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Grilling is a popular way to cook food. I love to grill food. I am not the greatest chef nor grill master, but I sure do try! Grilling food is a great way to cook food. Think about it… there is a recipe to follow but it is not quite as technical as baking. Baking is an edible science experiment. Grilling is much more forgiving. Once someone gains enough experience in grilling, that person is worth his or her weight in gold. Let me tell you the grill food on Kauai is worth its weight in gold! So divine.
Now, grill food is a comfort food to most people. There are classics that are cooked on the grill like burgers, fish, vegetables, and more. Comfort food does not necessarily mean hearty and overly-filling, either. Kabobs are one of my favorites to grill. It makes for such a nice medley of meat meets vegetables. What beautiful colors, too.
Another way to mix it up is by having some grilled surf and turf. This is a way of mixing and matching meat combos to cover the whole flavor spectrum to meet your fancy. By having complimentary flavors, you will be making a marvelous spread for you and your guests to enjoy. Just like “sweet” pairs with “salty” nicely, so does surf match well with turf. Grilling is a great way to enhance flavors, so you can get the most juicy flavors out of your fish and meat… and don’t forget your veggies!
Grill food is something you cannot mimic. The different types of food you can put on a grill are seemingly endless. Any kind of meat on a grill turns out as fabulous as ever once you can perfect your technique. Vegetables roast on the grill nicely as well. Grilling food is a great cooking method for traditional foods, but can also make surprisingly well cooked food out of others you might first think are good choices.
Fruits heat up well on the grill too, believe it or not. They top desserts nicely and your friends and family will be coming back for more! Ever tried grilled pineapple? Here is a recipe for Grilled Pineapple Dessert that I love. While the coals are still hot, go ahead and heat up your pineapple rings for this recipe. I like to think of it as getting the most out of my hot coals.
Perhaps you are a grill master yourself? While staying on Kauai, the north shore has some perfect vacation rental homes where you can grill out! This is a genius way to save money and still eat your delicious grill food. Invite friends, invite family. I just love coming together at meal time…
Before I came to live on Kauai, I visited it. I had many questions about it and I wanted to be prepared for my stay. I would assume that many of you lovely folks who have not yet visited Kauai have some questions about your upcoming trip. Please let me help you along, and answer some of those burning questions that you may have. Consider this a FAQ.
You may be wondering, “When is a good time to visit Kauai?” Anytime is a good time! The weather is good and it makes for a fantastic vacation spot all year round.
Allow me to answer the question, “When and where can I see whales?” Good news–we are in prime time whale watching season right now. Humpback whales begin arriving just off of Kauai’s shores in December and can still be seen through until April. Also, you can see whales from aboard boats or from the beach.
On a more practical note, you may be wondering, “What clothes to pack/wear for my trip?” Great question! Pack comfortable summer clothes. Casual attire. For ladies, dresses, skirts, shorts and capris are all suitable with casual tops. Tee-shirts are fine, and swimwear is a must to pack! For gentlemen, leave the suits and ties at home unless you are on a business trip or something. Collared shirts or Aloha shirts are acceptable for just about every outing. Slippers/Flip-flops/Sandals are accepted at most every establishment with the exception of some clubs. I suggest packing hiking shoes if you plan to hike any of Kauai’s trails. If you forget something, do not fret, Kauai has stores and malls to provide what you need.
“Is there easy banking access on Kauai?” Yes. ATM’s are frequent and there are full service banks as well.
You may also be thinking about renting a car. “Do you need a car to move about on Kauai?” No, you do not need a car but it would be nice for your convenience to have one. You can also get around by shuttle, taxi, or tour bus. My suggestion lies more with what you plan to do when you get here, and how much of the island you would like to see.
I hope you find this information helpful. Please comment below if you have questions that you would like me to respond to. I will do more of these FAQ posts to help you plan and prepare for your upcoming Kauai vacation.
Hawaii is a beautiful place to go and stay. You may have already figured that out either through seeing pictures online, looking in a travel guide, or by coming and staying on Kauai. I thought it would be nice to take some time to reveal some interesting facts about Hawaii and Kauai in particular.
Hawaii is known as the “Aloha State,” and very fitting, the state motto: “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”
Hawaii’s soil is fertile, and so tropical fruits and vegetables grow very well here. Hawaii grows pineapples, bananas, nuts (macadamias are my favorite), coffee (my other favorite) just to highlight a few items. Cane sugar is also another primary agricultural crop that Hawaii grows.
The state flower is the Yellow Hawaiian Hibiscus. It is very popular and pretty. If you cannot picture it in your mind’s eye, you are sure to recognize it after someone shows you a picture or you see it live and in person.
The state fish is the Humuhumunukunukuapua. Can you say that three times fast? I can! It is also known as the Hawaiian Trigger Fish. Check out its neat lips and colorings here. Hawaii’s state animal is the Humpback Whale.
Kauai has some pretty awesome facts too. It is known as, “The Garden Isle.” That makes sense for there is a significant amount of greenery here along with the numereous state parks on Kauai. The climate is comfortable at 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Ocean temperatures are 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit … year round! In my opinion, this makes Kauai a very desirable spot to come and visit no matter the time of year. Anytime is a good time!
Kauai is my favorite. I do live here so I have a bit of a bias! Kauai has more hiking trails and more miles of beaches than any of the other Hawaiian Islands. Another admirable fact that I relish in, is that buildings cannot be taller than four stories. Why, do you ask? That is the maximum height of a coconut tree. I like that.
Today I participated in something I had not yet done yet while on Kauai. I went to the 4th Annual Welcome Home Whales Celebration. I have been all about the new year, new beginnings, and trying new things. This was a first and I hope I can attend the celebration next year. I will let you blog followers know in advance. It is not too late to see some whales though–it is whale watching season–one of my favorite seasons next to summer.
Just at the lookout on Kuhio Highway next to Kealia Beach a group of us gathered to welcome the whales back home. Whales migrate and by this time of year they are back visiting Kauai–their breeding grounds. I was told as many as 6 pods of whales return to Kauai to breed . Whale season as you may know is December to May, so to have the event in January the whales are typically all here. That is my understanding at least.
At the ceremony it is a relaxed, calm, and peaceful environment. The welcoming celebration was fluid with music and prose. It is a time for individuals to express themselves and their appreciation for whales. One man played the didgeridoo with a whale painted on it. There were songs and poetry read also. I loved the progression of it all. It was a time of such serenity. I am thankful there are events like this going on, spreading knowledge, increasing awareness for whales’ sake, and to celebrate the cycles of life in nature.
I encourage you to do some whale watching out by the water while we are still in whale watching season. It is thrilling when you get to see a whale breech over the water. They are majestic creatures and you cannot help but appreciate nature and the world around us when you witness something as extraordinary as that.
Have you ever heard of Kalo? Honestly, not a lot of people have. But have you heard of Taro? This term is a bit more common, but both refer to the same plant!
Here on Kauai, Kalo is a very important crop. It was first brought to the Hawaiian islands in 300 different varieties, each of which was different and relatively unique. Today, there are only 100 varieties grown amongst the islands, with quite a few varieties growing right here on Kauai. (After all, we’re the garden isle, right? We have the perfect weather for the Kalo crop!)
The type of Kalo we grow tends to grow best in tropical environments where it can get plenty of water. Here on Kauai, lush vegetation is easy to grow because the mountains bring the mist and the light rains throughout the year. So growing Karo is easier for us than it is for most. Plus, we also have lo’I, which are kalo patches sustained by constant flows of water. (If you want to see such a place and how the irrigation systems work, take a tour of one of our Taro/Kalo plantations. You will be amazed at the engineering involved!)
Now, if you’ve ever eaten Kalo/Taro, then you might have an idea of how it is grown and cooked. But for those of you who don’t know, these plants are long-stemmed with big rounded leaves. They are planted invidiually in the ground, not found as a bush or a tree. And they are poisonous.
Yep. Poisonous. ☺
Of course, we don’t eat them in that state! You see, the leaves need to be plucked off and the root must be WELL cooked in order to remove the calcium oxianate contained in each one. (If you try to eat Kalo raw, you will be in for an unpleasant surprise when your mouth feels like razors are slicing it to pieces and starts to burn. Not good.) In fact, those who harvest Kalo must be very careful as well. They use gloves so the roots don’t irritate their hands.
I’ve often wondered who it was that first looked on such an unpleasant little plant and said, “I bet it wouldn’t be so bad if I cooked it.” Yep. Brave human being, that was. But now we eat Taro/Kalo all the time. It has become a part of our histories and our traditions.
AND, in order to celebrate the amazing plant we call Karo, we are having a FESTIVAL!
This Saturday (December 7th) we will be having our 4th Annual Waipa Kalo Festival! The Festival will run from 10am-5pm and is only $5 for adults and $1 for children. (Entrance fees will go to support the Waipa Foundation. Look them up online for more information.) The fun will take place around the Halulu Fishpond in Waipa (near Hanalei Bay) and will include things to do for every member of your family.
For those who are educationally minded, there will be displays and histories of the Kalo plant and its uses, including demonstrations of harvesting and cooking. There will also be hands-on activities for kids, artist booths for cultural crafts, and great food made of this fabulous plant! (So if you’ve never tasted Kalo/Taro before, now is your chance!) And, of course, there will be live music played ALL DAY LONG! (What’s a Kauai festival without a little music, right?)
It really is going to be a wonderful day. So if you are in Hanalei this weekend, please come by the festival. This Saturday! Halulu Fishpond! 10-5! See you there!
This Sunday (November 17th) is the 21st Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival. The festival starts at noon and continues until 6pm with music performed in the traditional slack key style. What’s more, the festival is free to attendees! So, if you want something interesting to do on Sunday, please come!
The performance will be at Kauai Beach Resort and Spa in Kapaa, which is an over-priced hotel with a nice concert stage. And the theme this year is “Kauai Style.” So you can look forward to the sounds of Kauai and the overwhelming feeling of Aloha while you listen.
Now, the concert is indeed free. However, if you do want to donate to the Ki-Hoalu Foundation, you can. There will be a $10 suggested donation for this all day concert that will be accepted at the door, if my information is correct.
Don’t know what the Ki-Hoalu Foundation is? Well, it’s a non-profit organization established back in 2004 to help promote Hawaiian style guitar, specifically slack key. Slack key is a style of guitar playing that originated in Hawaii and is found no where else in the world, outside of those who came here to learn it. It is a part of our traditions and our culture, and it is beautiful. So if you are Hawaiian, then you know how important it is to support this non-profit and their efforts. And if you’re not Hawaiian, then you can take my word for it. It’s worth it. ☺
Now for the list of performers. Doug and Sandy McMaster will be there, of course. I’ve mentioned them on this blog several times before, as they are probably the best masters of the slack key style on Kauai. Plus, they perform often, so they are the most heard. But there will be other artists there as well, including:
and Mike Young
So if you want a day of music and fun, please come to Kapaa (outside Lihue) for the Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival. It will be an inspiration and joy.
Get it? Like “well that’s interesting” only I said whale. Because… it’s WHALE SEASON! ☺
(Yes, I realize that I can be a bit nerdy every once in a while, but I’m seriously excited that it’s whale season once again. So bare with me.)
Every November, we see more and more whales migrating around the island. And it brings some excitement and a sense of wonder to my world. I love witnessing the enormity of the journey, the pristine beauty of the world’s largest creatures cutting through the water, and the glistening sun bouncing off of their features as they pursue the path of their natural instincts, swimming toward the open water.
The beauty of whale season is a perfect time for island tourists as well. After all, who wouldn’t want to wake up in their home rental and look out the window to see these mammoth sea beasts bursting through the waves? They make life more splendid, especially if you have never seen a whale up close before. And, if you didn’t know, it’s good luck to have a whale surface for you. It means prosperity and happiness all year long.
So if you have been wanting to visit Kauai, now is a great time to come. There will be luaus, town events, concerts, festivals, parties, holiday cheer, and hundreds of large mammals floating through the water, waiting for a kindly tourist on a whale watching tour to meet them. It’s truly a wonderful time, this November-January season. And I hope you will all join me in celebrating right here on the North Shore, my home.
And, if you are on Kauai tonight and feel like celebrating with us, come to the Whales Homecoming Slack Key Concert at the Hanalei Community Center. The concert starts at 4pm and has a fee of $20. The music, however, is priceless and will be a gift offered to the audience by the McMasters, artists who have given their lives to the pursuit of traditional slack key and the knowledge of customs past down from generations past. They are truly dedicated musicians, histories, story tellers, and friends. I hope you’ll be able to come and witness this event in person.
My in-laws don’t live here on Kauai. My husband moved here when he was younger and fell in love with the island. But his parents only come out to visit every great once in a while. They came out for the wedding, and we haven’t seen them since. But that’s not entirely surprising. They live on the mainland in Chicago, and flying here multiple times a year would add up fast.
However, when they do come to visit, their favorite place is the Napali coast, and I can’t blame them. Resting on the Northwestern side of Kauai, the Napali coast is a beautiful place for becoming one with nature. And yet, because of its location, not many tourists have flooded its shores. So when you see it, it’s like stepping back in time to a world of fresh wonders.
Maybe that’s why it’s been used in so many movies.
Well, whatever the reason, Napali is a lovely area of Kauai. And the best way to see it is to take a tour. In fact, his parents always take the same tour: Captain Andy’s Charters.
Capt. Andy’s has a lot to love. For one thing, the tour isn’t one of those dinky little 2-3 hour tours. (After all, we’ve seen Gilligan’s Island. We know how those 3 hour tours often turn out.) No, they have a 4-5 hour tour that give you an excellent view of the most beautiful places on Kauai, while giving you a taste of the open ocean. Their catamarans are large and lovely affairs, with room for several people to have fun, sail, eat lunch, and enjoy themselves. Plus, the lunch I mentioned is a part of the tour, so you don’t have to worry about taking your own food aboard.
Most catamaran tours also bring snorkeling gear for everyone, so you can enjoy the coastline as well as meet some new under-the-sea friends. The last time I went snorkeling off the Napali coast, I met a friendly little turtle. I named him Henry (because I’m a little crazy at heart) and followed him around for a while. He was a great tour guide. I’ve also seen dolphins, several different types of fish, and a lot of beautiful plants while out snorkeling. And my husband’s mom claims that she got up close and personal with a whale! So it’s worth the trip, don’t you think?
So if you love beautiful places or if you simply want to have some fun snorkeling in a new place, I suggest you head to Napali coast. It will be a day you won’t soon forget.
Okay, so last Saturday was the Coconut Festival and all of it’s deliciousness. And while I don’t have another food festival to send you to this weekend, I do know of an interesting festival that is free to attend: the Eo e Emmalani I Alakai Festival!
Yes, I realize that was a mouthful. But don’t worry – no one at the festival will make you pronounce it. ☺ Actually, this festival is an event to honor the memory of Queen Emma and her ascent into Kokee. Need more information? Well, luckily you are reading a post by a history buff. I’ll try to make it simply and not slip into lecture mode though… I do want you to keep reading after all.
Queen Emma (Emalani) took an enchanting trip in 1870. You see, she did not live on Kauai, as some royal persons had. But that year, she came to Kauai to stay at her beach house overlooking Lawai Bay. And it was then that her attention turned to the far side of the island. She beheld the beauty of the Kauai landscape and the looming mountain passes and decided to take a trip. So, with her royal entourage in tow, she began an epic trip over the mountain to visit Waimea Canyon.
Now, for those of you who aren’t sure what a royal entourage looked like, let me paint you a picture. The Queen was an important person, requiring several members of court, servants, her family, children, and entertainers to be with her at all times. That means that the trip required the moving of around 100 people. According to the accounts of the time, her entourage stretched for nearly 2 miles through the lush tropical growth of Kauai’s Eastern side and up the mountain-side.
But the reason for the festival is due to what happened when the Queen reached her destination in 1871. You see, when the Queen reached the Kauaikinana Valley, she was overcome by the beauty around her. So she decided to stop her journey and enjoy it. And such a party was had there that remembrance parties are thrown each year to this day. The musicians began to play, the girls began to sway to the traditional rhythm of the hula, and everyone relished in the wonder of Aloha for many hours.
Isn’t that beautiful?
Okay, enough history. Here is the part that visitors will like. This festival is free and runs from 10am to 4pm. At noon there will be a royal procession on horseback, which is a really neat sight! So I recommend going before noon so you can see it. What’s more – There will be hula and Hawaiian music all day long, as well as chanting (oli). So it’s sure to be educational, interesting, cultural, fun, fascinating, and more.
So if you are someone like me who loves cultural experiences (or if you simply want something free that you can do on Saturday with your family), then please visit the town of Kokee. The festival will take place at Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow (which is by the Kokee Museum). For directions, please click HERE.
Hello everyone! Isn’t October wonderful? I mean, the weather is perfect, whale season is right around the corner, and fall is in full swing. In fact, I’ve already driven my husband slightly crazy by decorating the house with fake fall leaves, orange and brown everything, and pumpkins. Oh yes, it’s going to be a good season.
Of course, here on Kauai the weather is always rather perfect. So while fall in other parts of the United States might mean cold weather and dreary cloud-cover, here it means warm weather, the occasional brief rain shower, and a water temperature of 75 degrees. And while the rest of the world is bracing for cold, I’m relaxing on the beach after a full day of decorating and plotting my first apple pie of the season.
Are you jealous yet?
Seriously now, if the weather man in your home town has started to mention snow, please consider a trip to Kauai this fall. You can still enjoy the best parts of fall: family and friends, eating yummy foods, and enjoying the beauty of nature. But on Kauai, you can do it on a tropical island surrounded by blue ocean waters and the lush vegetation that comes from staying on the Garden Isle.
This month on Kauai, there are festivals, luaus, events, fairs, and more. In fact, there is something to do every day on our lovely island. And if you just want to ignore the world and sunbathe the days away on a white sandy beach, you can do that too. We don’t mind. ☺ Kauai is just one of those spots, the perfect getaway no matter your personality or level of activity.
Now, if you do want to hear all about the fun things coming up on Kauai this month, just stay tuned to my blog. I’ll be filling you in on all of the exciting activities happening from Hanalei to Lihue. So check in often and we’ll have some fun together!
If you haven’t heard of Healing Horses, then I want to take a few minutes to write a little something about their program. Their mission statement says it all: “To improve the physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being of Kauai’s youth and disabled community by using equine-assisted activities and therapies.” However, since this is a blog, I’m going to go into more detail. ☺
I first heard of Healing Horses some time ago (2010 I think?) when a friend decided to take her autistic child to this program. Her little girl was fairly high functioning, but just couldn’t handle people very well. It was heartbreaking for her mother to know that her little girl was stuck behind this internal wall that she might never break through. And so, after a recommendation from an acquaintance, they decided to try the program.
After a few weeks, the changes were evident. From taking care of a horse, riding, and learning to trust herself with a large, brown-eyed darling of a mare, my friend’s daughter started to thrive. No, she didn’t instantly love people. But for the first time, her mother saw her smile while being touched, even if the touch was the nuzzle of a sweet and gentle horse. And while she couldn’t look at her parents, tell them she loved them, and say how much she enjoyed the horses, that smile was like a blazing bulletin board of success. Her parents could finally take a small peak into their daughter’s world and see her enjoying herself. It meant the world to them… and to their daughter.
Since then, I have met several other families who have had dealings with this program. Some of these families send their children, some with disabilities and some without, to learn about riding, horsemanship, success, failure, and self-confidence. And their time at Healing Horses has changed so much in their everyday lives. I have also met adults with physical disabilities who have gone to this place to receive therapy. Their recommendations could not be high enough.
My point behind this blog is two-fold. First of all, I wanted to recommend this program to anyone and everyone who has children, social disabilities, physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities, or who needs some good, old fashioned horse love in their lives. At Healing Horses Kauai, you can have access to some wonderful people and horses, who have an aptitude for creating beauty and peace from the world around them. Plus, their facility gives access to all, with ADA accessible bathrooms, mounting ramps, para transit drop off/pick up, and more.
I also wanted to throw in a quick word about an upcoming charity dinner that will take place this Monday (July 15) at the Hukilau Lanai in Kapaa. This Summer Gala will be a fundraising opportunity for the program, costing $50 per adult (15+ years old) and $25 per child (4+ years old). Children under 4 years old are free. What will the dinner include? How about pupu, dinner, dessert, a no host bar, and live music? Sounds good, right?
From the price of the dinner itself, Healing Horses will receive the finances necessary to raise awareness about equine-assisted activities and therapies. There will also be a tax-deductible silent auction and ample opportunities to donate time, materials, money, and more. So if you’re free this Monday evening from 6-9:30pm, please come to the dinner and help support this amazing program. The cost might be high, but the benefits are well worth it.
It’s July 4th, the day that Americans all over the world celebrate the Independence of our great nation. It is a day of remembering our past, of thinking back and truly appreciating the work done by our forefathers. It is a day to look to the future and renew our efforts at making America all that we want it to be. And it is a day to celebrate in the present, knowing the rich heritage that is ours and the hope it gives us here and now.
It’s also a day to light small sticks on fire and shoot them into the sky!
So, since we have many here who are visiting the island, I just wanted to post the safety warnings that all residents and visitors alike must follow if they want to have some firework fun in Princeville.
Just so you know, fireworks can be purchased at any number of locations right here in Princeville. They are not illegal here (like they are in some places), but precautions must be taken to ensure that everyone has a fun, festive, and safe holiday. So if you purchase fireworks, keep these things in mind:
1. Fireworks may be lighted and enjoyed by any family on private property (with permission if the property isn’t yours). Public property (like the park or on the road) however is off limits. So if you want to set off fireworks and you are visiting Kauai, make some friends and only fire your fireworks in a safe and legal place.
2. Fireworks may be fired any time between 1-9pm today!
3. Some fireworks require a permit to fire. However, small fireworks like snakes, sparklers, fountains, cone fountains, whistles, smoke devices, wheels, and ground spinners do NOT require permits. As long as you fire them safely and upon private property, you will be within the letter of the law.
4. Do not light fireworks around dry grass, trees, small children, flammable liquids, your car, etc. Use common sense and you should be fine.
5. HAVE FUN!
I hope each and every one of you has a safe and fun Independence Day! And now, I’m off to set some sparklers on fire! ☺
Each month, there is a cultural festival at the Kauai Museum. And while I haven’t mentioned them in the last couple months, I have mentioned them from time to time before now. The museum chooses a culture to honor and has a festival once a month on Ohana Day (family day) to honor the family traditions of that cultural and to teach others outside of that culture about its traditions, cultural distinctions, and family-oriented activities. In other words, it helps us all to grow closer together as one big family on Kauai, despite our cultural and heritage differences.
This month, Kauai Museum in Lihue will be hosting a Japanese Cultural Festival on Saturday, July 6th, from 10am-5pm. And, while I don’t have a complete list of the activities of the day, I know that each of the festivals so far have been fun, informative, and great for the whole family. So if you want to learn a bit more about the Japanese, I highly recommend checking it out.
In the past, festival items have included crafting booths, traditional language speakers, cultural items from Japan, traditional ceremonies, and sometimes even live music. These festivals are rather like big parties where all cultures are welcome, as long as they respect the culture being presented. So if you want to learn about Japan and the Japanese here on Kauai, please come to this cultural festival. There is a fee to enter the museum, but it’s a small fee and the festival should be well worth the visit.
If it’s not, there is another upcoming event in Lihue: the Kauai Kau Wela Summer Festival. And since you’ll already be in town, you can always head over to that event instead. I’ll post more information on that event soon.
I have long thought that the North side of Kauai is the absolute best side to visit. We have shopping centers, beautiful beaches, mountains, world renown golf courses, and some of the best restaurants in the world. And at the northernmost tip of our fair island is the Kilauea Lighthouse, standing proudly since 1913.
Now, back in the day when I first started this blog, I blogged about the Kilauea Lighthouse. And who wouldn’t? If you live in the north, the lighthouse is one of the most famous landmarks there is, along with the famous crescent shape of Hanalei Bay. Visitors to the island love to visit this pillar of our community, now 100 years old, and stare into the sea like the lighthouse keepers of old. And I don’t blame them. I used to do it myself… frequently.
After all, there was a time in my life when I didn’t have much of a life outside of writing in my journal, playing my guitar, sitting in beautiful places, and dreaming of the future. And I admit: that was a great life! I would take my notebook and head to a beautiful place to write about what was happening around me. Sometimes it would be my thoughts and feelings filling the paper, and other times it would be chapters of a book or snippets of long-forgotten stories.
The lighthouse was always a huge draw. After all, there were places to sit and write and a beautiful ocean to watch as the hours passed. And more than that, just imagine the stories that the lighthouse could tell! Stories of sea captains, fair maidens, island princesses, and lighthouse keepers past. From a lighthouse, you can see the whole world or just a portion of an idea in a dream. I used to sit there for hours each week, planning for the future and writing everything I could.
Of course, today I don’t do that anymore. I have a job, responsibilities, a husband, a life, and this wonderful blog to write. And each month, I search the island for festivals to tell you about, movies to watch, events to attend, secret places to wander, and more. Why? Because I love my life and I love giving you a glimpse of our beautiful island. This blog has led me to explore a large portion of this beautiful island, places that you typically don’t see. And that has led to quite a few blog posts over the years. But my first love (and maybe yours) has always been this lighthouse.
As I mentioned, this year the lighthouse turns 100 years old. So if you can, I encourage you to make the trek up the hill and see it. Sure, it might not hold the same importance as it did before the light was turned off in the 70’s. But it’s history and the stories it can tell are more important than you can know. Plus, it’s just plain cool.
So if you have some free time and you are visiting Kauai this summer, stop by Kilauea Lighthouse. You’ll be glad that you did.
Okay, I’ve been getting some comments from friends about the fact that I constantly talk about meat when I write about food. (Clearly, they missed my post about farmers markets and the wonderful fruits and veggies on Kauai.) So, I decided to write a post about good vegan options on Kauai. After all, there are many individuals who have wonderful reasons for not eating meat, and my addiction to bacon (mostly because my diet says I can’t have it) should not cause them undue stress when eating out.
So, for my vegan and vegetarian readers out there, this one is for you.
There are a few good options if you want to eat vegan and still enjoy a meal in a nice restaurant here on Kauai. And my favorite place (yes, I am typically a vegetarian who eats a little fish here and there) is the Garden Café at Common Ground. This place is located on a farm! So I guess there’s no doubt that the veggies and fruit were grown locally and picked fresh. The atmosphere is great, as it’s an open-air café, allowing you to see all the beauty of Kauai around you. And the food is delicious. I don’t know how they make their salads so full of flavor, but they manage it. And if you leave without trying the taro fries, you will be extremely sorry you did later. They are out of this world.
Another great place is Postcards Café. I think I’ve written about this place before, so I’ll make this brief. (Well, relatively. I do LOVE to talk about food.) Postcards is right in Hanalei and they serve only fish and vegetarian fare. (Vegan too, if you were wondering.) No beef or chicken will grace their menu, as they are dedicated to providing meat-free (other than fish) food for the vegans and vegetarians of Kauai. They also don’t use any refined sugars, so diabetics might find a gold mine in this place as well. The food is SO good that you hardly notice you’re eating healthy.
The last place I will mention is the Caffe Coco. This place can only be described as quaint. It’s a small vegetarian and seafood restaurant in Kapaa that a lot of people miss (here is a link to their website), but they have one of the best vegan/vegetarian menus on Kauai. Four words: Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup. OH SO GOOD! Seriously, you need to try this place. Not all of the food is “to die for,” but this will give you the most options for your money and your dietary lifestyle. Plus… Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup! Am I right?
So there you have it – 3 places you can eat if you don’t eat meat. And if you do eat meat, they are still really good. Postcards and Caffe Coco have good seafood menus, and the atmosphere at each place is just perfect.
This morning was hard. I am dieting, as you know, and one of my friends suggested that I give up my morning coffee to avoid caffeine, sugar, and dehydration. So I agree, figuring that coffee was the least of my worries.
I was SO wrong.
Last night, I went out with my fiancée and had a wonderful time. We danced, played, walked on the beach, ate a fairly healthy meal together (refer to my last post), and stayed out WAY too late. That’s right – I’m tired.
It was past 2am when I finally came home and snuggled up with my pillow. So when the alarm went off at 7am to inform me that my day was starting, I wanted to cry. It couldn’t possibly be time to get up yet. Life was too short not to sleep as comfortably as possible for as long as possible, right? But alas, I got up and got ready for work anyway.
And then it happened. My sleepy steps wandered into the kitchen and stopped beside my dear friend, Mr. Coffee. I reached for my favorite Kauai Coffee blend and was half-way through scooping it into a filter when I remembered… I was off coffee.
Of course, that woke me up instantly. No coffee? But I needed it! It couldn’t be true! There had to be a loop-hole. And so I did something that I would later regret: I called my friend, woke her up, and begged her to let me have coffee.
Now, I realize that I am a grown woman who doesn’t need permission. But a challenge is like a sworn promise to me. I take them seriously. So when she challenged me to staying away from coffee for a week and I agreed, in my head that agreement was set in stone. And, to her credit, she didn’t yell at me as much as she could have. She simply told me that I could be a wuss if I wanted to and hung up.
Yeah. That was harsh.
Do you know much about Kauai Coffee? They are a local coffee company that makes the most wonderful blends. My favorite has jumped around a bit, but this year it has mostly been their Chocolate Macadamia Nut. It is a perfect combination of chocolate (which I love) and the sweet nuttiness of the Hawaiian Macadamia Nut. Honestly, it’s like drinking Hawaii in a cup… and then covering it with chocolate. ☺
But you know what other flavors are good? They have this amazing Coconut Caramel Crunch that simply blew my socks off the first time I tried it. To this day, I tend to go back and forth about my favorite of their blends and, if it isn’t Chocolate Macadamia Nut, then it’s Coconut Caramel Crunch. And then there is their Hawaiian Hazelnut, which is like their regular roast (already good) with a delicate touch of nutty goodness. In essence, their coffee is wonderful.
And it’s right around the corner! Okay, I admit it’s a bit of a drive when you don’t buy it from the store. But if I really wanted to commute (which I admit I’ve done on occasion), I could just head to the South-West side of the island and visit their company in person. It’s off Halewili Road right before Wahiawa Beach and the town of Hanapepe. And there is nothing better than getting your favorite coffee, freshly made on-site.
So, you can imagine my dismay over the fact that I wasn’t allowed to have it! It was like a physical blow, and it didn’t stop there.
The coffee called to me for the rest of the day, luring me back into the kitchen time and time again. I was tired the entire day, barely able to function as I went about my daily routine. And now it’s only 8pm, and all I can think about is sleep. Maybe I’ll go to bed right now and dream about waking up rested and able to resist my coffee’s allure.
Now, I don’t tell you this just to get your compassion and pity. Okay, that is part of it. I really do want pity here. But I also tell you this to let you know that Kauai has more than great food. We have great coffee. And if you come to visit us, please don’t leave without trying a cup, or two, or three… or 10.
Okay, now I’m going to bed.
I have been told for years that juicing is a great way to lose weight and feel fabulous at the same time. So I decided to try it. However, I came to realize that juice doesn’t really fill me up. Now, it might just be me and the way that I love food, but juice is just liquid. I needed something substantial.
Now, what is juicing really? It’s taking the essentials out of vegetables and fruit and drinking it, right? Well, I can do that AND have substance. How? With smoothies! (Good plan, huh?)
So, every morning at breakfast, I get out my blender (a Magic Bullet that a friend let me borrow for the month) and I go to town, throwing in whatever veggies and fruits I have in my refrigerator, along with a little protein powder and ice. The result is a heavenly combination of wonderful flavors, thick enough to feel like a real meal. I’m dieting and enjoying it! It’s great!
Of course, you may be asking yourself what this has to do with you? Well, that’s a good question, and I’ll tell you. Every morning I mix fresh fruits and vegetables into my smoothie. And every day I can buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the local market stands and farmers markets on the island! Goodbye frozen fruits and canned veggies. Hello fresh, organic produce from right here on Kauai.
Now, I’m from the North Side of the island, so I stick with these markets. But there are farmers markets all over Kauai if you just ask around about them. So if I don’t mention a FM that you know about and love, feel free to leave a comment about it here on my blog.
Okay, here is my schedule:
Monday – I go to Westin in Princeville with a friend who lives there and buy organic produce between 5 and 6pm. If I can’t go there, I hit Namahana Farmers Market by Banana Joe’s at 4pm.
Tuesday – Waipa Farmer’s Market meets at 2pm at Waipa Ahupuaa Field. They have great organic choices and chocolate covered bananas!! (Those are healthy because they are bananas, right?)
Wednesday – I don’t know of a FM on the North Shore. So if I don’t stock up on Tuesday, I buy stuff at the Kapaa Sunshine Market in the New Town Ball Park Parking Lot between 3 and 4pm. They have organic stuff too, but it is a bit of a drive for me.
Thursday – The Kilauea Neighborhood Center Ball Park Parking Lot has a FM at 4:30pm. It’s smaller than the others, but it gets the job done.
Friday – I have the same problem as with Wednesday. But I typically head to Vidinha Stadium at 3pm if there is an event at the stadium that night I want to see. Otherwise, I head into Anahola, where there is an all day market. (The problem with this is that they also serve lunches like a huli-huli chicken plate with roasted potatoes that is to die for! So I have to be careful.)
Saturday – The Hanalei Farmers Market is probably the closest to my house, which is great because then I have more of the day to play. ☺ This market is open from 9:30 in the morning until noon and also features craft booths, which are fun to look through.
Sunday – On Sundays, I eat a real breakfast as a treat after a week of dieting. (Though I usually use the fruit from the day before.) But if you really want to go to a FM, my favorite is in Kealia (East side of the island) by the post office. It runs from noon until 4pm and has much more than produce. There is live music, free entertainment, arts and crafts, flowers, hula, and more. It’s pretty fun and a great way to spend the afternoon if you’re bored.
So there you go. Kauai grows a ton of organic and local produce, from fruits to vegetables. And the number of farmer’s markets can clearly show you that. So if you want to eat healthy, or have fresh fruits and vegetables to work with everyday that you are here, visit some of our markets today.
Well, April Awareness month has gone surprisingly well, if I do say so myself. We’ve seen lots of information about water safety, learned a ton about which beaches to visit, and have even answered a few questions from tourists. Good times.
But what is an awareness month without a wrap-up blog!? Am I right?
So let’s go over the basic checklist (provided by the Kauai Lifeguard Association):
· Know the specific dangers of the site you are visiting.
· Know that rocks are slippery and waves can sweep you out into the ocean.
· Know that the ocean can appear calm and huge waves arrive 30 minutes later.
· Know where rip currents are and how to escape if caught in one.
· Know that shore breaks can pound you into the sand causing serious injuries.
· Know that waves breaking on reefs can hold you under water.
· Know that crossing streams during and after heavy rains can be treacherous.
· Know that lifeguards and local folks have this knowledge and can advise you.
· Know that swimming near a lifeguard is strongly recommended.
· Know that lifeguards are skilled and ready to offer assistance if you need it.
· Know that our free Kauai Beach Guide shows the location of lifeguard towers and can provide ocean safety information.
And remember, Kauai Explorer can provide you with the current ocean conditions each and every day. So there is no reason not to know before you go. When in doubt, don’t go out. It’s that easy.
Also, keep in mind that there are many water activities here on Kauai that are fun and exciting, despite the ocean’s ferocity. These activities (like scuba diving and surfing) are always safer in groups and when taught by certified instructors. And it’s always wise to try new water sports at lifeguard-protected beaches.
I hope you have a wonderful and safe stay here on Kauai.
No, this post will not be about which queens in Kauai’s history were known to use bubble bath. ☺ In fact, this post isn’t about a real bath at all. Rather, it is about a beautiful spot on Kauai that is rather dangerous. While I would normally write a post encouraging travel to lovely spots on Kauai, this blog will be more of a warning.
The Queen’s Bath is actually a tide pool in Princeville. It’s about the size of a swimming pool and is listed on many blogs for tourists as a beautiful spot to hike, swim, snorkel, and watch the surf. According to these other posts, the path down to the pool itself is a bit steep, but the walk is only about 10 minutes long and the view is worth it.
Well, this particular blogger disagrees with what is said on the other blogs. You see, anyone living on Kauai knows that this is a dangerous area, even if it is lovely. Every year, people die while trying to get down the slick, water-covered path to the tide pool, and even more drown as a result of swimming in and near this pool. While some websites will just tell you to wear grippy shoes and avoid high tide, I think this place should be a no-visit spot on Kauai for everyone, including those with grippy shoes.
The last time I visited the Queen’s Bath, I was much younger than I am now. I wore my swimsuit and got into the water. As always, the water was a perfect 75-80 degrees, so swimming was comfortable. Some friends and I went together and we laughed, talked, swam, and played in the water. The problem came when we were leaving.
A good friend of mine slipped from the rocks and fell into the water. She almost drowned. The tide was pulling at her and slammed her against the rocks. She was under for a while. Luckily, we had a trained lifeguard with us (a bonus of having such amazing friends) and he dove into the water after her. When we all made it back up to our cars, we made a pact: no more visits to the Queen’s Bath.
And I’m not the only one who has experienced problems with this area. Over 30 people have died there in the past several years, both from rouge waves and from slipping on the rocks. In fact, Queen’s Bath has been labeled one of the three most dangerous places to visit on Kauai. So, to put it plainly, don’t go there.
I bring this up because we have had a string of tourists visiting this swim spot in the last few months, and not all of them have come back unscathed. And while I want you all to experience everything Kauai has to offer, I also don’t want to see anything happen to you. So please do me a favor and take the following advice:
1. Don’t ever swim without a lifeguard present.
2. Don’t go to the Queen’s Bath and expect a fun day with no problems.
3. And never assume the water is safe and couldn’t hurt you just because you’re a strong swimmer at home and the waves look calm at the moment.
Okay guys, I’m sorry to be so fervent with this post, but I have lived here a long time and want everyone to stay here in safety. There are many beautiful beaches with fun tide pools, white sand, and calm waters that you can visit while on Kauai. And if you need information about any particular beach, just ask me! I would be glad to talk to you about everything you need to know.
When you have children, the idea of going to an island completely surrounded by water might be a bit scary. After all, the worry that your child can wander out into the water and be swept out to sea is a real one when there is that much water around. But, luckily for you, I have the answer.
Keeping your little ones safe so that they can enjoy the wonder of the ocean is important, so I want to help. And luckily for you, I know some of the safest beaches on Kauai! Is that because I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve been to every beach on Kauai? Well… okay, yes both of those things are true. But I know the safest beaches for kids on Kauai because of the Kauai Visitor’s Bureau, who have an awesome pamphlet about water safety and which beaches to choose.
So here is the information I read on the pamphlet:
Anini Beach – Anini Beach is on the North Side of the island near Princeville. And while this beach does not have a lifeguard (which is a big No No in my world), they do have a protected swimming area. So the water in this area stays calm and, if you keep a sharp eye on your kids, you should be able to have a lot of fun at this beach.
Lydgate Beach – Lydgate is on the East Side of the island and, unlike Anini Beach, it DOES have a lifeguard station. So in addition to a protected swimming area, there are trained professionals on site. (Yes!) Plus, if you are just getting into town, Lydgate Beach is just north of the airport a ways.
Poipu Beach Park – Poipu Beach Park has all of the greatness of Lydgate Beach, except it’s on the South Side of the island.
Salt Pond – Just like Poipu Beach Park, Salt Pond has a protected swimming area, ample room to set up your supplies for the day, a lifeguard on duty, and it’s located on the South Side of the island.
So, as you can see, there are a few beaches with calm, protected ocean waters where your small children can splash around, play with floaties, build sand-castles, and experience the warm tropical waves. And if you have any questions about the beaches listed above, you can contact the Kauai Visitors Bureau or simply write them a note on their Facebook page.