A big Mahalo to Anaina Hou who is now bringing live music, trivia and lots of social gatherings to the north shore of Kauai! You may not recognize the name, but Anaina Hou is the community center that features a mini-golf surrounded by a botanical garden in Kilauea. It is also known as the starting point for the Wai Koa Loop trail, a fire show every Wednesday night, and one of the best playgrounds on the island. The Farmers Market on Saturday morning offers some of the freshest local produce, flowers and homemade products. And, there is talk of a craft fair to be held at the same time.
But, what many north shore residents are most excited about are the events that have been happening at the Porter Pavilion; a beautiful, newly built, large room with a stage, that is a perfect venue for movies and live music. Pau Hana Fridays have become very popular. At least one Friday a month a musical group from around the island or abroad is brought in to perform. Food trucks offer ono (delicious) food and concessions are sold. Happy Hour runs from 5:00 to 7:00 with music from 6:00 to 9:00. Keiki (children) are welcome so it makes for a great opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. There is seating inside the pavilion or on a large grassy area which can be used to picnic. It is quite the social gathering and guess what – it’s free!
Looking for a fun, low impact, exercise activity on Kauai? Try Aquasize in Paradise for some water aerobics. The buoyancy of the water makes the workout much easier on the joints, and you will meet some friendly locals and guests in the process.
The hour long class includes a warm up, cardio, strength training exercises, balance and stretch. It is a multilevel class, with modifications suggested for people who have knee, back or shoulder problems. All fitness levels are welcome. The pool is heated and salt cleaned.
Thanks to Honu Point’s concierge, Stephanie Michel, I had the opportunity to meet Rochelle Ballard this week. Growing up in San Diego and being around the surf scene for most of my teenage years, it was quite an honor. Rochelle Ballard, a world-class surfer, who competed professionally for seventeen years, grew up on Kauai. For the last ten years she has taken her well balanced, mindful approach to life and created an Elite Wellness Retreat business on the Garden Island.
Before I go into specifics about her offerings, check out this five minute video as an introduction to Rochelle Ballard:
One of my June guests who stayed at my vacation rental, Honu Point, was quick to tell me about how much fun they had taking ukulele lessons at Hanalei Strings. The whole family participated, along with a friend who happened to be on the island at the same time. I had heard about these lessons before, but there is nothing like hearing about it from someone who has actually participated. They had a blast!
Here’s a unique way to watch the sunset! On the Sunset Cart Tour you will drive around the beautiful Princeville Golf Course on one of their cushy golf carts capturing incredible photos from various stops along the 18 hole Makai course. The best part is that you don’t have to be a golfer! And, no reservations are needed so you can wait until you are pretty sure the weather is going to cooperate.
Two hours before the sunset, people start gathering at the Princeville Golf Shop. First stop is the Makai Grill where guests order a few refreshing beverages, at Happy Hour pricing, to fill their on-cart ice chests. Then the carts are doled out and and guests jump into their designated cart for the one and a half hour late afternoon experience.
The line of carts, led by a Princeville Golf Course pro or employee, meander through the course, designed by Mr. Robert Trent Jones Jr., on smooth paths, stopping at five especially scenic spots. The guides (Tom, Randy or Andrew) talk story about the north shore flora and fauna, including the many different kinds of sea birds soaring over the ocean. Queen’s Bath, The Kilauea Lighthouse, Puff the Magic Dragon, Anini Reef, numerous North Shore beaches including Secrets, Lumahai, Haena, Anini, Hideaway, Waikoko and Hanalei Bay will be pointed out along the way. The Hawaiian state bird, Nene, and the seasonal Laysan albatross with their chicks, are extra, visual treats to see on the golf course. Photo opportunities abound.
So, it is your last day on Kauai. You have had a fabulous time swimming, snorkeling, hiking and exploring Paradise. But check-out time is 10:00 and you have a red-eye flight. What to do all day without needing a shower before boarding the plane? Here are eight ideas for making that last day count, especially if you have been staying on the North Shore.
Your Last Day on Kauai #1
Save your trip to the Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park for your last day. From the North Shore it is a LONG day. Depending on traffic it will take you about two hours to reach your goal. Once there stop at all the pull-outs for some fabulous sights and photo opportunities. Wonder through the small Kokee Natural History Museum (open daily, 9:00 – 4:00) and have lunch at the Kokee Lodge Restaurant. Do not miss the final lookout where, if you have clear skies, your view will be straight down the Kalalau Valley to the sea. Driving back, stop and take a short walk into the mountains or relax on the big meadow in front of the lodge.
After coming down the mountain, stop at Waimea town and wander through the shops. Have a shave ice or an ice cream cone and enjoy the sunny, dry west side of the island. Hanapepe and Poipu are on your way back to the airport so there are plenty of places to stop if you have more time. End your day at Duke’s in Lihue where you will be close to your airport departure and may toast a perfect ending to your Kauai vacation. Not having to drive back to the North Shore shaves an hour off the trip.
To read more about the last time I drove to the Waimea Canyon and Kokee, check out this blog post.
I oftentimes get asked the question, “What is the best Kauai helicopter tour company?” I have been hesitant to answer in the past because I have not personally been on a Kauai helicopter tour since the 80s. Last week, however, a good friend of mine who owns a condo in Princeville, went on the Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour out of the Princeville Airport and came back raving about it. “We FINALLY experienced this March 2019 – and WOW! It is by far the BEST way to get a sense of the whole island. It was spectacular!”
Kauai is unique in that there is no road which circles the island. Therefore 70% of the lush interior, along with the Na Pali Coast is inaccessible by car. This is, without question, the most beautiful part of the island. The tropical rain-forests, lush valleys and cascading waterfalls are what dreams are made of. Parts of the Waimea Canyon can be seem by driving to the west side of the island and up to Kokee State Park (about a two hour drive from Princeville). The 17 mile Na Pali Coast, with 3000 foot sea cliffs, is stunning by boat. However, ocean swells often keep boats from touring during winter months. A Kauai helicopter tour, on the other hand, will give you a bird’s eye view of this spectacular scenery and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters fly year-round, weather permitting of course.
If you are visiting Kauai, there is no better place to tee up than the Princeville Makai Golf Course. This video will surely get you in the mood.
As you can see from the video, the Princeville Makai Golf Course wraps in and out of the Princeville Resort Community. The views of the ocean, mountains and Hanalei Bay are spectacular. Besides the golfing activities I mentioned in a previous blog, there are now lessons available with the golf pro, Andrew Schmidt.
North Shore residents are extremely proud of their Princeville Library, built 20 years ago. This fully stocked, air-conditioned source for books is perfect for borrowing adult and children’s books while on vacation. A large magazine section and DVD rentals are an added bonus. Computer access and wifi make this an important resource for visitors and locals alike.
The Princeville Library is a perfect place to take your children to pick out books to read while visiting the Garden Island. This saves you from having to pack and carry heavy books when traveling. If rain is keeping you from the beach, this quiet sanctuary may be just the spot to while away a few hours.
Friends of the North Shore Library at Princeville is the local affiliate of Friends of the Library of Hawaii, an active group of library users and advocates which for years has supported Hawaii’s public libraries through funding for programs, books and supplemental materials. Four times a year this group offers books, puzzles, cds and dvds for sale at very reasonable prices. Book sales are held on the FIRST Saturday of March, June, September (first Sat. after labor day), and December. The selection is huge and is held in the back room of the library. If you are on island for one of these dates, do not miss it! The Princeville Library sale starts at 9:00 for members and 10:00 for nonmembers.
I had heard that Captain Andy’s Na Pali Coast Sunset Dinner Sail is a great way to celebrate any occasion. So Tom and I decided to give it a go for our wedding anniversary. We had been on a two hour sunset sail off the coast of Poipu with Captain Andy’s many years ago but this was a four hour excursion and it went down the Na Pali coast.
There are three of Andy’s boats that go down the Na Pali coast for a sunset dinner cruise. The two custom 65′ Star Class luxury catamarans are the best. We were on the Southern Star which is a sister ship to the Northern Star (pictured above). There were about 50 people on board along with the crew who were ready to serve.
There is seating in the front of the boat, inside a cabin and in the rear. In order to avoid a lot of wind and water spray we found some extremely comfortable seats around a table in the back of the boat.