Archive for July, 2011

It’s there on every movie involving a beach: a child outside building sandcastles. Usually there is a bucket involved that is used as a mold for the tower and small piles of sand to make up the town. And of course no sandcastle is complete without a hand-dug mote and a stick at the top to serve as a flag.

You’ve seen at least one scene like this, right? Maybe you’ve even built a few sandcastles yourself, doing a bit better than the cute child with the bucket and the stick. If that is the case, I know somewhere you need to be: Hanalei. At the end of this month, Saturday July 30, there is a free event for any sandcastle lover/builder. It is the 2nd Annual Hawaii Sand Castle/Art Contest and it is going to be fun.

How do I know that it’s fun? Well, I was there last year when they did the first one. It was a great day of hanging out with my friends and playing in the sand. Tourists and local residents alike competed in the contest, and my team almost won!… well, okay, so our castle wasn’t that good and we didn’t even come close to winning. But we had fun building it anyway.

Since the event is happening at Hanalei beach by the pier, it is free for anyone who wants to participate. First of all, the contest starts at 11am. If you want to build a sandcastle for the competition, you need to be there by then to sign up. After that, there will be a free lesson on sand creations from Jeff Peterson, a pro at sand sculpture. He’ll give you an idea of the basics and even a few advanced formation techniques before the sandcastle building begins!

After Jeff’s presentation, it will be up to you to build the best sand art you can. There will be several different groups/divisions for participants, so children, individual adults, teams, and whole families can participate. These competitors will all be placed into a level category and the judging will take place promptly at 3:30. Then, after every sand sculpture and creation has been looked over and judged, there will be an awards ceremony for the winners.

This will be a great day of fun in the sun for you and your family, so come and join us. While I probably won’t build anything myself, I have every intention of making it there for at least part of the event in order to see the creations and watch the judging. I can’t wait to see how creative you all can be!

Want a luxurious island retreat for your visit to Kauai? Do you love to golf? Well, let me tell you a bit about Hale Mikana right here in Princeville.

Located on the famous Makai Golf Course in a prestigious resort community, this vacation rental has everything you could ever want… seriously. The backyard has a large private pool and a grassy area for children to run and play. The house also boasts two spacious lanais (like patios) where you can watch the sunset over the ocean or experience the refreshing night air of a tropical island. But that’s just the outside.

The inside is fully furnished with dark cherry cabinets, granite and marble countertops, limestone floors, and beautiful bedroom sets that complement the style and elegance of the house. There are four bedrooms and three full bathrooms with a half-bath for guests, and the house can comfortably sleep up to 10 people. This is perfect for corporate retreats, large groups, and even large families.

Speaking of large families, kids will have a great time in this vacation rental. Not only is there a large pool in the backyard with a removable safety fence, but the rental owners provide beach toys (including snorkeling gear), beach chairs, Boogie boards, bikes, and coolers that you can use free of charge. Just be careful with them; lost or damaged items will be charged to your account.

Other amenities include a BBQ for cooking up the fish of the day, air conditioning for warm days, a large screen TV with cable and DVD player, and a fully equipped kitchen. Those who want some fun out on the town will love the fact that this home is a short walk from both Princeville golf courses, the children’s park, a large shopping center, many restaurants, and several beaches.

Did I mention that this rental has it all?

So if you are coming to Kauai and want a truly restful vacation experience, stay at Hale Mikana in Princeville.

July 24, 2011 by, Emily

If you have read this blog in the past, then you probably won’t believe this, but I ran in a triathlon today! I’ve been working out a bit… and by a bit I mean that I bike to the ice cream store every few days and take a walk on the beach afterward. But I have been slowly getting into better shape. (After all, I used to drive to the ice cream store and do so five times a week!)

Anyway, a few weeks ago, some friends of mine decided to compete in the triathlon that happens every year from Brennekes Beach Park. They are all very fit and did well, though they didn’t win. Anyway, when they told me about it, I was so excited for them that, without thinking, I told them I would compete too! After they finished laughing, they told me that there was a 5K that I could do if I wanted so I didn’t have to swim or ride a bike. That sounded good to me, so I started training.

Now I’ll admit that training would have gone much better if I had already been in good shape. As it was, I quickly learned that I couldn’t run more than a mile without fainting and I had little chance to truly win the 5K. (Yes, before that point I actually believed that I had a pretty good shot. Of course, I also didn’t know exactly how far 5K was…)

But when race day (today) came, I did pretty well, and by that I mean that I finished! Hey, that’s a lot harder than it sounds, especially for someone in bad shape. But I ran as much of it as I could and then I walked the rest. It was a long day, but I finished and got my free t-shirt out of it. I can’t wait to wear the shirt around the island and show off the fact that I actually did something sporty.

And you know what? I think I’ll compete again next year. Maybe if I start now, I can finish in a much better time. Maybe I’ll even be able to run the whole way without walking any of it. And maybe next year I won’t be sick to my stomach afterward. But I guess that means I’ll have to cut out the ice cream visits… sad.

Did you know that part of Jurassic Park was filmed on Kauai? It’s true. Do you remember that large waterfall scene? Well, that was here on a remote part of the island inaccessible to tourists… well, almost.

There is a company on the island called Island Helicopters that offers tours to this waterfall. And, you guessed it, those tours include a helicopter ride.

The tour itself is around 80 minutes long and flies you over the island to view the beautiful and lush vegetation. Then, the pilot lands you right at the base of the most magnificent waterfall you have probably ever seen. Walking down an obscure path will get you right to the climatic base of the rushing water, allowing you to feel the mist and see the site of the filming close up. Plus, the tour guide will give you all sorts of information about the falls, the surrounding area, Kauai, and the filming.

If you were a fan of the movie or if you simply want to take a helicopter into a secluded part of our island and watch the jungle close in around you, then I recommend this tour. Not only do you get to see something very few have seen, but you also get to fly in a helicopter! (I have always loved helicopters.)

For more information and for current pricing, you can contact Island Helicopters yourself on their website. Enjoy!

July 20, 2011 by, Emily

Here on Kauai, we have several farmers markets to choose from, so you can always find fresh produce. I personally enjoy visiting the Kapaa market, which is open every Wednesday from 3-4:30. It meets in the Kapaa New Town Park, and there is always a ton of people there from farmers selling their goods to visitors looking to browse or to buy.

Today I needed some fresh, organic vegetables for a dinner I’m making for my boyfriend. I try to buy organic whenever I can, as I’ve been trying to live healthier and eat well. Anyway, the farmers markets are a great place for organic produce, especially the market in Kilauea. Unfortunately, the market in Kilauea is open on Thursdays and I needed the veggies for tonight. So it was off to Kapaa!

While I didn’t find everything I needed in the organic department, I did find much more than I was looking for. I purchased the organic vegetables that I wanted as well as some non-organic ones to complete the dish. Then I saw a stand of coconuts fresh from the growers and couldn’t resist. While I’d had other plans for dessert, suddenly coconut pudding sounded wonderful. So I purchased a couple of coconuts and some bananas to use as garnish.

All in all, my trip went well. I met some interesting people, had a wonderful afternoon perusing the market stalls, and bought exactly what I needed. Plus, the fruit and veggies here are much fresher than in the grocery store. So if you are coming to our little island as a tourist and are staying in a vacation rental, keep the farmers markets in mind. You, unlike the tourists in hotels, have a kitchen where you can cook fun and fabulous dishes, and fresh fruits and vegetables from our tropical gardens are the best ingredients.

Okay, I’ve recommended a lot of fun tours on this blog from basic hiking tours to helicopter tours that allow people to see the whole island from the air. But this tour is a bit different. You will get the excitement of high adventure with the awesome visual effects of a helicopter tour.

So what am I referring to? Powered Hang Gliding!

On the island of Kauai, powered hang gliding is one of the best ways to see the island. Going up in the air with a professional glider pilot is fun and safe. This great couple on the island runs the business and gives excellent 60-90 minute tours. Their business is called “Kauai Aerosports” and their pilot has over 25 years of experience flying people over the mainland and Kauai. With a perfect safety record, they are a great choice for your tour.

Each tour leaves from the Port Allen Airport in Eleele. (Warning: This shouldn’t be confused with the Lihue airport, which is in the southeast.) To get there, simply take State HWY 50 south to Eleele and follow the signs leading you to the airport. It’s easy to find and right near the docks. But take note that these tours aren’t free. With the cost of gas for the glider and tour time, it will run you around $230. So you might want to consider other options if you are coming to Kauai on a strict budget.

If you want a great vacation rental option, Hale Keko is a large, beautiful home on a quiet and peaceful cul-de-sac. The furnishings inside are simple and comfortable, and the view from the outside is breathtaking.

First of all, when I say this is a big house, I mean it. With three bedrooms and two bathrooms, this house can easily sleep 6 with space enough in the living room for another few people on an air mattress. It was designed with a modern flair and all of the rooms are open, giving the house a spacious feel.

My favorite part of this house is the Master Suite, an almost independent area of the house just for you and your significant other. The Master suite is large with a King-sized bed and its own private bathroom. Plus, there is a sliding glass door leading into the backyard for easy access. So you can slip out together at night and enjoy the tropical night air while you watch the stars.

The house is a short stroll from a nearby shopping center, so you won’t ever have to worry about locating a store or a fresh cup of morning coffee. In fact, others who have stayed in this house have used their mornings to walk to the local coffee shop and then wander Princeville, a tradition that is the best part of any morning.

I know that, if you come and stay in this house, you will enjoy your visit. Plus, with great amenities like wireless internet, a flat screen TV, an outdoor BBQ, a washer/dryer unit, and a fully equipped kitchen, you won’t ever want to leave.

July 10, 2011 by, Emily

If you are coming to Kauai and you are planning on being in the South, you should definitely consider visiting Koloa. Koloa is a historic town built in the 19th century and it originally started off as a large sugar plantation, the first in Kauai’s history.

Plus, starting the 23rd of this month, the Koloa Plantation Days celebration will start. For nine entire days, there will be fun and plantation activities for the whole family, including a parade, food booths, hula dances, and live music! Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Every day from 7am to 9pm, there will be events and activities for you to enjoy at the Plantation Day festival. And you’ll get to learn all about Koloa’s historical and cultural heritage while you spend the day with your family, shopping and experiencing Kauai’s multicultural heritage. You will enjoy a range of local foods, cultural activities, tours of Kauai’s unique ecology and archaeology, and everything else the area has to offer.

To town of Koloa is a great place to spend some time, even when the festival isn’t going on. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the wonderful restaurants, shops, golf courses, resorts, and other neighborhood venues. So come and enjoy a large piece of Kauai’s history in Koloa.

Are you a fan of Kalua pig, teriyaki beef, sweet and sour mahimahi, chicken adobo, and other luau foods? Don’t you wish you could visit a place that had an all-you-can-eat buffet, serving hot, sizzling plates of traditional island favorites? And wouldn’t it be great if all of that wonderful food came with a show?

Here on Kauai, we have just the thing for those who want to enjoy live music, free drinks, great food, and a Polynesian performance. The Smith Family Garden Luau is open every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5-9pm and it is a popular place for tourists. While there, you can receive a tour of the botanical gardens, enjoy the unearthing of the roasted pig at an Imu Ceremony, listen to the stimulating sounds of live musicians playing Hawaiian and contemporary tunes, and eat and drink to your heart’s content. Then the evening truly begins.

The Smith family luau is a unique luau, pulling in influences from both Hawaii and some Asian cultures. The dances are spectacular and the performers are the best. And while the Smith family hasn’t always lived on the island, four generations of Smiths have run the family business here and have made it their own.

Now, if you want to visit the luau, it will cost you. With an open bar and food buffet, the cost is higher than a typical luau. But the extra expense is well worth it. You can make reservations for a performance on their website and enjoy night life of Kauai in style at the garden.

Happy Fourth of July everyone! I’m so excited about the 22nd Annual Concert in the Sky tonight. I went to this July 4th event last year and had a great time with my friends, visiting different craft and food booths, playing with the kids, enjoying the live music, and watching the breathtaking fireworks show. This year I know it will be just as great.

If any of you are going to be on Kauai tonight and want to say hi, I’ll be there. So don’t be shy about coming over and introducing yourselves. Admission tonight will be $15 for adults and $7 for children ages 6-12. All children 5 and under get in for free. So bring the whole family and I’ll see you in Lihue.

I just heard that the PMRF Stars and Stripes Celebration will be on July 3rd again this year from 5pm to 10pm. For those of you who don’t know the acronym, PMRF stands for Pacific Missile Range Facility. They are a United States Navy outpost on the island and have a tactical area on one of our beaches. This year, they are having a free 4th of July celebration at Shenanigans restaurant, but they are doing it a day early.

Maybe they are trying not to interfere with the local celebration that takes place on July 4th. Maybe they just want an extra day of good food, live music, games, crafts, and fireworks. Either way, I’m going. The band, Battery Alley, is going to be there along with Greenstone Project. I figure that any free show that also gives me an opportunity to eat good food and enjoy fireworks can’t be bad, right?

Shenanigans Restaurant is on base and parking will be free. But, since this is a base event, your car will probably be searched and your ID checked. And outside food and beverages, pets, and other equipment won’t be allowed. If you want to attend this event, simply take the highway toward Polihale and turn left at the Housing Gate (there will be signs). After you get through the gate, turn left and you’ll see Shenanigans.