For Valentine's Day my wife and I made a weekend trip to Kauai. It was the first time I was ever in Hawaii, and Krista's second time. The trip itself was fun, but I personally don't plan on ever returning to Hawaii for reasons detailed below.
Thursday, 2019 February 14
Somewhat unusually for us, we actually took an afternoon flight (generally we fly early in the morning). We got to Sea-Tac airport well before noon and had a nice meal at Seattle Taproom, our usual hangout, especially now that they closed the Anthony's.
We flew on Delta, which offers non-stop service from Seattle to multiple locations in Hawaii. I don't really remember why we settled on Kauai, but it turned out to be a fine choice. We flew first-class and the flight got off to a great start when we boarded and were immediately handed drinks.
My libertarian sensibilities were enraged when we had to fill out some stupid Hawaii Department of Agriculture form. Honestly, I don't understand how this hasn't been crushed; requiring what amounts to a customs declaration to enter a state seems so blatantly unconstitutional that I thought it must be a joke at first. It wasn't, and this was only the opening act in this farce.
After landing and grabbing our bags, we picked up a Jeep Cherokee from the Alamo and got on our way. It was a pretty short drive to arrive at the Kaua'i Marriott Resort. Our room was nice and, after dropping our stuff off and taking a few pictures, we decided to explore the grounds and get some food. After a nice stroll we ended up at Duke's. We sat in the bar and had a light supper and a few drinks.
Friday, 2019 February 15
We ate breakfast at Kukui's. It's a gorgeous spot and the food was good, but overpriced for what it was. The convenience couldn't be beaten though.
Our hotel was centrally located so we decided that one day we would cruise south and the other day we would cruise north. Today was our day to head south.
We first stopped at Poipu Beach to get some pictures and generally enjoy the beautiful view.
A short drive away was the Spouting Horn. This was incredibly cool; I could have spent hours just watching the water. We took a bunch of photos, then visited the shops immediately adjacent.
From there we headed west and north to get to the Waimea Canyon State Park. We found our way to the canyon overlook for which the park is best known. This was almost unreal.
We then headed back to Poipu for a late lunch/early supper at Keoki's Paradise. The food was good and the spot was wonderfully relaxing. I could have stayed here all afternoon drinking beer, but we had other things to do.
We drive back towards our hotel but kept going to get to Wailua Falls. This was again beautiful; I know I sound like a broken record, but everywhere we looked on Kauai we saw something incredible.
Having not yet seen enough waterfalls for the day, we looped around the Wailua River State Park to see Opaeka'a Falls.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the Koa Store. They had absolutely gorgeous wood products. We picked up a few small gifts here. I would have liked to buy a few larger pieces, but there was no practical way to get them home.
Finally we got back to the hotel. We walked down to Kukui's for a light supper and drinks, closing the day out where it had started.
Saturday, 2019 February 16
Once again we ate breakfast at Kukui's. We then headed north.
Our first stop was about ten miles up the road; there is a path that runs all along the shore with numerous spots to park. We found a particularly scenic spot (it's not hidden, there were other cars there already) and stopped for pictures.
Farther north we stopped at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, which also contains a lighthouse. Unfortunately we were too early and the gate was still locked, so we took some pictures from the parking lot and then moved on.
Very close by, still in Kilauea, was Garden Island Chocolate. We stopped here not knowing what to expect and were very underwhelmed. There was one little shop; otherwise it felt like a massive tourist trap. We left fairly quickly.
Heading west again, we arrived in Princeville - and found all of the traffic, as apparently everyone was trying to get to the same place we were on a Saturday morning - the north shore. We decided that being stuck in that much traffic would just anger us, so we ducked onto side streets and headed north in hopes of seeing the Queen's Bath. Unfortunately it wasn't clear to us where to park - there were a lot of signs telling us where we couldn't park, but nothing telling us where we could - so we decided to just head back the way we came.
On our way back we decided to stop at the Kilauea Lighthouse again - the gates were open by now. We were both really glad we came back. The lighthouse was absolutely gorgeous and I could have watched waves breaking on the rocks all day. This was also when I realized that I am absolutely not an explorer - given the choice between staying on dry land and heading out to sea, there's no way I would ever take the risk.
Retracing our path a bit more, we stopped in Kapa'a for lunch and shopping. There were a couple cool little shops along the main drag plus a market. We had lunch at The Olympic Cafe. I was pleasantly surprised - for a place that looks like a bit of a dive, the food and the service were both good. The people-watching was great as well, since the entire restaurant is on the second story.
Once again we headed back to the hotel. This time we explored the lobby a bit and discovered a very well-stocked convenience store. It would have been nice to figure this out earlier. We then had supper at Kukui's again.
Sunday, 2019 February 17
We checked out of the hotel and decided we'd just drive around. First we headed north to Wailua again to have brunch at the Lava Lava Beach Club. The setting was absolutely gorgeous; the food was decent but nothing special.
We headed south to Kilohana. We wandered through the buildings and shops and took the train tour (which was pretty cool).
At this point we were running out of things to do but our flight didn't leave until 2130. We drove around for a while, trying to hit a few points of interest. We did see some gorgeous scenery.
For supper we stopped at Rob's Good Times Grill. My club sandwich was dry as a bone and the service was terrible; not impressed at all.
We dropped the Jeep off at Alamo and then sat in the airport for a while. We had to jump through another set of bureaucratic hoops - get our luggage inspected, then sit in a "sterile" room. Additionally they didn't have any precheck lanes open, which led to more anger. I enjoyed actually being in Hawaii, but the acts of arriving and departing soured me on the entire experience.
Our flight was a redeye so we got home early on Monday morning and tried to get back into the swing of normalcy.
(Apologies if I misspelled "Kauai", or any other Hawaiian word, at any point in this entry - I never could wrap my Anglo-German brain around the proper spelling of Hawaiian words.)Tuesday, 2019 January 01 Friday, 2019 March 01