ALOHA FROM LINDA: I recently enjoyed a family getaway to Kauai, the oldest island in our Hawaiian chain, and had such a wonderful time that I wanted to share my experiences.
My Kauai stay was centered in the Wailua Homestead area near the panoramic Wailua River. It rains practically every night, so the greenery, such wild bromeliads, grows quickly. I ended up taking a lot of pictures of neighboring yards, because of their creative landscaping and plants, like this beautiful triple hibiscus.
One of my trip highlights was being able to enjoy Kapaa Town’s Orchid Alley with my daughter. This open air nursery has hundreds of orchids for viewing and sale, including prizewinners and unusual hybrids. They also have a variety of air and exotic plants. Beautiful sights included water features that are made out of all natural materials, ponds and an enclosed area with butterflies.
Another memorable event was our visit to Smith’s Tropical Paradise in the Wailua River Valley. This is a 30-acre botanical garden and venue maintained by the fourth generation of the Smith family. Their offerings, such as a garden luau, nature walk through a fern grotto, or two mile river cruise, are the best—enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. You can see the details at their website: www.smithskaui.com
On my tour, I saw a beautiful blue chested peacock. When he spotted a female, he spread his tail feathers and went towards her pushing his feathers forward. He’d also turn around and his back end was very striking. It was a lot of fun watching him ‘strut his stuff’ and try to impress the hen.
On another day, we had a bit of excitement when a flash flood warning siren blasted on our cell phones as we approached a one lane bridge. These Kauai bridges use an honor system where no more than seven cars should travel across the bridge while the cars on the opposite side patiently wait, and then those cars can make their way across, and so on. Upon hearing the sirens, most cars turned around rather than continue across, because if heavy rains bring flash floods, then the bridge would be closed down temporarily, stranding us on the other side. Undeterred, my adventure loving daughter continued over the bridge, because she wanted to visit the shops and get a hot dog at a popular stand in the mall. We lucked out and the bad weather didn't materialize, so we enjoyed our hot dogs, and she was right--it was extra good.
Whether you are a local ‘kamaaina’ like myself visiting family (mahalo to my daughter and son-in-law for being such great hosts) or a visitor striking out on your own to the islands, Kauai is a totally peaceful place to relax and rejuvenate.