…just don’t feed the nēnēs!
Yeah, I know it’s corny–but I have approximately 12 minutes to post something, I’m not even home yet, and my brain is a bit fried. Plus, every time I see this sign that song gets stuck in my head….
But since I’m also feeling the need to be educational: the nēnē is the state bird of Hawaii and, if Wikipedia is to be believed, is found exclusively on the islands Oahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, Molokai, and Hawaiʻi. In case you’re wondering, we discovered these on Kauai:
It wouldn’t be a Hawaiian vacation if you didn’t spend at least a little time at the beach. We debated about when/where we wanted our beach day to be (aside from our quick trips to the Black and Green sand beaches). Ultimately, we decided that it might be a nice break towards the end of the trip to have a few less packed, more relaxing days–so we opted for Kauai and we found a beach not far from where we were staying.
It is in Poipu and (according to the Poipu Beach Resort Association) “during most of the year, the waters here are best for advanced surfers due to a short shore-break.”
I have to admit waves were a little rough. Being neither surfers nor advanced surfers, Tracy and I instead tried a little bodyboarding. The results varied, but mostly ended up in laughter (well, on my part–Tracy was far more adept at it!)
Picturesque and not crowded, it was a great place to kick back and relax for awhile. While it may not look like it, it’s pretty steep from the back of the beach to the water–so our legs got quite the workout walking from our lounging spot to get into the water (not that we were complaining…much!).
With the somewhat choppy waves and the rocky juts in the shoreline, it wasn’t difficult to imagine how Shipwreck Beach got its name. But when the waves are right, apparently it’s one of the locals’ favorite spots for surfing.
In addition to tubing, another thing you must do in Kauai is go to Uncle’s Shave Ice and get, well, shave ice!
Cool and refreshing shave ice is something that is a must-do when you’re in Hawaii (regardless of which island you visit!) and Uncle’s definitely offered up some tasty flavors. Okay, yes, it looks like a snow cone. But an awesome snow cone. An awesome snow cone that you are eating WHILE IN HAWAII.
Don’t argue, just go–you’ll be thanking me half way through your first bite!
Despite the name, Uncle’s offers up more than just shave ice. And one of the most interesting things on the menu was shave snow. Shave snow is similar to shave ice but rather than adding flavoring to ice, shave snow is a mix of flavoring, milk, water, and sugar which is then frozen and shaved into ribbons and served topped with condensed milk. They liken it to Taiwanese shave ice and it tastes like the shaved ice you get here in Koreatown. But honestly, they had us at “topped with condensed milk.”
Uncle’s has two locations: Lihue & Koloa. Since we were staying about a 6 minute drive from Koloa, that’s where we went..and I’d be lying if I said we only went once!
We all got different flavors and then shared so we could try as many flavors as possible. We stuck to mostly flavors that reminded us of Hawaii: Blue Hawaiian, coconut, pineapple, and piña colada to name a few. It was hard to narrow down the flavors (thus multiple trips and sharing!), but regardless of what you order–it’s going to be great!
The last Hawaiian island that we visited was Kauai. It is the northernmost island in the archipelago, as well as the oldest–some sites say 5.8 million, other say over 6 million years old, I say potato, potahto! We stayed there the longest of all three islands–and for good reason, there was a lot to see and do!
But before I get into our activities, I thought I’d share some fun/interesting facts about Kauai! My sources can be found here, here, and here. For full disclosure, I pretty much just copied and pasted the points–so do check out the source sites because I will be ignoring any and all accusations of plagiarism!
- Known as the Garden Isle, it is the fourth largest island and has a population of about 65,000 people.
- Kauai covers 552.3 square miles of land and is so small it is measured in acres = 401,280 in total.
- Kauai’s coastline is 111 miles and over 50% of those miles are sandy beaches.
- Over 97% of the land on Kauai is used for conservation and agriculture.
- 70% of the island is inaccessible by foot
- Kauai Coffee is the largest coffee plantation in the United States.
- Kauai grows more taro than any other island.
- Some of the cliffs along the spectacular Napali Coast reach heights of 2,500 feet.
- More than 60 movies and tv shows have filmed on Kauai.
- Kauai is the legendary home of the Menehune, a mythical race of very small people who performed legendary feats of construction and engineering.
- By law, no building on Kauai is allowed to be built taller than a coconut palm tree.
- Kauai has the only navigable rivers in the state of Hawaii.
- Kauai’s official color is purple and the official flower is Mokihana.
- It has 7 (yes–7!) microclimates throughout the island.
- Mount Waialeale (elevation 5,148 ft) is one of the wettest spots on Earth, averaging about 450 inches of rain each year!
I don’t know about you, but it has been one of those weeks and I am so very glad the weekend is here! I’m looking forward to doing a whole lotta nothing and adding in a few trips down to the pool.
Naturally at 4 minutes to midnight, I remembered that I didn’t actually schedule anything to post today. And then of course my laptop picked that very moment to randomly freeze and had to be restarted. And in not wanting to miss out on the fun, my phone was blatantly refusing to connect to the interwebs…so yes, this post is a little late, but since I’m posting a picture of Hawaii and it’s still early evening in Hawaii (thank you time zones!), I’m totally proclaiming it still to be Friday!
Furthermore, I totally know that you stopped whatever you were doing to read this–so I’m going to keep it short & sweet in order for you to go back to drinking/eating/dancing/sleeping/dozing on the couch while pretending to watch a movie. This is the view from our balcony in Kauai…and perhaps the moment when I decided that I wanted to stay in Hawaii forever (spoiler alert: I had to come back–no one was willing to send the pupcicle to me!). Have a great weekend!
I just realized that I’m approaching the ⅓ mark of my 100 Days of Blogging Challenge and I can’t believe it’s already been a month since I’ve started!
Today I’m finding myself short on words (aka what I really want to work on are posts for other days, like Thirsty Thursday or Sunday Comics), so I thought it might be a good day to share with you some (or perhaps a lot of) pictures of Waikiki.
I wasn’t actually planning on Margarita Monday to be a regular thing, but I figured what the heck–who doesn’t like margaritas?!?!? Btw, if you’d like a picture of your tasty margarita to appear here for Margarita Mondays, please tweet it to me @epicurioustexan or send me a message on FB!
I know, I know…it’s been awhile since I’ve posted for Margarita Monday and honestly, I didn’t think I’d have a margarita post whilst posting about Hawaii. But in looking through all the pictures, I realized that we did have margaritas while we were there. And by “we,” I mean Christi and Tracy–but I had a tasty sip, or perhaps two…or maybe four. I mean how could you not when pineapple margaritas are on the menu?!?
These are from the Goofy Cafe & Dine in Honolulu, where we stopped to indulge in a bit of poke, bibimbap, and corn penne before we departed for the Big Island. Goofy doesn’t have an extensive menu, but everything was fresh, delicious, and locally sourced!
As previously mentioned, our stay on the Big Island was split by spending a couple of nights in Kona and then packing up to head to the eastern side of the island to Hilo. Actually we didn’t quite make it to Hilo, as we opted to spend the night closer to the volcano and stayed at the Volcano Inn, which is on Kilauea.
If you are expecting to see lava fields when staying at the Volcano Inn, then you’re going to be disappointed because it sits smack dab in the middle of a lush rainforest. But we knew that going in and were excited by the completely dramatic shift from our Kona views. All the colors were so vibrant–especially these red flowered plants–that they almost looked fake. I totally kept touching them to make sure they were real!
Even more foreign was waking to the sounds of the rainforest. We wandered down to breakfast, which included fresh banana bread and baked papaya with yogurt, bananas, and pineapple. Since we were flying out to Kauai later that afternoon, we thought it was the perfect time to sample our fruit we purchased the day before from the South Kona Fruit Stand–and we didn’t want any of it confiscated at the airport!
After breakfast we went for a small hike into the rainforest, but were warned to stay on the path–which we did. No one wanted to get lost because ain’t nobody got time for that: we had a helicopter tour and to find the Tsunami Clock of Doom before our flight to Kauai later that afternoon!
Soon it was time to pack up and depart from this perfect little hide-away spot, but adventure was calling!
PS–I would like to take this time to clarify a certain picture (above) floating around Facebook that was taken at the Volcano Inn. Despite what the picture shows–we did NOT make April ride in the trunk of the car! I assure you she made it safely back to Minnesota!