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If you have never heard of the Kilohana Plantation, then this blog is for you. This place is like an island wonderland, especially if you’ve never been there before. It’s full of events, surprises, crafts, beautiful landscaping, and several different forms of entertainment.
First of all, you should know that this plantation house has been around since 1935. Mark Potter, a renowned British architect at that time, designed it to be used by the Wilcox family. Going with a modern look, this 16,000 square foot home is filled with high quality furnishings purchased in San Francisco. Talk about not skimping on the details, this home was decorated beautifully and built for comfort. It is also huge!
The house contains several art galleries, collections of the Wilcox family from world-renown artists. There are also a few shops on the property where you can find any number of high quality items from handcrafted Hawaiian traditional pieces to t-shirts, all made on Kauai. There is always something to see when at the Wilcox house.
Of course, that’s only the start of the fun. The property includes 35 acres of grounds, much of which is surrounded by lush tropical flowers and pasturelands. There is a railway that runs the length of the property, giving you a real tour of the farm, a farm that is still fully functioning. From the train, you can stop to pet the animals and see how things are run. And then of course there are craft demonstrations, more shopping opportunities, Hawaiian games, farm fresh fruit sampling, Koloa Rum, and the best restaurant you will ever find complete with a lavish buffet. You can also participate in a realistic Imu ceremony!
But perhaps the most exciting aspect of this historic location is the Luau Kalamaku. I have personally had the privilege of watching this fantastic display, a story and dance that represents the oral traditions of our culture. Tourists especially will love this exotic island experience since it’s family friendly and children under 2 years old are admitted free.
When you visit the Kilohana Plantation, you immerse yourself in a different culture, a different world. You learn about plantation life, relax in a luxuries home full of fun and shopping opportunities, and enjoy dazzling entertainment. This is definitely the place to go if you have a day or two to spend on Kauai.
For those of you who have never really had the opportunity to stretch out on the beach, I recommend taking a vacation to Kauai. Today I spent the most wonderful couple of hours soaking up some sun and watching the beach crowd. It wasn’t just relaxing; it was educational.
For instance, I learned that most tourists look downright lost when they get to the beach. They look around a lot, scouting out a good location to lie down and watching the waves for dangerous surf. They keep an extra sharp eye on their children, refusing to let them swim out too far or sometimes to even get in the water without an adult. And they pile on the sunscreen like it’s going out of style.
The natives on the beach are extremely relaxed. They already know “their spot” and they go straight to it. They don’t keep an eagle eye on their children, though they do glance about for them from time to time. They also ignore sunscreen, as most of them are very tan.
Now, in my opinion, I think these two groups can learn from one another. The natives in the area should know how dangerous undertow can be and keep a better eye on their children. Perhaps they are keeping a close eye and I just didn’t see it. But for the most part, I appreciate the parenting skills of the tourists.
But the tourists should learn a bit about relaxation from the natives. I mean, why come on vacation if you are going to worry the entire time? Where is the sense in that? I spent a few hours on the beach soaking up the sun and so did the tourists, but at the end of the day I looked more at ease. So if you are a future Kauai tourist, remember this: keep an eye on your children but have fun. Most people only get a Hawaiian vacation once in their lives, and you don’t want to spoil yours by worrying.
Here is something I never thought I’d say: I’ve joined a workout class. Well, maybe joined is a bit strong of a word, but I went to a workout class, which is better than I’ve ever done before.
Usually, my idea of working out involves lifting a really heavy book and reading it or walking up and down the stairs when I have to do my laundry. I have always hated physical activities that aren’t fun or distracting in some way like snorkeling or zip-lines. Workout classes that involve staring at an instructor in a white room while stretching just don’t invoke a sense of enjoyment in me.
And then I stepped on the scale…
It’s amazing how many principles I threw out the window when that little digital number told me I was DEFINITELY bigger than a breadbox. I suddenly believed that fruit was good for more than just looking nice in a bowl and exercise was no longer the absolute bane of my existence.
And so I found myself in a yoga class Tuesday morning, bright and early at 8:30am, trying to blend in with a small crowd of very limber people. I’d called in advance, asking the important questions like what to wear and what to bring. So I didn’t look completely out of place in my sweat pants and tank top. It was my complete lack of exercise mat that showed the entire room that I was new. I knew I had forgotten something.
Luckily for me, Diane (that’s the instructor) had an extra mat I could borrow and soon I was exploring the limits of my flexibility. While there were several advanced students in the class, I was able to follow along with a small section of beginners. And while I wasn’t very good, none of them laughed, which was nice.
So, I think I’ll go back and continue to do this whole yoga thing. After all, it sounds a lot easier than kickboxing and I think I could really enjoy the peaceful and meditative aspects of the exercises.
I heard today from a couple friends who came to the island for last Sunday’s wedding. They stayed in a vacation rental that I recommended, Malolo Cottage, and they wanted to let me know how their stay went. Their reviews were glowing! Here are the details.
I recommended Malolo because of its charm, its size, and its price. With regards to its charm, the cottage is a smaller rental with a ton of character. Georgia and her husband are both creative, and I knew that this cottage would inspire them with its down-home feel and cozy nature. Plus, they told me that they didn’t want anything too big, since their plans involved being gone everyday with some new activity or wedding plan. The cottage’s studio layout was perfect for their needs and offered far more amenities than a hotel room.
Speaking of amenities, what the cottage lacks in space, it more than makes up for in comfort. There is a TV, a full kitchen, ceiling fans, a washer and dryer, high speed internet, vintage Koa furniture, an indoor shower as well as an outdoor shower, and a BBQ for outdoor cooking. Georgia’s husband LOVES to BBQ, so he definitely had a great time making every meal out on the patio. On the very first day of their stay, I introduced them to the local fish market, and after that they literally ate every meal at home, other than a few lunches out with the wedding party.
The price was only $850 a week, which fit perfectly into their budget. And it allowed them to stay for the full week without having to leave early. That was a huge bonus since they love to experience new things and they had never been to Kauai before. Staying the week allowed them to be involved in every aspect of the wedding, as well as getting a few days off to see the sites, visit the landmarks, and experience mountain tubing! (I just had to recommend it after I went the other week. Too much fun!)
When they called me from home, they simply couldn’t say enough good things about the cottage and the whole visit. In fact, they want to come out again, staying in another cottage or condo and seeing even more of Kauai. I, of course, volunteered to be their tour guide. They are both very fun people and it would be great to get more time with them.
This last Sunday was a great time for weddings. In fact, I got several wedding invitations for that day and had to turn down two other friends. I guess that getting married on 10/10/10 was a big deal, and rightly so. I mean, the married women I know are constantly complaining that their husbands tend to forget anniversaries. Well, who could forget 10/10/10?
The wedding itself took place just a few minutes up the road from my house at the Hanalei Bay Resort. It was a garden wedding, with the bride and groom standing up on the hill near a flowering tree, their black and white attire a beautiful contrast to the vibrant colors around them. The bride, a beautiful young woman from the area, was a native all of her life, but her groom was new to the area. They had fallen in love slowly over the last two years, he the tall white guy that sunburned easily and was constantly awkward and she the beautiful tan surfer girl with a passion for the island. It was like a storybook or a movie of some kind, though the movie would have never done them justice.
I think it was their differences that brought them together, especially after he tripped over her at a party and soaked her dress with his drink. He tried so hard to help her get cleaned up, but he just kept getting in the way. By the time he was done, she was still soaked and was laughing infectiously, causing him to lighten up as well. They became fast friends after that, and soon their friendship turned into much more.
I was at the party with them that night and saw this moment coming for some time. We all knew that they were perfect for each other, like two halves of a whole that wasn’t yet completed. And watching them say their vows on Sunday was a great reminder of the nature of love: two completely different people finding joy in each other.
The wedding was also nice in another way, though this one is a bit more personal. When I get married, I think I’ll do it at the resort as well. It was a gorgeous wedding and the reception was also beautiful. The resort staff did a great job ensuring that the bride and groom had everything they needed, and the resort provided housing for out-of-town guests. All in all, it was the perfect wedding package, and I’m going to remember that for future reference.
Last Saturday evening, I went to JJ’s Broiler and had a wonderful time. I invited a few friends out to dinner, mostly because I didn’t want to drive to Lihue by myself. Sure, it isn’t too far away, but since my brother went home, I’ve been a bit more prone to spending time with friends. Plus, I thought they would really enjoy what I had in mind.
We got to JJ’s a little after 6pm, and we ate a ton of savory seafood outside on the patio. JJ’s has a great view of the ocean and the atmosphere was festive but peaceful as we enjoyed our meals. Then, around 7:00, we went upstairs for the Songwriter Showcase.
The Songwriter Showcase is scheduled for every Saturday evening this month, a time when up-and-coming songwriters and musicians from around the island can demonstrate their skills and sing to their heart’s content. However, this isn’t like Karaoke night at the local pub. This evening of original music is a planned event, featuring Lynn and Thayne Taylor with NTO.
Anyway, the evening was a big hit with my friends. What they didn’t know came as a big shock: Saira’s cousin was there singing a new song that she wrote about our adventures together. It was a big hit. Of course, she wasn’t the only performer of the evening. Several acts got the spotlight, from jazz and blues artists to Hawaiian traditional and rock music. It was a fun evening and we never knew what exactly to expect. Of course, that’s the way that I like it.
On the drive home, several of my friends announced that they will be returning to JJ’s this next weekend to watch the showcase. I think I’ll probably go with them. After all, there’s really nothing better on a Saturday night than a great group of friends, some live music, and some amazing food.