Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kauai

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.

27 comments:

PoliShifter said...

Great Pictures!!

PoliShifter said...

I had to come back and look at the pics again...now I want to take a nice long break and spend it in Hawaii to get away from all this maddness...damn..

TomCat said...

Great pics, Maui. I think I would prefer this island over Maui.

TomCat said...

PS - Thanks for the yummy chickens!! ;-)

lildb said...

we spent our honeymoon in Kauai, in a condo in Kapa'a, and toured around the island. I loved Waimea, and the canyon was amazing. Poipu was kind of my least favorite place because of all the resort action, although I was okay with Princeville, and it has lotsa resorts, too. so, I dunno. It's just that there are so many gems of hidden beaches in the Princeville area, that trump the dumb resorts.

your cottage is simply dreamy, btw. wow. idyllic.

(found you 'cause Citymama linked to the Obama vid here on MOMocrats)

Suzi Riot said...

Kauai is my favorite island. It's been a LONG time since I've been, though. I have a serious case of vacation envy!

Thanks for sharing these gorgeous pictures. I'm so glad that you had such a wonderful time!

Friend #2 said...

You are KILLING me!!!

(Can't wait until you guys are back - it's been too quiet here)

fairlane said...

Returning to the mainland from Hawaii is like landing on another planet, which could be cool.

Unfortunately, that planet is Venus where it rains sulfuric acid.

Be safe.

M said...

Beautiful. Wish I was there too! So glad you're enjoying yourself! If we ever manage to go, I'll have to email you for some tips.

Christopher said...

Aw, Kauai! My favorite Hawaiian island. Simply splendid!

Beautiful pictures. Well done.

pissed off patricia said...

Calgon, take me away to this place and leave me there forever.

Randal Graves said...

Wonderful shots! And just think, in 20 years, you'll be looking for another island since Maui will be packed to the gills. ;-)

Randal Graves said...

Kauai, I mean.

Mauigirl said...

Polishifter, that is exactly how I felt when we came here. I really feel as if I am healed from the craziness!

Tomcat, Maui still has some wonderful things to see - the Haleakala Crater is amazing, and there are many beautiful places that are still very unspoiled. But we have been seriously thinking of moving here in our retirement and we definitely feel Kauai is the place to be. (Glad you liked the chickens - the little ones are quite tasty I understand, LOL!)

Lildb, Poipu, especially now (it was pretty low key in 1982 and 1987) is definitely the most "resort-y" area of the island. Up at the Princeville end, it still seems quieter, I agree. The Waimea side is the most low key - and even fewer people on the beaches, which I love. Of course, coming from New Jersey, ALL Hawaii beaches have fewer people on them than I'm used to! Glad you found me through MOMocrats, hope you'll keep coming back!

Suzi, glad to be able to bring back some good memories of Kauai for you! Thanks!

Friend #2, next time you guys must come with us! We're already thinking of coming back again next March!

Fairlane, I'm trying to think how to keep the relaxation going when I get home, in order to avoid the crushing letdown of returning to New Jersey! At the very least I could schedule a massage every other week...had one while I was here and it was so great.

M, you and your husband should definitely come here - you would love it. There are great airfare deals from the West Coast and once here you can stay pretty cheaply (this place isn't cheap but we've been investigating other cottages in this same area that are a lot less). We cooked dinner in almost every night (we did eat out for lunch two or three times). We found we liked making our own fish better than buying it in a restaurant!

Christopher, glad you enjoyed them!

POP, that is how I feel. The idea of leaving here (which will soon be a reality!) is depressing!!!

Randal, I know, that is something that worries me. Kauai has always resisted development more than Maui (even when we were first here in 1982, Kauai had already put in place a law that there can be no hotels or condos higher than a palm tree, to avoid high rises on the beach like in Honolulu, and even Maui. Maui only put in a restriction on building height a few years ago). But if it does get bad, we already have our next island picked out - Molokai. We've been there twice and it is a very sleepy little island with very little development.;-)

Mary Ellen said...

You soooo made me ready for a trip to Hawaii! Are you going to change your name to Kauaigirl now? ;-)

Beautiful pictures! Ugh..I'm so ready to go. Thanks for that. If I ever to make a trip, I'll know who to talk to. It sounds like you're quite the expert, here. Thank you!

TomCat said...

They are. Now if only I could afford the cost of living there.

Mauigirl said...

LOL, Mary Ellen, I was thinking about that...but Kauaigirl just doesn't sound the same! ;-) I hope you do come here - and I'll be happy to give you lots of tips!

Tomcat, if we actually lived here I think it would be possible to live cheaply. I would probably raise my own vegetables year round (we do it at home in the summer), buy local fish (even inexpensive fish like mackerel is good - we had that for dinner the other night and it was only about $6 a pound). And there are thrift stores where you can buy furniture and clothing! No need to change clothes for the seasons, so that cuts back on expenses too. Gas is expensive though. But who needs to drive a lot if you can walk on the beach? (You can see we've given this a great deal of thought!)

FranIAm said...

By time you read this you may be home.

It is hard to return from Hawaii!

Kauai, as I had mentioned is special to me.

The photos brought me right back. I so love that "Old Hawaii" feeling.

The great shot of Hanalei valley- with its patchwork of fields really got me, I could feel myself standing in that same spot, as I have done many times.

And I also loved the shot near the Na Pali cliffs. I went there, potentially invalidating my rental car agreement by driving through the cane field. (this was in 1998!)

It was so spectacular, one of the most amazing sites I have ever seen. In 2002 I saw it from the other side at K'ee Beach.

Thanks so much for sharing your visit with us.

BTW, not sure if this is true or not, but on one of my visits to the Garden Isle(1998, 2000 and 2002) I was told that the chickens run free because they got loose from farms during Iniki in'92.

I do love me some Kauai chickens!

I think I stayed at the Garden Isle Apartments on my first visit, I can't recall.

Thanks again!!

Mauigirl said...

Fran, thanks for your reminiscences about Kauai! And for the explanation of where all those chickens came from! We were trying to remember if we saw so many chickens when we were there in '82 and '87, and couldn't remember seeing them then. That explains it.

(I always associated roosters crowing with Hawaii. The condo complex we used to stay at on Maui (a few buildings down from the one we stay at now) was situated right next to a plot of land that was probably the last privately owned piece of beach in Kihei. It was owned by an old Philippino fisherman and his family, and consisted of a shack, fishing equipment and a boat, and lots of chickens with some shelters for them. Every morning the rooster woke us up, and sometime during the day you could smell chicken cooking over an open fire for dinner! Sadly, he must have passed on a few years ago, and his plot of land is now gone and is apparently slated for development.)

Polihale is an astounding sight the first time you see it. We had read about it in our guidebook back in 1987 so we went to see it and were astonished when we arrived and it opened out in front of us with those cliffs rising up on one side.

We noticed this time our car rental agreement also said Polihale Beach was "restricted" - didn't invalidate our rental agreement but it said their insurance wouldn't cover any damage if we went there. Guess it's the same thing. But we went anyway! I can't remember now, it probably said the same thing in 1987.

We did see Ke'e Beach as well - once I looked up where it was I realized that was the beach we looked at when we had gone through Hanalei. Isn't it also the beach where South Pacific was filmed? It was beautiful also!

Distributorcap said...

oh boy
and now back to NJ

how long before Kauai becomes Oahu

Mauigirl said...

DCap, returning to New Jersey will sure be hard! Luckily we're in San Francisco at the moment, one last reprieve before we go home tomorrow.

I would say Kauai will never be Oahu. But if it were, I would say at least 50 years!

odessa said...

ah, such a beautiful place. it made me homesick for my islands. *sigh*.

thanks a lot for giving us this virtual tour. and oh, enjoy SF too! the weather is gorgeous these days.

Liz said...

Oh, wow, fabulous!

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