appreciate living in Hawaii. Come see us! We have lots of places still open where you can get lulled to sleep by the gentle sea breezes......

Monday, January 18, 2010

A satisfied Big Island guest at Hale Ehu Kai!

Kris & Jon Johnson celebrated the New Year in East Hawaii and stayed at one of our premier Big Island oceanfront vacation rental homes just outside of Pahoa: HALE EHU KAI.

Hale Ehu Kai is a nice 2-bedroom home with an expansive oceanfront lanai providing comfortable dining, a relaxing soak in the hot tub, and amazing sunrises.

"Ehu Kai" is Hawaiian for "Sea Spray", and this is what Kris offered about her stay when she returned home to Arizona:

The house lived up to its name of "sea spray"...but it wasn't that way all the time.

We did see whales and turtles everyday! Momma and baby whales were especially close to the house. One day of giant splashing & leaping whales further off. They made for some great pictures!

New Year's Eve was perfect with a full moon, clear sky and just enough fireworks with the neighbor kids!

Breakfast in Pahoa town the first day was wonderful. The little bit of coffee left for us was just right so we didn't have to rush off for breakfast and groceries.

The house was nicer than the pictures!! Thanks, we thought it was great!

Hale Ehu Kai is a favorite among guests and is booked through February. If you're planning on a mid-winter get-away to the Big Island of Hawaii, check out the availability calendar to see if your dates are available!

If they aren't, contact us because there are 30 more great rentals to choose from and we're offering some FANTASTIC DEALS!! Mention this blog and receive an additional $5 off per night!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

High Praise for stay at Kihei Akahi D102!

Mary Ellen Chapman and her family (from Ontario, Canada) enjoyed the Christmas holiday with a 10-night stay on the island of Maui. They chose to stay in one of the 2-bedroom condos we represent at Kihei Akahi for their group of 4.

Here's what she had to say:

This location was great and the walk to the beach provided quiet from the traffic. The actual location on the first floor was great as the peek-a-boo view was nice and yet not too many steps from car to condo with groceries etc.

We were concerned that no A.C. would be a problem, but the ceiling fans and cross br
eeze from entrance door to balcony was awesome!

The kitchen was great and we used the bbq most nights (after 7p.m.).

We had fabulous weather the whole time and really thought of this location as our home away from home.

The Chapmans stayed in unit D-102 at Kihei Akahi which is located directly across the street from the Kamaole II beach in South Maui, just 20 minute's drive from the airport. It is also conveniently located within walking distance to great restaurants, grocery stores and shopping!

This condo can sleep 6, so if you and the family are looking for a place to stay while on Maui, check out our special winter rates on our website: