Kauai ~ Day 4 ~ Wiamea Canyon & AJ’s Celebration

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wiamea Canyon

Today was a full one, which started off with a six hour road trip to Wiamea Canyon.  Dave, Diane and I went without Dustin, who was feeling under the weather.

Kauai is very laid back and only has two lane roads to get everywhere … no super highways here!  There are no roadways through the center part of the island and the perimeter roadway is shaped in a reverse “C.”   So as the crow flies, Wiamea really wasn’t that far from Princeville, but due to the road situation it took us several hours to get there.


Along the way, we drove through “tree tunnel”. This is a natural tunnel that is about half a mile long and is popular with tourists. Diane and I almost got squished a few times trying to snap a good picture. Oh yeah, she also tried to climb the root-like trunk of one of the huge trees. That’s my girl!

The northern part of Hawaii is so plush, green, and very tropical feeling. The southern part is almost desert-like in comparison. We saw this interesting waterfall along the way and had to stop and explore.

This is Kauai?

Wildlife on Kauai didn’t present itself on this island, except for wild roosters and chickens everywhere. There were early wake-up calls at the resort thanks to these fellas.

Isn't he pretty?

Wiamea Canyon is considered to be the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and I think it’s even more breath-taking. It is 10 miles long, one mile wide, and 3,600 feet deep. It’s layers depict the evidence of centuries of lava flow and volcanic eruptions. The shroud of fog that rolled in created a spectacular sight.

Too close!

After a picnic lunch, we headed back to our resort, but found a really cool little artsy town called “Hanapepe”. This name came to be Diane’s favorite word to say in her most girly, southern, voice. (Hana – pay – pay)

Loved this vintage gas pump and vintage truck filled with flowers. I’m thinking that maybe we could do this to our old work truck when it dies. Hmmm?  This rope bridge was kinda interesting as well, although I don’t know its significance.
AJ, Ally’s brother, just graduated with honors just days before traveling to Kauai for the wedding. His parents, Cindy and Brian, invited all of the wedding guest to a big dinner at Bouchon’s, a popular Hanalei sushi restaurant.  My kids were in heaven!

AJ's celebration

I have to admit that I fell in love with a little tropical drink called a “lava flow” which is a pina colada with fresh strawberry puree. Too die for! It is so pretty and unassuming, although it definitely packs a punch. Too bad I don’t like sushi, or let’s say I don’t want to try most of it. There were SO many beautiful plates of it brought out that I think my kids were going crazy (in a good way) with all the choices.  My dinner on the other hand, was teriyaki chicken with fresh pineapple and garlic mashed potatoes. Delicious!

The group had so much fun together. I’m so happy with all the new relationships forged.  So far, this week has been out of this world!

Kauai ~ Day 3 ~Chillin’ at the Westin

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wedding Details

This morning my family went on an open door helicopter ride over the entire island of Kauai, which I opted out of.  While they were out playing, I stayed back at the resort and did a walk-through of possible wedding ceremony sites with the bride, groom, Cindy (Ally’s Mom) and Uncle Buddy (event clergy extraordinaire).

bride, groom & Uncle Buddy

After looking at several different places on the property, Mike and Ally knew they had found the perfect location for their nuptials. The pap’i (covered, thatched roof hut), was located on a cliff overlooking the cerulean waters of the ocean below. It offered the perfect exposure to the soothing trade winds and just the right amount of protection from the possibility of warm rains that northern Kauai is known for.

This is it!

Mike and Ally and their friends went to the southern part of the island to meet the rest of our family at PoiPu Beach Park. They all intended to hike back to a secluded are where they could rope swing into a deep pool of water, but learned that it had been closed due to too many deaths. Huh? They never told me about that sort of danger.

Anyway, they all enjoyed time spent at PoiPu beach and were so luck to have been able to see a monk seal loungin’ around on land. Apparently monk seals have been know to chase and attack people (especially children) who get too close, so I guess there still was an element of danger there too.

I spent time waiting for my parents’ arrival back at our villa, on the lanai (balcony), sipping Kona coffee and reading a book on my Nook. It’s so rare for me to just lounge around and enjoy the tranquil peace of my surroundings. I absolutely LOVED this experience. Later, I had lunch with my parents who arrived in the afternoon.

gorgeous villa

For dinner this night, we had dinner with Monee and Papa at one of the grill areas on the grounds. Michael was able to join us too. At dusk, all the tiki torches are illuminated along the walk-ways, making the whole resort look magical. We truly were in paradise awaiting the most magical wedding I’ve ever seen.

Aloha for now.

Kauai ~ Day 2 ~ Sunrise, Hanalei Bay & BBQ

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Tuesday, May 14, 2012

I was still in a  restful sleep on our luxurious Westin king sized bed, when my husband woke me up and said that Michael and Ally were already outside and ready to go down to the beach to see the sunrise with us.  I quickly got dressed an rushed out of the hotel in the quiet calm of the soothing sea air.

The descent down to the beach was about a 10-15 minute walk down a steep path riddled with leaves and fallen mangoes.  The beach below the cliffs of the resort was magnificent!  We arrived just barely in time to take some amazing sunrise photos.

sunrise at Princeville ~ Kauai

Dave and took a two mile walk along the golf course, where we saw a baby albatross sitting in the tall grass. It was so cute and fluffy as it tried to look invisible. Then we went to a breakfast feast in Cindy and Matt’s room. We ate savory Portugese sausage for the first time and enjoyed smooth cups of Kona coffee with our new family. My youngest son was too sleepy to get up at sunrise today, but he did get up in time to enjoy this scrumptious breakfast.

Next we headed a bit west to Hanalei Bay … yes, one and the same as the “land called Hanalei” in Puff the Magic Dragon. We parked and trekked the steep descent down a winding path surrounded by dramatic foliage and flowers, to the St. Regis resort pool area, and then to Hanalei Bay beach just beyond.

St. Regis

Just a side note, that George Clooney stayed at the St. Regis while filming the movie, “The Descendants.” Apparently it’s a movie star hotel.

Most importantly, this beach is the place where Michael proposed to Ally a year ago.

Of all the places we visited on our trip, Hanalei Bay has to be my most favorite! Its majestic, velvety green mountains, surrounding the most calm and clear waters, makes this the perfect place to relax.

After our beach day, we went back to the resort to rest up. Dusty and I went down to the BBQ pavilion early to save the space for the big dinner Cindy and Matthew were providing for all the wedding guests.

Dave manned a grill, while Matthew managed the other. We ate chicken thigh sandwiches, boca burgers, chips, grilled pineapple and skewered veggies, as well as sweet potato fries and onion rings. The food was excellent as well as the company, although I was anxious for my parents to arrive the next day.

It was off to bed for Dave and me after having drinks in Cindy and Matt’s room, while others in our group continued to party into the night.

My Son Is Getting Married In Hawaii on May 18th! ~ Kauai ~ Day 1

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Preface

It’s been a year since my son got engaged on the gorgeous Hawaiian island of Kauai.  This past year has been filled with excitement and anticipation in preparation for his wedding.  The wedding took place on Michael and Ally’s ten year anniversary of being together, as they were high school sweethearts.  They had vacationed a few times on the garden island prior to their wedding and knew that Kauai was the perfect place to exchange their vows.

Ally’s close family, my immediate family, as well as my parents, were able to make the trip to Hawaii for this very special event.  It was the first time to Hawaii for my family, so we continued our vacation and island hopped to two additional islands before returning back home.

Once home, the culminating reception was held on June 2nd at a well known iconic venue in our hometown.  Everything was perfect beyond our wildest dreams.  I can’t believe that my sweet little boy had grown up so quickly and has become one of the most kind, amazing, brilliant, handsome, men on earth.

Kauai ~ Hawaii

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Princeville

The excitement and last minute wedding details took their toll on me as I finished my packing just a few hours before we needed to leave our house at 3:30 A.M. on Sunday morning for our trip to Kauai.   Thank goodness we gave ourselves plenty of time because I was delayed at least 45 minutes at the airport’s security as they continued to search me  and scan my tote bag repeatedly.  Of course I am squeaky clean and knew they’d find nothing, so the whole experience was extremely offensive and annoying.  Finally the big boss came in and deemed me safe to fly and set me on my (late), way.

Upon our arrival at Lihue airport in Kauai, my son and his fiancee greeted us at the airport and presented me with the prettiest, fragrant, plumeria lei for Mother’s Day. They picked up Ally’s brother and his girlfriend who were on our same flight. I don’t travel all that well and looked like crap, but the lei was absolutely glorious!

Westin at Princeville

We were treated to a luncheon spread in Cindy and Matthew’s room, that was so much appreciated after a long day of travel. While there, we also received our “goody bag” which was actually an insulated beach tote (ice worthy) filled with gifts for our tropical stay. There was a polka-dot beach towel, water bottle, sunblock, water floats, macadamia nuts, aloe, lip balm, umbrella, items for your upset tummy and even more, along with a sweet note from the happy couple. I felt like we were treated like royalty the entire week surrounding the wedding, as our new in-laws took exceptionally good care of all of our needs.

The Westin Resort is by far the most extravagant and exquisite places that I’ve ever been. We stayed in a villa suite that consisted of a one bedroom apartment in essence with a full kitchen and laundry, attached to a studio that also had it’s own kitchenette etc. Our views were to die for, as our lanais overlooked the plush grounds and the ocean beyond.

After lunch, we took a dip in the main infinity pool along with Michael, Ally and her family.  I never go in water, but was enticed by the beauty of the pool’s surroundings, so I said “YES”!  It actually was very relaxing and refreshing, after sitting on a plane for so long.

Since it was Mother’s Day, everybody went to a little, cozy, plantation cottage restaurant in Hanalei for dinner, called “Postcards.” The Seafood on the menu was plentiful and was the most popular with our group. Since I’m not a huge seafood fan, I chose a dish that was corn tortillas layered with black beans, organic jack cheese, rice, vegetables and was drizzled with a macadamia sauce, which I thought was tomatillo. Yum, both pretty and delicious.

my vegetarian meal at "Postcards" restaurant

Today was already filled with wonderful experiences, which reminded me how lucky I am to be the Mom to three amazing children. I love them all so much!

Happy Birthday … a few days ago

In CategoryFamily

I woke up on my birthday morning thinking that I’d spoil myself with a gift of a mani-pedi.  I picked this cheerful, pretty, pink polish, that had little iridescent flecks in it.

pretty in pink

Mani-Pedi … priceless

Having to do it myself … also priceless!

My first birthday celebration was glorious, and was spent with my wonderful family.  We spent part of the day in the mountains on a picnic and a four mile hike.  We then had a delicious lasagna dinner that my husband made.

Now, I’m so happy that I get to celebrate my birthday again with some amazing women tomorrow.  My long time friend, my aunt and my future daughter-in-law are all coming over for a pot-luck dinner and then…

Thanks to my son, who always seems to come through with great ideas, we all get to go to the Indigo Girls concert!

I couldn’t think of a better way of celebrating my birthday again, than with people who are so special to me.

I’ll miss having my daughter with us for this night of fun!