Day #9 – Tuesday
What a change of scenery!!! Where Kona was rocky and moonlike, Kauai was lush, and green, and mountainous. Scenery reminiscent of what I would imagine parts of Vietnam might look like. Beautifully shaped mountains covered in green foliage. It was just gorgeous. And flowers galore. It truly was a tropical paradise.
Our resort was outstanding. The Kaua’i Marriott Resort. A stunning first impression with picturesque water gardens, a very large koi pond, and a pool area that reminded me of a higher end hotel/casino in Las Vegas (with a minimal population of Vegas bods. We’re talking more like a mom bod/dad bod vibe here. YES!! FIST PUMP!) And just beyond the pool, the beach! A small, but accommodating beach for body surfing, surfing and paddle boarding. You could also get a glimpse of visiting cruise ships and military boats. This resort was first class and I loved it.
We grabbed a tasty lunch from Kukui’s on the Beach on the resort property and then checked into our room. And for the first time in a week we had central air conditioning. Sigh. It was glorious.
We spent a little time at the pool and then decided to hang tight in our pjs in our room. We ordered up some room service and just relaxed. It was magical and time for bed.
Day #10 – Wednesday
Our first night’s sleep in air conditioning and we slept in. A much needed rest. We finally peeled ourselves out of bed and headed to the resort buffet for a very satisfying breakfast. The plan for the day was to drive the coast and take in the Manoa Falls. We had so much fun stopping at all of the scenic outlook stops including parts of the Wailua Heritage Trail (Maunakapu and Wailua River). There was something different and gorgeous around every corner. It was a day I’ll never forget.
We traveled as far as we could go, which was the cute little town of Hanalei (a la Puff the Magic Dragon) where we stopped for a bite to eat at Tropical Taco. One more stop at the scenic overlook at Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge which had an amazing view of neat partitions of farmland and then we headed home to the resort to get cleaned up for dinner. We were treated by my inlaws to an amazing meal at Hukilau Lanai. A terrific assortment of cuisine with an interesting mix of Hawaiian and Italian food, amazing cocktails and ridiculous desserts. Dining al fresco (which I LOVE), it was a great choice for a fine meal for the adults, but perfectly suited for our kids.
We walked the property of the restaurant/resort and took some photos beachside. We then returned to our resort to ditch our car and then hiked about a half a mile up through the adjacent golf course to take in the 4th of July fireworks display. We had a perfect spot to watch. All in all, a great day and a great evening.
Day #11 – Thursday
Our intent for the day was to visit the Waimea Canyon State Park, but our sweet niece was up all night with an ear infection. To give her time to heal, we postponed for the next day. We spent the day enjoying the resort pool and beach. It was pretty spectacular to wake and see a huge cruise ship docked in the inlet. The sea was rough this day, so our time was best spent at the very sizable pool. It was a relaxing day. A real vacation day.
We stayed close the resort and walked to a local New York Style pizza place called Pietro’s Pizza. It was good. I’m a huge fan of fish and could really eat it every day, but I do admit that it was a nice change to have some really good authentic NY Style pizza. We then headed next door to Skinny Mike’s Ice Cream & Shave Ice. A nice walk back to the resort with a few stops to catch lizards and pet some ferrel cats and it was time to call it a night in preparation for an early wake up call to catch the canyon views before the cloud cover rolls in.
Day #12 – Friday
Waimea Canyon State Park it is. We got up early in hopes of getting good canyon views before the cloud cover started to descend. Mission accomplished. We had great views of the canyon and beyond. It was windy and cool at the summit. If you didn’t know, you would not think that you were still in Hawaii. The signature abundance of tropical flowers did not exist at the high altitude. But you know what was up there? Hydrangeas! Not a flower I would have ever expected to see here. The canyon was very different from the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Although this one is decidedly smaller, it was still quite majestic and breathtaking. Not the layers of reds and browns like the big daddy, this landscape was a combination of the reds of the rock, but had a blanket of green that made it fit right in with the rest of the scenery in Kauai. Just beautiful.
We made several stops to scenic overlooks to take in the sights and snap some photos. It was a really windy descent down the mountain that didn’t agree with some of our passengers. Several emergency stops were needed, but in the end all was well. On our way back to our resort, we scouted out a Starbucks. (Do you hear the choir of angels?) The coffee shop at the resort closed every day at 11 am. Blasphemous!!! Really my only complaint of our stay.
After 12 days in the sun, our kids were wanting a day inside to veg. So veg they did. I, however, don’t often turn down a day in the sun, especially in an exotic locale and MORE especially ALONE!!!! Yes, I spent a few hours at the pool alone. It was deliciously relaxing and I snuck in the tiniest of naps.
My husband’s brother and his wife went out for a date night to a restaurant they had been to 10 years prior on their honeymoon, so we stayed behind and got take out for our kids, and our niece and nephew. We enjoyed our meal on the gigantic and delightfully breezy lanai overlooking the pool. It was a super fun night of lots and lots of laughing.
Day #13 – Saturday – Our last day
We laid low on our last day. Staying at the resort and trying to soak up as much of this place as possible. We stayed at the pool for most of the day with several trips to the hot tub. We took advantage of poolside food and beverage delivery and also hit the shave ice stand. My daughter and her uncle took the winning spot at the water balloon toss, with my middle son and nephew in a close second. All celebrated with complimentary popsicles!! Winning!
We decided to return to the pizza joint and carried out our food to the beach for a last night picnic with the family. The kids enjoyed a final chance to play on the sea shore and my husband and I enjoyed the view.
As in our typical fashion, it was an early night; mostly to start packing for our journey back to reality.
Hawaii is a beautiful state. The people are lovely and gracious and the scenery could arguably be heaven on earth for many. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience this part of the world with the people that I love the most.
Mahalo Hawaii. Until we meet again. Aloha.
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