Here is another break from politics - I hope you enjoy sharing our week in Kauai. Today, sadly, is our last full day here - but we're going on to San Francisco for the weekend on our way home, to ease the shock of returning to New Jersey.
We have discovered that we love Kauai. We hadn't been here since 1987 and had forgotten how lovely it is. We were scheduled to come stay at the Waimea Plantation Cottages in the fall of 1992 when Hurricane Iniki hit Kauai and wrecked just about everything on the island. As a result we changed our destination to Maui, which wasn't affected by the storm. It was then that we stayed for the first time in the Kealia condominium complex. For some reason after that we didn't return to Kauai again and just continued going to Maui. Maybe we thought that Kauai was still recovering from the storm; whatever the reason, I wish we had come here again sooner.
Much as we love Maui, the island is getting built up and less relaxing than it once was. There are divided highways being built; there are traffic jams. There are chain stores.
Here on Kauai it's the way Maui was 20+ years ago.
The town of Waimea, where we are staying, is a piece of Old Hawaii; the two main streets are lined with old wooden storefronts that would be at home in the Old West or in Australia. While there are some tourist businesses (mostly for boat tours of the Na Pali Coast, snorkeling adventures, etc.), they are all home-grown, not big corporate businesses. There is no CVS; they have the Menehune Drug Store.
Even Kapa'a, which is a major town on the other side of the island, isn't lined with strip malls or chain stores. There are businesses there, to be sure, but again, it is relatively unspoiled. Lihue, the town closest to the airport, has a number of businesses (including car dealerships), and there is a Wal-Mart nearby, but that's about it.
One of the striking differences between Maui and Kauai is that there are many more native Hawaiians or people of Hawaiian ancestry here on Kauai than on Maui. There are fewer rental cars and more pickup trucks, more people just going about their daily business. There is even someone who rides his horse to work and "parks" the horse at the side of the road.
The only ominous signs of development are on the Poipu peninsula, where there are a number of resorts. We had stayed at the Poipu Sheraton back in 1982, and at a little condo complex near there (Garden Isle Apartments) in 1987. Back then it was still a pretty sleepy little area and the old town of Koloa was unspoiled. Now we noticed that there are a number of properties being developed for "estates." We can only hope that this development is kept under strict control. At least it isn't strip malls.
Now for your tour of Kauai!
This is our cottage at the Waimea Plantation Cottages, nestled in its garden setting. All of the cottages are historic plantation cottages, which were originally built for those working on the sugar plantations. Many of these cottages were moved from other locations to the grounds here. The Waimea Plantation Cottages was named as one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" of 2006.
Here is a view of our living room and kitchen/dining area as you come in the door from the front porch. On the left, out of sight of the picture, is a TV, VCR, DVD player, portable stereo, and - best of all - an internet connection.
This is a view of the bedroom. In addition to the bed and two night stands, there is a bureau and a closet with mirrors on the doors.Below are a picture of the lanai (porch) with its wicker furniture, and a view taken from the lanai looking out onto the central lawn area.
This is the pool on the property, near the ocean.
Views of the black sand beach that we walk on each day.
Two views in the town of Waimea, including the Ishihara market where we have been buying our fresh fish and vegetables. The market dates back to the early 1930's.
This is one of the most spectacular beaches on Kauai. It is the Polihale Beach in Polihale State Park, and is the last beach before the Na Pali Cliffs, seen in the background. The white sand on this beach extends for 17 miles down the coast.
One of Kauai's other famous attractions is the Waimea Canyon, seen in these two pictures below. It is hard to do justice to it with snapshots.
This is a view taken on our way to the other side of the island.
This is a mother hen and her chicks that we saw at a little place we stopped at for lunch. Kauai has chickens everywhere. They just run wild. Roosters crow at all hours of the day and you can hardly go anywhere without having to avoid a rooster, hen, or their chicks. We awakened each morning to the sound of the local rooster crowing, along with other birds. We also had a tiger cat who visited us a few times and got some handouts!
This is a view of the Hanalei Valley, which is another beautiful area of Kauai. For some reason we don't seem to have pictures of the area along the shore or the cute little town of Hanalei, which we drove through. I guess we were too busy admiring the scenery and didn't stop to take pictures!
Here are a couple of pictures of our favorite little town of Hanapepe, which is a few minutes down the road from Waimea. On Friday nights all of the little shops and galleries are open and there is live music in the streets. In addition to galleries and gift shops, there is also a great bookstore called Talk Story and some good local restaurants. Many of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.This building, which once housed a hotel, was used in the filming of the movie "The Thornbirds," standing in for an Australian hotel.
Last but not least, a Kauai sunset taken on the beach near our cottage.