Kaua'i You had me at Aloha

FROM THE MOUNTAINS TO THE SEA

In May, 2016 we took a trip to Kaua'i to explore the island's beauty. Being the first big trip with a baby, we didn't know what to expect, but Madison came out as a natural traveler and baby explorer. Along the way we tried good food, met cool people and soaked in the exotic wonders the island has to offer. This is our story.

Day 1

Thursday, May 19

Our journey began in LA, where we almost missed our flight. AA forgot to include the small detail that we had a baby with us. TSA didn't like it. Jenny had the opportunity to sprint back to AA check-in for another boarding pass. Our fellow security line neighbors were kind enough to let use cut in line to re-enter. We made our flight with 10 mins to spare!

Welcome to KAUAI | The Garden Island

We arrived in Kauai around noon, after a 6 hour flight. Went straight to the car rental shop and Dan picked us out an awesome black jeep. Because Hawaii. With the top off, we hopped in that beauty and headed north to Princeville. Madison had no idea where we were but took quick noticed of the noisy chickens everywhere. We checked in at the Cliffs Resort. Room #4203 with an ocean view, please.! We got settled in and headed to the complimentary hotel happy hour on the cliff. Live music and free drinks were on the agenda. Of course Madison was a hit. Dan cooked some Ono before we hit the hay.

The cliffs
Somewhere over the rainbow...

endless sunsets

Day 2

Friday, May 20

Rainbows, frogs, exotic-looking birds and breathtaking views

were part of this mornings jog through Princeville.

Hanalei has a great spot for fish tacos: Tropical Taco! and these amazing donuts Dan picked up from some locals.

I read about a tiny, yet amazing beach called Hideaways, which is located right before the St. Regis. We decided to check that out, even though some say the treck down is steep. Boy were they right. My anxiety was at an all time high with Dan carrying Madison down. But once we got down the view was perfect. Nothing like an almost secluded beach.

Hideaways was worth every muddy step. The rope-guided descent was reminiscent of an Indian Jones adventure. Between breaks, turquoise water demands your attention through tropical leaves.
Hideaways Beach

We made it back up the steep hill and headed to our hotel pool. Madison couldn't have looked more relaxed in her floaty and pink-heart sunglasses. This girl loves the water! Mom and dad had a few drinks on the patio while Madison napped. It was soon dinner time and decided to make it a "Hideaways" day and ventured out to Hideaways Pizza Pub for some Hawaiian pizza (Tomato Sauce, Local Pineapple, Sweet Red Onion, Ham, Macadamia Nuts, Mozzarella, Provolone). While waiting for pizza, Madison got to play with crayons for the first time!

Day 3

Saturday, May 21

Just put Madison down for the afternoon snooze. Jenny and I have Mai Tia's in hand, listening to some slack key and looking out our patio view of the ocean. Today started with Jenny's relaxing wedding anniversary massage on the patio. Madison slept. I worked out at the gym, by the pool, with a beer.

Today, on the way to Lydgate Beach, we stopped at the Fish Market in Kapaa (right next to where we stayed two years ago). I had tacos and jenny ordered an ahi wrap that was cooked medium rare in spicy oil and loaded with a sweet cabbage mixture. It was the winner by far - I’m thinking we'll be back to glut on that again. Super nice people and gave Madison some cucumber slices to eat (play with).

Back to Lydgate: the water was nice and Madison enjoyed slapping and splashing in it. She's aced sneeking sips of the water when we think she's posing for pictures. She's also getting more comfortable floating on her back :). Her favorite thing seems to be when we say "kick! Kick! Kick!" - as she kicks through the water.

My Mai tai is settling in as this view soaks me up. I'm realizing it takes a couple days to shake off the mold I've been casted in. Today I've been feeling the Aloha spirit and letting go of the anxieties of the mainland. I notice how I relate to situations by what I know, without an open mind - but that's hardly the case and there's always something new to learn.

Be a student of life and respect your surroundings.

Anyway, madison didn't go to sleep and we want to go to Hanalie for some scenic sunset views.

We made a drive down to lydegate beach with the top down on the jeep. Definitely the way to go in Hawaii.

Lindgate beach is blocked off from the rough surf for kids. Surprising enough, they had fish in there! Like real Hawaiian fish with colorful stripes and electric blue colors!

Madison loved it! She was a natural in the water with her watermelon swim suite

She found another baby there with the same outfit.

Later that afternoon we headed one mile east and snuck into the famous St. Regis hotel. Sipped on some Mai tai's and watched the sunset over Hanalei Bay. By far one of the best views in Kauai.

There was a wedding going on with flamethrowers and hula dancers. Free show for us!

The night ended with a frozen pizza and talks about tomorrow's adventure.

Aloha ahiahi!

Day 4

Sunday, May 22

Our mornings always start with a bottle on the patio, enjoying the ocean view and listening to birds. Today, breakfast was an acia bowel from Lie Petit at the neighborhood center before our trip south to Poipu.

My Kauai book took us on an off-road adventure to a lookout point by shipwreck beach. We didn't stay too long but the view was awesome.

Thank god we had the jeep because this was definitely off-roading.

We turned back and went to the state beach where they have a baby beach. It was perfect to hangout at and there was also some great snorkeling. We took turns snorkeling while the other enjoyed playing with Madison and sipping on some Mauai beer.

DCIM\105GOPRO

Looked like the storm was coming in so we headed back to Princeville. We had to make a quick stop at Puka Dogs to get a hawaiian hot dog. I got mango and Dan got coconut. It was seriously delicious. We took one more stop before Kapaa at Opeakee Falls. It's 150ft twin waterfalls that's easy to access.

Day 5

Monday, May 23

We got up early (as usual) and headed to Queens Bath right down he road from us. Unfortunately it was too muddy to take Madison down. We hope to try again because the view is supposed to be amazing and there is a natural pool you can jump in. We packed up the car and headed west to the Na Pali coast. On the way we stopped at a true hole-in-the-wall called Sushi Girl. We split the ahi burrito.

Simply amazing!

Dan found a rental company before the trip and rented a hiking carrier for Madison. We made it about 1/2 mile up the coastline. Enough to see some amazing views.

Once we trucked back down the hill we went to the nearby beach to cool off.

We stopped in Hanalei and grabbed some fish and chips from the gourmet market. Then grabbed some famous nuts from Kauai Nut Roasters. There are so many amazing samples to try!

Madison decided not to take an afternoon nap so we headed down to the cliff to watch the sunset. She just loves watching the chickens and trying to chase them. It's the cutest thing. We headed back to the room and Dan made some poke for dinner.

Day 6

Tuesday, May 24

We started the morning heading west to Hanalei. Wanted to have a nice beach day.

Anini beach trails

Unfortunately, the weather had a different idea and we got poured on. When in doubt, find food and drinks! We ordered some Mai tai's and hawaiian pizza and waited the rain out.

Oldest bar on the island
When will the rain end?

Of course we headed back to Princeville (only a few miles away) and there was no sign of rain! Unbelievable. We jumped in the pool and splashed around. Madison is such a water baby.

We still wants to see that gorgeous mountain view so we headed to the trusty st. Regis to get another beautiful sunset. Dan took some great shots down at the beach them we headed back to the upper level to watch the sunset. After the sun sets, the sky turns pink.

It's seriously spectacular

We grabbed some Mexican food for dinner and hit the hay. We seem to wake up early and hit the hay early. Another great day in the books.

Day 7

Wednesday, May 25

The weather channel called for thunderstorms but the sky looked clear so we set off for a bike ride of the east side in Kapaa. We rented two cruisers and a kid trailer. Madison loved it and the views were amazing. There was hardly anyone on the trail. We got to the end and enjoyed the lookout with a beer for us and bottle for Madison. After two hours on the bike we made it back and had some amazing bbq food.

I'm now relaxing on the patio while Madison sleeps and Dan is exploring at Queens bath. I can't believe this is our last night here. These past 7 days went by so fast. I'll never forget the amazing memories our family created on this trip and the quality time we spent together.

Day 8

Thursday, May 26

It's been a fantastic trip and we have seen a lot, but there is one part of the island unexplored: Waimea Canyon.

A stream of what looked to be a larger river.

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