Archive for May, 2011

May 29, 2011 by, Emily

Today I ate lunch at Hanalei Gourmet, a casual dining place in Hanalei not far from where I work. I’ve eaten there before, but I don’t think I’ve ever written about it. So here is my chance.

If you are from the mainland, you’ll love this place. It’s mostly American-style food with a bit of Hawaii thrown in. You can get anything from a burger to a roasted eggplant sandwich, which is actually quite good. And this place is always packed, probably because the food is good and the television is large.

Located in the Old Hanalei Schoolhouse, the wooden floors, benches, and blackboards make this setting rustic and old school. But the best part is the live music that happens each night. Live music is always a big draw, right?

So if you want some tasty food, try this place when you are in town.

May 29th is just around the corner, which means that you should plan early if you want to attend the Banana Poka Round Up. What is the Banana Poka Round Up? Well, it is a forest education fair all about a weed. No, I’m being serious. The entire fun and wacky event centers on an annoying and hard to kill pest from South America.

The Banana Poka vine is an immigrant to our shores, and it continually threatens the health of our Hawaiian forests. However, it’s also gorgeous with beautiful pink blossoms and can be used as an excellent crafting material. So why celebrate this annoying vine? My answer: why not?

Anytime is a great time to have a grand Hawaiian-style festival, right? Plus, at this one you can learn to make a basket out of this intrusive little plant. More event features include live music, exhibits for environmental organizations, face-painting, hiking, crafts, and a crowing contest! It’s crazy fun in the Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow of Kokee State Park.

Honestly, kids will get the most out of this event. So if you have children and want a place where they can learn about nature and have a lot of fun for free, you simply have to go.

If you and your significant other want to find a home away from home on your trip to Kauai, then I might have the perfect spot for you. Sealodge E4 is a smaller condo on the island with only one bedroom and one bathroom. While most condos will cost you a fortune for a bunch of extra space, this condo is spacious enough for 2-4 people and is perfect for a honeymoon trip, anniversary surprise, or romantic getaway. And it’s only $800 a week! Try finding a hotel room for that.

But that’s not the only way this condo surpasses a hotel room. Think about this: how many people stay in a hotel every day? For a large hotel, there are hundreds. And everyday you are in a hotel, you see these people and they see you, in the restaurants, the lounges, and on the elevators. Most of the time, you can even hear your neighbors through the walls! Don’t you want a bit of privacy?

And lets talk about space. When you rent a hotel room, you are getting a couple hundred square feet at most. Usually the room is tiny, with only enough space for a bed, a dresser, and a bathroom. But with a condo, you get a full house to yourself with a private room, bathroom, living room, dining room, fully equipped kitchen, lanai (patio), and even a backyard. Not to mention the fact that this particular unit (Sealodge E4) has a shared pool and free cable tv.

Now lets talk about the view. Many tourists have told me that they love hotel rooms because they are high up and have a great view. Well, that’s not always the case. Usually, if you want your hotel room to have a view, you have to pay a bit more. One visitor told me that she paid extra to be in a hotel room with a window and then ended up facing other buildings instead of the ocean. And there is always the chance that you will be in a hotel room that is on the second or third floor. Not a great view from such a low vantage point.

But with this condo, you will be located right on Kaui’s coastline. You’ll see the Kilauea lighthouse, expansive reefs, and a full view of the ocean. Why? Well, this property was built right on the ocean bluff in Princeville. And, because its in Princeville, you will only be a short drive away from great shopping, excellent restaurants, spa services, Hanalei Town, and several beaches and hiking trails. The list of things to do in this area is endless, and you will be close to it all.

So start planning your romantic getaway today and keep Sealodge E4 in mind when you do.

May 21, 2011 by, Emily

Well, it looks like we might be getting a new pavilion here on Kauai’s north shore. Building permits have been submitted for a sight in Kilauea where William and Joan Porter have been wanting to build a large outdoor amphitheater, indoor auditorium, conference room, and certified kitchen. Up until this point, I wasn’t sure the plans would go through. Now, though, it is looking much more likely.

The homeowners in the area have been fighting the new project, as most homeowners would be if someone tried to put a large amphitheater in their backyards. However, I am not so sure that the pavilion is a bad idea. If it gets built, chances are that more entertainment venues will be coming to the north shore and the economy will get a sizeable boost. While I don’t want the noise of an outdoor amphitheater in my backyard either, the idea of concert tours, big performances, and local festivals all coming to Kilauea is appealing.

Now what will this mean for the visitors to our fine island? Well, nothing for a while. I’m sure plans will come together only after all concerns are heard and demands from the public are met. But when it goes up, this pavilion will probably bring many more fun activities to our shores, which means I’ll be writing a lot more and you’ll have a lot more to do.

So, to the residents who live close by, I’m truly sorry. But for the vacationers who are coming to visit, this pavilion might be exactly what you’re looking for.

The 10th annual Kauai Polynesian Festival is coming up, and if you are going to be visiting Kauai, you really shouldn’t miss it. Starting on the 26th of this month and going until the 29th, this festival will be a time of fun and family friendly activities that everyone will enjoy.

Located at the Vidinha Stadium soccer field, the Polynesian Festival will reach for the stars, especially on the first night with a “Polynesian Evening of Stars.” During this evening ceremony, the festival will truly begin with protocol ceremonies, music, and a talent competition. Then, throughout the rest of memorial day weekend, there will be live entertainment, arts and crafts activities, a farmers market, dance competitions, games, food booths, workshops, water slides, and just about anything else you can imagine.

The festival is a time where natives and visitors alike can come together and enjoy the spirit of aloha. Everyone is welcome and no one will be turned away. I have gone the last couple of years with friends and have really enjoyed it; there is always something new to see or do at these festivals. And the price is affordable: $10 per day or $35 for all four days. Children usually get in free if they are under five years old.

While there are many festivals that happen throughout the year on Kauai, the Polynesian festival is one of my favorites. Not only do visitors get to have a “Polynesian Experience,” but the true culture of Kauai is also represented in multiple ways. I love it when the old traditions combine with new delights. The result is always worth paying for.

I’ve written before about surfing and kayaking and many other water sports involving boards and paddles. But what about a sport that puts paddles together with surf boards? Sounds interesting, right?

Stand up paddle boarding is a new type of tour that you can do on our island. Picture the calming waters of a placid river. There is lush vegetation all around you and beautiful waterfalls in hidden locations just waiting to be found. And now picture yourself on a Surftech board with a paddle in your hand, standing on the water and making your way toward an adventure.

This water adventure is easy to participate in and fun to try. The board and paddle will be specifically chosen for you and lessons will be given before you set off with the rest of the tour group. From there, you will make your way two miles down the river, enjoying the views of the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge and the ever-rising mountains. After two miles, you’ll step from board to shore and go for a hike to the lovely Blue Pool, spending some time there splashing in the clear waters and playing on the Water Zip, a platform with a zipline that allows you to jump right into the middle of the pool.

This tour is fun and family friendly. And you don’t even have to paddle on the way back. A motorized canoe will tow you all the way back home while you sit and enjoy the scenery. All you have to do is contact Outfitters Kauai and make your reservations.

Now, if you’ve read my blog before, you know that I can’t surf. Yes, I am the one Hawaiian who is completely awkward on a surfboard. But this sport I can do! It’s easy and fun, especially if you bring your family or a few friends with you. So don’t miss out on this tour. Come and see for yourself how easy it is to have fun on the water.

Did you know that, for only $950/week, you can stay in a luxury villa of Kamalii? It’s true. Villa of Kamalii 4 is a three bedroom, three bath villa in Princeville that comes equipped with all of the amenities. Need more information? No problem!

This new townhouse is not only located in Princeville, one of Kauai’s most popular places, but it is situated right on the Makai golf course, making it a hotly sought-after property. The complex around the townhouses is gated, meaning that it is safe and secure for visitors. Plus, you will have a view of the greens, cascading waterfalls, the mountain range, and white sandy beaches as you look out across the north shore.

Inside, the luxuries just keep piling up. From the basics of a 42” LCD television with DVD player and free internet to the detail work of elegant chandeliers, granite countertops, and Koa wood cabinets, this house is nothing to scoff at. In fact, there are two master suites, equipped with king-sized beds, flatscreen tvs, full bathrooms, marble countertops, full length closets with mirrored doors, and private lanais (which are like patios). One suite even has a whirlpool bathtub. And villa 4 has a kitchen full of equipment, a living room with more space than most hotel rooms, and enough space to sleep 6+ people.

Now lets discuss the outside. Yes, this villa is on the golf course, but that’s not the best part. A 30 second walk from the door gets you to a communal swimming pool, hot tub, and bbq area. A bit more walking will get you to the Princeville Shopping Center where you can purchase gifts, buy groceries, visit the hot spots, and eat at a few great restaurants. There are also nearby tennis courts and the greatest beaches on the island. And since Villa 4 provides you with all of the beach towels, chairs, mats, snorkeling gear, and boogie boards you could want, your time at the beach will be well worth the trip to the island.

Can you see now why spending $950 for seven days in this luxury villa is better than spending the same price or more on a tiny little hotel room? And if you bring some friends and split the cost, it won’t cost you much at all. So come and visit us on Kauai. You’ll be glad that you did.

May 9, 2011 by, Emily

Everyday there are new people coming to Kauai to visit, asking me and other residents about fun activities that they can do with their families while here. Usually they have a general idea of what they want to do before they come, but many families think of Hawaii as one endless beach. They come for fun in the sun and plan to spend their entire vacation on the white sands, playing in the water.

Of course, after a few days, even the most beach-loving group of people will want to do something else for a little while, especially once they realize that the Hawaiian islands are tropical places where rain falls occasionally.

And that is why this website was originally created: to give you an idea of fun things to do on the island and places where your family can stay. There are hundreds of great activities, hot clubs, fun family festivals, and much more that you can do/see while you’re here. And I’ve written about a lot of them, from mini golf to helicopter rides.

So surf this site. If you are coming to stay on the island for a little while, you can find just about anything you want to do by just reading this information.

May 8, 2011 by, Emily

To all the mothers out there who worked hard to raise their kids, happy Mother’s Day to you! My mom is a great woman who raised my brother and I to have good morals, high expectations of ourselves, and a work ethic no one can argue with. She was my hero growing up and one of my best friends. She still is.

Mothers are so important. And I know that not everyone was fortunate enough to grow up with one like I did. Sometimes, mothers pass away or they are simply not “mother material.” So here is to the “mothers” who aren’t related by blood, the ones who take care of us, teach us, and love us no matter what, just like a mother should. And here is to the fathers that had to play both father and mother to their kids, working extra hard to give their children the world. You are heroes too.

On Kauai, we believe in family and heritage. Our family holds us together and our heritage is part of our family, teaching us about ourselves and our history. So any chance I get to celebrate family is a good one. My mom taught me more than just the basics of living life; she taught me to love my heritage and appreciate my culture. She is the reason why I love Kauai, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I love you Mom!

Okay, all of that talk about chicken made me hungry so let me tell you about where I went for dinner last night.

If you haven’t been to Postcards Café, then you should go at least once. Their menu has great seafood and many organic recipes that look good and taste great. Plus, they are pretty affordable. They serve many classic Kauai dishes, putting their own spin on island traditions. From grilled fish to goat cheese crostinis, you will always find something you like at this café. And, for those who require a special menu, this place has got you covered.

I always go to Postcards Café with my friend, Malea. Why? Well, she is a vegan and her family is gluten intolerant. For a long time, it was difficult for them to find a place where they could all eat and enjoy the food. Luckily for them, Postcards has a large organic menu, many vegan dishes, and several gluten free ones as well. Her entire family can eat there without any problem, and they love it.

Last night, I tried something a bit different. I wanted to be able to recommend the vegan menu, so I tried some vegan items myself. Here is what I found: Try the Hanalei Taro Fritter. It’s incredibly good and is both gluten free and vegan. The Sombrero (think enchiladas) was my main dish and it was both gluten free and vegan as well. And have I mentioned how delicious it was? In fact, I was so full from eating it all that I barely had room for dessert… but that would defeat the purpose of my vegan experiment. So, of course, dessert was a must.

Malea recommended Postcards’ Famous Choclate Silk – the Vegan’s Delight. Wow. If you like graham crackers, cherries, cashews, and chocolate, then you will love this. I’m not the biggest fan of cherries, but even I had to admit that it was good. It tasted just like something made with butter and eggs in it… except they weren’t there! This dish was completely vegan.

So, if you want a place on the island where your whole family can eat, regardless of their allergies or food preferences, try Postcards. I think you’ll really like it.

May 2, 2011 by, Emily

On Kauai, we have chickens. No, I don’t just mean we eat chicken or we raise them in farms. Actually chickens roam the island freely, just like other wildlife.

A long time ago in our history, when Kauai was first being populated, Chickens made some of the first voyages to our island. It is said that the Marquesans brought the chickens as well as other food staples in order to survive their first few months here. Then, after a time of home-making and exploration, more of what Kauai had to offer became a part of their diets.

From these first chickens, came even more chickens. As more explorers and settlers came, more chickens came with them. After all, chicken is a staple in many diets. And as more and more species of chicken came to the island, more and more chickens interbred, producing unique chickens. Over the years, chickens escaped their captivity and fled into the underbrush, living full lives and finding other chickens to spend their lives with. And because there are no natural predators to the chicken on Kauai, they prospered.

Of course, many other things have lead to a large chicken population on Kauai. There was a hurricane in 1992 that destroyed many chicken farms, but not all the birds. The freed birds got away and found shelter from the hurricane farther into the jungle, introducing even more chickens to Kauai’s free-roaming population. And other such escapes and natural disasters have led to chicken freedom as well.

So what does this mean for tourists? Well, Kauai is definitely unique. As well as the crashing of waves and the pleasant sounds of Hawaiian music in the mornings, you might also hear a cock-a-doodle-doo or two. When you go hiking, you will most definitely find a random chicken on the trail at one point or another. And you will hear chicken stories from many of the natives. After all, the chicken is a great part of our culture.

But if you’re worried about finding these chickens on the menu of a local restaurant, there is no need. Around here, our chickens are hearty and tough. Actually, many would say that boiling one of these chickens would lead to a softening of the pot before the chicken. That’s just the way it is on Kauai. So if you do see a chicken dish on the menu, know that those chickens have been raised on farms and will taste delicious.