Kauai ~ First impressions of Enchanting Garden Isle
My family and I arrived on Kauai in January 2001. We came from Boulder, Colorado and had never been to the island before. It was a New Moon and it felt an auspicious time to start our life on the island. What were our impressions of Kauai, the enchantingGarden Isle?
As we started walking down the stairs from the plane, we were met with that intoxicating mix of warm air and the smell of plumeria oh-so-gently reaching us on that warm wind. “It’s like a warm hug” . exclaimed Kachina, my 8 year old. And so it was. …. and continues to be.
Every time (which is not a lot, we don’t leave island that much!) . we look forward to that delicious warm hug on arrival. We are never disappointed. You know what we mean right? It’s particularly welcome when arriving from colder climes (like New York in the Winter or Europe), it really does feel just as our first impression of the “garden isle” – like a warm hug.
Our first Night on Kauai
On that first night 18 years ago, we were met by the lady with whom we would be spending our first few nights. She had a modest B & B in Wailua. I recall waking up at 3am to the sound of the famous Kauai roosters going off – though to be fair it was jet lag rather than the roosters who woke me; I went to the window and just revelled in the warmth of the air and the smell of the night blossoming Jasmine coming from a nearby bush… ahhh! I didn’t even mind the roosters! (more on them another time).
Morning, Sunshine & Beauty!
When morning came the girls and I drove north. Our fellow guest at the B & B had told us about Secret Beach. Well really, who wouldn’t want to visit a beach with that name? Kapaa seemed so small and quaint to us. After living on island for a couple of years it began to seem like the big town and it’s grown since then. The mix of old Japanese buildings and stores and the casual laid back beach type atmosphere was full of color and magic to us. We stopped at “Mermaids” cafe, already by then a landmark place to eat in Kapaa and still there to this day.
Departing Kapaa, the wow factor of Kealia beach hit us as we left headed north. The surf was up and the guys and gals were out doing their thing. So blue! And Kealia isn’t even on my current list of Top 10 Kauai beaches! Howzat? After that it was just the myriad of different color Bougainvillea and Hibiscus along the road.as we headed up past Anahola, the Hawaiian Homelands and past Kilauea town towards Princeville…. deep reds, salmon pinks, yellows and white and eveything in between! Perhaps that’s why Kauai is often referred to as the “garden isle”.. our first impression was truly of a garden lush with tropical greens and flowers.
We found our way to Secret beach as our friend had given directions and marveled at the absence of people and the beauty of the pristine sand, the waves, the lava rock. It was heaven!
As we smiled at the incongruous fountain and statue passing Princeville, we were mesmerized by the famous “Bali Hai ” view of Hanalei Bay with Makana in the background and the Taro fields in the foreground above Hanalei Bay. Such deep greens and the waterfalls! We had never seen waterfalls like this! Then Hanalei with its quaint boutique shops and cafes and then oh my, that twenty minute drive from Hanalei to Kee beach… just beach after beautiful beach… just when we thought we couldn’t see a more beautiful beach, another one was around the corner! Lumahai, Wainiha, Tunnels and then finally Kee beach at the end. It was a feast for the senses.
Sitting on the beach at Kee and by the time the Sun started to descend in the sky over the Na Pali Coast, we were just satiated with beauty. Our whole bodies, minds and spirits were replete with … how do we describe it? Peace, appreciation, nurturing.
oh those Rainbows
Doesn’t everyone love Rainbows? Arn’t they the one thing that makes everyone go “wow, look, it’s a rainbow!” There’s natural beauty, there’s things that we may love and appreciate.. but a rainbow… it’s like magic! It’s almost as though we become kids again….. as though the rainbow connects us with that inner kid inside who just wants to have fun. It appears and we exclaim, we take a photo, we somehow feel better. As though the rainbow has given us a sign that all is well with the world… now that’s magic! And Kauai has more rainbows than anywhere I have ever been. What a blessing!
18 years Later……
Sometimes it’s hard to believe we have been living here on Kauai for 18 years on Kauai Enchanting Garden Isle. I think that’s because it’s still so fresh. I still drive along on Kauai and marvel at the beautiful scenery. I still exclaim like a kid at the rainbows. I’m still amazed watching a pro surfer catch that incredible wave and yes go “oh my ” at the non existent bikinis the young girls wear. It’s glorious when it’s sunny but It’s magnificent when it’s raining and the waterfalls around Hanalei … it’s almost too many to count. I love the laid back vibe and the fact that it still hasn’t become the ultimate tourist destination. Yes there are more upscale boutique shops and cafes than there used to be… but you can still find old Kauai. And I totally LOVE not wearing shoes.
Kauai, maybe it is Paradise
People often say the Hawaiian islands are Paradise, Kauai in particular. Perhaps they are. Of course Kauai is also a little microcosm of the same stuff that happens everywhere else in the world… but then again I often remind myself as I drive along drinking in the green on one side and the azure blue of the ocean on the other… it’s much easier to deal with life’s issues when you have Kauai all around you. After all it’s like a warm hug!