Archive for December, 2010

December 31, 2010 by, Emily

Every New Years Eve, I compile a list of resolutions, things I want to change about myself or do during the upcoming year. Usually I post this list on my refrigerator and try to follow it pretty closely, though each year I have a few things left over.

Last year, I had a lot of plans. I wanted to visit my brother, take a helicopter tour, learn the guitar, start a blog, ride on a motorcycle, and finally learn to surf. Well, 5 out of 6 isn’t so bad, right? (I still can’t surf….)

This year, I have a whole list of things, some of which I’ll share here.

1. Learn to play the electric bass

2. Find and connect with my best friend from High School

3. Learn to make casseroles

4. Ride on a whale (maybe at Marine World)

5. Write my first novel

6. Learn the art of jewelry making

7. Keep a fish alive for more than two months

8. Plant a garden

9. Be in a serious relationship (or buy a dog)

10. Solve world hunger (It’s always a hope, right?)

11. Visit Washington D.C.

12. Choose a favorite restaurant

Well, that is the short list. There are a lot more, though most are more personal. I like to set goals that I know I can accomplish and throw in a few to strive for. This way, I’m sure to get a lot done and to really work hard at it. (Where’s the satisfaction in accomplishing something if you don’t have to work hard to do it, right?)

Of course, when you write your list, you should include “visit Kauai.” There is a lot to see and a lot to do here on our little island, plus there are a ton of places to stay from local hotels to beautiful vacation rental homes and condos. So come visit Kauai and cross one more thing off your resolutions list.

The Christmas season is behind us, but New Years is just around the corner. And, of course, what better way is there to celebrate the New Year than to take a Hawaiian vacation?! So for those of you who want to visit the island, have I told you about Blu Nui?

Blu Nui is a wonderful vacation rental located right in Hanalei, one of the most popular areas of Kauai. With two bedrooms and one bath, this spacious home rental is perfect for a small family or a couple who want to get away for a while. Let’s talk features.

Blu Nui has just about everything you will need to be comfortable and happy while you’re here. With a full kitchen, high speed Internet, a plasma television with DVD player, a gas grill, a washer/dryer combo, and an expansive yard, this rental has it all. Plus, it’s only a short 5-minute walk to Hanalei Bay, the most beautiful and well-known site in all of Kauai. Now, let’s discuss the house itself.

The first thing you will notice about this rental is the ceiling. This rental has gorgeous cathedral ceilings that give the entire space an open and majestic feel. The floors are bamboo, so you have a Hawaiian feel all throughout the house, and each window offers a stunning view, from mountain landscapes to rainbow-accented waterfalls. There is even a back lanai, covered for your comfort, that looks out upon the tropical gardens. Seriously, what more could you ask for?

This New Year, celebrate in style in your own Kauai vacation rental home. Ring in 2011 with luaus on the beach, surfing lessons for the kids, and romantic dinners in our gourmet restaurants. There truly is no better way to spend a holiday.

December 27, 2010 by, Emily

Do you know the only down-side to going to my family’s for Christmas? No leftovers in the house. Every year, I go and visit someone else during the holidays, and every year I end up at the grocery store within two days. I don’t get the holiday leftovers sitting in my fridge, waiting to be turned into sandwiches. All I have is what I put in before the holidays start, and that isn’t much.

Actually, I usually end up eating out. After all, it’s just not fun to go grocery shopping right after Christmas. It’s too much like going to work for me. So I hang out with friends and eat out as much as I can.

Yesterday, my boyfriend took me to Monico’s Kinipopo Shopping Center and we had a great time window shopping and grabbing a bite. They have some of the best Mexican food on the island in this shopping center, and I eat there pretty often. (You might not know this about me, but I love Mexican food!) We went to Monico’s Taqueria and I had a couple enchiladas and a Coke. So good.

After we ate, we took a drive to the beach and played in the sand for a while. The best part of living on Kauai is that the water is still warm, even right after Christmas. Then he drove me home. It was a wonderful day.

Today, I think I’ll grab a burger at the resort. It’s still too close to Christmas to allow grocery shopping into my schedule. Plus, I am craving a bit of red meat and I don’t feel like cooking. God bless the food on this island.

December 25, 2010 by, Emily

Merry Christmas everyone! I know that you probably have a lot more to do today than reading this blog, but I just wanted to post a quick few sentences while I have the chance.

The Christmas season is a time when families come together, people are just a bit nicer to one another, and everyone tries for a little peace on earth. But you know what, everyone goes back to normal within a week. It’s something I’ve noticed year after year, and it’s something that I think should be stopped.

While here on Kauai, we have the spirit of Aloha on our side, sadly even our own people get caught up in their own problems, selfish motives, and insincere speech. Throughout the year, we lie to one another, cheat, steal, and blunder our way through life. Then on Christmas, we come together and all is well with the world for a week or two.

But what if we acted like that all the time?

This 2011, let’s keep the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of Aloha alive all year long, working extra hard to exude peace and good will to all men.

Merry Christmas everyone!

During the month of December, I know that most people write solely about Christmas and the New Year. But I also know that there are people who want to come to Kauai for more than our holiday decorations. So this is for you.

If you are coming to visit Kauai, then there is a place you must visit: The Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge. This area is a beautiful spot where you can see seabirds from every island in the Hawaiian island chain. These tropical birds are big and easy to see as you walk through the 203 acre refuge, and you will love hearing the birds’ native calls as they ring through the lush tropical growth.

You have probably heard me mention the Kilauea Lighthouse before? Well, this lighthouse, founded in 1913, is located in the refuge. So while you’re visiting the hiking trails and watching the humpback whales, monk seals, and spinner dolphins play in the water, you can also see one of the most popular lighthouses in Hawaii.

If you are a bird-watcher, then you will love searching for all the species that nest at the refuge, including the Great Frigate bird, the Laysan Albatross, the Red-footed Booby, the Brown Booby, Newell’s Shearwater, the Wedge-tailed Shearwater, the White-tailed Tropicbird, and the Red-tailed Tropicbird. All of these birds are prevalent in the refuge and are easily spotted by experienced watchers and inexperienced watchers alike.

While there are many places on the island that I would recommend visiting, this one is a great spot for families and animal lovers of all ages.

December 17, 2010 by, Emily

During the holiday season, I have several traditions, things that I like to do every year. I decorate the house the day after Thanksgiving with all of the stuff I’ve collected over the years, from ornaments I’ve been given to hand-made decorations from local stores. Then, the next morning, I start working on my Christmas newsletter.

My newsletter is always a page long with several pictures. I love catching everyone up on what has been going on with me and my family, and I love taking pictures! So between those two things, I’m pretty much in the zone.

I try to send the newsletter out by December 5th, that way everyone gets it. And then I go caroling with a large group of friends. We sometimes go to neighborhoods, sometimes to schools, and occasionally to the beach. After a long evening of singing, we stop at Kilauea video store for gelato on the way home. It’s the best gelato on the island.

On Christmas Eve, I always throw a big party for my friends. While family is a blood bond, friends are the family we choose. I have a few very close friends, and I always buy them a little something, something that fits them perfectly. I hate buying generic gifts; if it doesn’t fit just right, I don’t buy it.

Then on Christmas, I visit with my family. Sometimes we all travel to New York to see my brother, but usually I go to my parent’s house and eat lunch with them. We open presents as a family, watch a movie together with popcorn and hot cocoa, and then spend the evening playing games. It’s a wonderful day, and I love sharing it with those I love.

Have you ever heard of Spouting Horn Park? Well, that’s okay. Most people who haven’t been to Kauai have never heard of it. It is a fun tourist location on the island, however, and great for a family trip.

Spouting Horn Park is located on Kauai’s south shore near Poipu. It is an interesting location because of the blowhole that releases a spout of water up to 60 feet high! The blowhole was made long ago by the island volcano. Formed by natural lava tubes that lead to the water, when the Poipu surf channels into these tubes, a hiss will be heard, a roar will commence, and a jet of water will blast into the sky. It is truly a sight to see.

In the way of a little history, ancient Hawaiians always thought that this spot on the island was guarded by a giant mo’o named Kaikapu. A mo’o is a lizard, and long ago a mo’o named Kaikapu used to eat the fisherman and swimmers on the island. One day, Liko (an island man) was near that area and Kaikapu attacked. Liko quickly dove into the water and escaped from the mo’o through the lava tubes, and the crafty mo’o went after him. But misjudging the size of the tubes, Kaikapu got stuck and could not escape from the lava tunnels.

Slowly over the course of months or perhaps years, Kaikapu died. Whenever the water would rush through the tubes, the hissing and roaring noises of the pressurized water would sound like their ancient enemy, thrashing in pain and roaring with hunger as it sat trapped by the rocks.

Now, of course, we know there was no giant lizard, and Spouting Horn Park is one of the most popular tourist locations on the island. Plus, if you visit at sunset, the views from the lookout are amazing. You can see the jet of water rise against the sky and even view the humpback whales migrating off the coast. I would recommend this spot to any tourist coming to the island.

December 13, 2010 by, Emily

Let’s talk beauty for a moment. Over the years, I’ve had a chance to see many tourists to our island comment on its beauty. They love the ocean, the mountains, the lush tropical forests, the flowers, and the sky. However, they most often use the word beautiful on the waterfalls.

Since one purpose of this blog is to direct tourists to the best places to visit on the island, I think it’s time we discussed Wailua Falls. Wailua Falls is a sight to see. Dropping over 80 feet into the Wailua River on the southeast shore of Kauai, this waterfall is truly beautiful and magnificent. And it comes with an interesting history.

In ancient times, this waterfall was the sight of courage and nobility. It is here where the island royalty use to prove their worth, diving from the top of the waterfall into the river to show strength, honor, courage, and the ability to lead without thought for self. If you could give up everything for the island, then you had the right to rule the island. While this was a dangerous and often life-threatening journey, it was culturally significant and a place of respect for the natives.

Of course, it didn’t always stay a place of utmost respect. Many tourists will recognize the waterfall from the TV show Fantasy Island, where it was used consistently by the show and made famous across the United States.

Luckily for most tourists and visitors to the island, Wailua Falls is easy to access. Unlike many Kauai waterfalls that require hours of hiking and a machete to reach, you simply need to drive up the road to the main turnout for Wailua River State Park, found on any map. You can clearly see the waterfall from this vantage point, so no hiking is necessary. However, if you want to hike a bit, you can get a truly close inspection of the falls.

Be careful, however. The trail to the base of the falls is steep and slippery. This is not something I would recommend attempting with small children.

Okay, if you and your family are going to be staying with us over the Christmas holidays and you want to see everything Kauai has to offer from Christmas events to water sports, then you need to find a great vacation rental. That’s where I come in. And I can tell you that, hands down, the best rental for a family of four is Puu Poa 102 off Ka Haku Road in Princeville.

This beautiful two-bedroom home has a king-sized bed for you and two twins for your kids. It was recently updated, so everything is new and perfect for tourists. Let’s take a pretend walk through the house, shall we?

First of all, the living room is perfectly decorated for comfort and spaciousness. With a large flat screen television and a substantial DVD library already stocked, you might have a hard time leaving the house. The kitchen is also well designed, with a center island for additional counter space and all of the appliances and equipment you’ll need to cook in instead of eating out. This is perfect for a family on a budget who cannot eat out for every meal.

With two bathrooms, you will not have to fight over the shower, and with two lanais you will have more than enough room to relax with your morning cup of coffee or tea. In addition to these practical details, this vacation rental also includes a shared pool, a shared tennis court, high-speed internet, and a panoramic view of the ocean. That’s right! This home away from home is on the bluffs overlooking the beautiful waters of Kauai. So you will never be far from a spectacular ocean view.

All in all, this really is the perfect place for a family of four to stay. The price is reasonable, at only $1,200 per week the last time I checked, which is much better than a stay at a hotel with their limited amenities. Plus, you will get to eat meals together and watch movies together in your own place. Sometimes togetherness is worth its weight in gold.

This last Wednesday, I went on another date. But this time I knew in advance where we were going and what we’d be doing. We went to see Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific at the Kauai Beach Resort in Lihue! It was a wonderful experience and a great date, for those of you who are thinking of doing the same.

I’m so excited about this, and for several reasons. For one thing, I’d never been to see this play before. While this live stage production has been going for years, and I’ve heard many great things about it, I’d never taken the time to see it myself. Based on the original Broadway show by the same name, South Pacific on Kauai was said to be a must see, and now I’ve finally gotten to see it! (And they were right – a definite must see!)

Another reason I’m excited is that I love history. I’ve studied it in school and I’ve explored many places on our little island to get a firmer grasp of how things were and how things have changed. It’s something that I very much enjoy doing. Well, Kauai was the original filming location for this movie back in the 1950’s, so this is part of our island’s history. It’s what made us famous in Hollywood, attracting movie stars and songwriters to our little island over the course of the last few decades. How exciting is that?!

Finally, I can finally officially recommend this play to visitors and tourists to the island. While I’ve been tempted to write about it before, I didn’t want to say “I’ve heard it’s great” only to have tourists come back from a viewing disappointed. Well, I highly doubt that will happen. If you like musicals or live entertainment, this play will have you fully engrossed and singing right along.

So let me give you some details. As I’ve already mentioned, the play is every Wednesday evening at the Kauai Beach Resort in Lihue. Check-in time starts at 5:15 and the doors open at 5:30. I recommend getting there right at 5:15 in case there is a big crowd. There will be a buffet-style dinner served around 5:45, so you will be fed before the show. Then, one hour later, the play will begin. For a rough time estimate, the play was a little over two hours long. I think we left around 9pm and got home before 9:30, so plan for a full evening and enjoy!

Every year in the month of December, the people of Kauai prepare for Christmas. Just like every other place is the world, we celebrate with our families, decorate with lights and holly, and enjoy the spirit of Christmas, which just happens to be the spirit of aloha!

December is a great time of year to visit our island. Not only is it whale watching season and a great time to see the natural wonders of our tropical climate, but it is also the time when the Festival of Lights begins.

The Festival of Lights is an annual event at the historic County Building in Lihue. This year, the festival will run from December 3rd through December 26th, giving everyone a chance to experience holiday aloha. Of course, entrance is free for everyone, so you can bring your whole family.

Last year when I went, I learned all about Auntie Josie Chansky, a woman who was beloved on the island and was well-known for her excellent decorating style around the holidays. In fact, Auntie Josie was so involved in Christmas decorating that she made her own Christmas decorations and tree ornaments out of whatever she could find. Her home was always a place to visit around Christmas time, as it would be filled with holiday cheer and a lot of decorative charm.

Today, the Festival of Lights preserves Auntie Josie’s memory and serves to capture the hearts and imaginations of visitors. Many of the original Chansky House decorations are on display during this festival, handmade Christmas decorations made from found objects with love. And of course many Festival of Lights volunteers have also made decorations, giving the festival a holiday cheer all its own.

If you are going to be on Kauai during the month of December, then I highly recommend visiting this festival. And if you haven’t yet made holiday plans, keep in mind that Kauai can be your home away from home. We will welcome you with the spirit of aloha and the spirit of Christmas.

December 6, 2010 by, Emily

Today I went on a date with a good friend to Haena. It was a lunch date, so it wasn’t too formal. Therefore, I didn’t really dress up too much. However, he surprised me when we got there by taking me to the Mediterranean Gourmet Restaurant!

The restaurant itself is at the Hanalei Colony Resort, and I’ve only eaten there a handful of times since it opened in 2006. In fact, I’m pretty sure we went there because I mentioned wanting to try it again some time ago before we were dating. I guess he remembered.

This wonderful Mediterranean Gourmet Restaurant is a north shore favorite, especially among the natives and permanent residents of Kauai. Voted the best restaurant on Kauai for 5 years running, it is one of the few places were you can get gourmet food from across the world and enjoy a fine dining experience. There are dishes on the menu from many different countries, so you can enjoy Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, and Middle Eastern influenced dishes as well as classic Pacific Rim favorites. It’s the perfect place for a night out on the town or a surprise lunch date.

We sat down right next to the window, so I could see the entire oceanfront and watch the waves. Lunchtime was pretty relaxed, so I didn’t feel underdressed or overly spoiled, which is good because this was a first date. We simply tried a couple dishes, stole from the other one’s plate, and enjoyed the atmosphere. Our server was gracious, friendly, and efficient, and our food was quick in coming. Overall, everything about the restaurant was perfect.

If you are visiting the island, I would definitely recommend this place. You can come here for a romantic dinner or simply bring your family for some great food. I know that I want to go back, especially if I can return with the same guy.

Okay, I know that it sounds strange, but I’ve actually heard this argument before: I can’t vacation on Kauai this summer because (insert movie title here) is coming out! Yeah. I think the first time I experienced that excuse was when one of the Harry Potter movies was on its way to theaters. Well, for those of you who are movie buffs and simply cannot miss your favorite premiers, I have one piece of information for you:

We have movie theaters too.

Sure, our movie theaters are a bit different. For one thing, we only charge $8 per adult for showings and $5 for matinees. While some of you mainlanders will find that hard to believe, it’s true. We simply will not charge you a fortune to watch a movie. That’s silly.

And yes, we only have two movie theaters. My favorite is in Lihue, mostly because it is the closest one to my house and saves me some driving. Unfortunately for those who are vacationing in the north, that means you’ll have to drive too. But the island is small and getting somewhere doesn’t take forever. Give it 30 minutes and you will be there.

So if you want to see your favorite new summer blockbuster, come to Kauai. My favorite theater is Kukui Grove Four in the Kukui Grove Marketplace near Kukui Grove mall. Here, you will get your tropical island vacation and you’ll still be able to bask in Hollywood culture.

The most popular area of Kauai is probably Princeville, especially for the tourists. So let’s discuss a vacation rental in the Princeville area that you will love: Hale Honu 8B.

This lovely rental home isn’t too big and isn’t too small. Updated into a 2-story townhome, this private place is perfect for a normal-sized family, equipped with three bedrooms and one and a half baths. There is free high speed internet, three televisions, and a stocked cabinet of DVDs. So if the day is stormy and wet, you can stay indoors and enjoy a comfortable day at home.

However, if the day is nice, don’t waste it indoors. Not only are you in Princeville, one of the most popular spots on the island, but if you are in Hale Honu 8B you have a ton of beach equipment and supplies at your fingertips. Go learn to surf, enjoy the sun, play on the beach, snorkel near the reef, and enjoy your vacation. There is more to do on Kauai than any other island in the Hawaiian island chain, so you’ll never run short of things to do.

From this vacation rental, you can have access to championship golf courses, popular restaurants, the best beaches on the island, and a ton of fun festivals that range from the traditional to the touristy. There are always activities going on, from luaus to beach volleyball tournaments, so have some fun and enjoy your vacation.