Kauai – the Island home of Lilo and StitchCategory: Travel
Kauai is called “The Garden Island” because it is so lush and tropical. It’s the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands. It is also the home of Lilo and Stitch. Recently, we went on a tour of this beautiful island with Lilo as our guide.
First of all, Lilo knows everything there is to know about the island and wanted us to see the splendors of her home. We hung our hats at the spectacular Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Koloa. This place is magnificent. There is plenty to do at this resort, or simply hang loose by the pool. The sunrises from our room were magnificent. Located on the Southern tip of the island, near the Poipu Beach area, beauty surrounds the resort.
The town next to the resort is Old Koloa Town where we spent a couple evenings browsing around the shops and eating dinner. If you’re in the mood for pizza, check out Pizzetta. It’s a favorite spot for locals as well as mainlanders craving a tasty pizza. Personally, we enjoyed the Garden Island Grille. It offers plenty of choices as well as live evening entertainment. Come for the food but stay for the entertainment.
Hanapepe is a sleepy little town filled with artistic talents and the feeling of old Hawaii combined with a touch of the mid-century flowerchild aura. Kauai has a population of a little over 65,000 living in the 552 miles of the island. Only about 2,638 people reside in Hanapepe. If you visit Hawaii you’ll notice the Lappert’s ice cream shops around the islands. Hanapepe is the headquarters of this business. Don’t miss out on visiting The Bookstore – Talk Story, which is the westernmost bookstore in the country. Every time I have been there I have found something interesting to purchase. The Banana Patch Studio sells hand-painted pottery and look through the window to watch the artists painting the plates and cups. It’s inspiring.
The Hanapepe Swinging Bridge is one of the most visited attractions in the town. This suspension bridge is not for the faint of heart, especially when it is windy and there are a lot of people trying to cross at the same time. A walk across the bridge affords visitors a view of the riverbank they won’t get driving down the main street.
On Friday nights the town has a crafts and food fair on the main street. It’s here where visitors can select unique and handmade items as well as indulge in delicious food for all kinds of appetites. The Friday Night Art Walk runs from 6-9 so make sure you are in town for this fun event.
Further up the coast is Waimea town and the Waimea Canyon. Waimea Canyon is “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and Lilo was all too excited to show us that the geography looked just like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, proving Hawaii has a little of everything.
Another day Lilo took us to the Kauai Coffee Estate, which is also west of the resort. Forget about Kona Coffee (from the big island), on Kauai you must drink the Kauai Coffee. The Estate is the largest coffee farm in the United States. They offer guided tours as well as self-guided walking tours. They also have a tasting area where you are free to try any number of delicious coffees. Don’t be bashful. Grab a cup and start pumping. You’ll find something you will want to take home with you. I still cannot get the deliciousness of the Toasty Banana Nut Cream coffee out of my head. And, of course, there is a shop where you can purchase bags of your favorite flavors or souvenirs. We were thankful we didn’t have Stitch with us. After all, we all know how much that little guy loves coffee.
If you drove from the airport in Lihue to the Grand Hyatt Kauai, you passed the Kilohana Plantation. This gorgeous 105 acre old-Hawaii plantation is a fun place to visit. There are shops of all kinds of items, a short train ride around the tropical beauty of the land, Gaylord’s Restaurant for a flavorful dining experience, the Koloa Rum Company where they have tastings as well as a shop to purchase your own libations and other items, and a Lu’au. The Kilohana Plantation was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and has interesting buildings to explore as well imagine yourself living in grand style on this magnificent estate.
Up on the northern coast of Kauai are Princeville and Hanalei Bay. These areas are a bit more touristy, in many ways. However, the lushness of the land is magnificent. This is a much wetter area of the island than down near the Hyatt resort. Check out the Dry Cave up on this part of the island. And purchase a fresh coconut. There’s nothing like it.
On your drive up north, visit the Kiluea Lighthouse. Lilo first introduced it to Stitch in their first adventure together. It sits on the tip of the island with plenty of wildlife surrounding it. How many birds can you spot?
There is plenty more to see and do on Kauai. It’s a beautiful island and offers plenty of sights to see, activites to experience, and also the Aloha spirit. We want to thank Lilo for coming to the airport to personally bid us “Aloha.”
Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 20 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.
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